One of South Africa’s most familiar public personalities Jo-Ann Strauss has worked to raise awareness for children’s rights as a national ambassador for UNICEF South Africa. The former Miss South Africa is also an entrepreneur and public speaker; she is best known for presenting the South African show Top Billing. Passionate about the welfare of the most vulnerable in society, Strauss also works with Stop Hunger Now and has designed a range of baby clothing with one of South Africa’s top clothing retailers, channeling all proceeds for feeding underprivileged families. Here, she speaks about motherhood, dolphins and more:

Priyanka Chopra: The Powerhouse Changing The World

  1. What does being UNICEF’s national ambassador mean to you?

As a mother, I am passionate about helping other mothers to raise their children as best they can. Women and children, in particular, are so vulnerable in our society and I would like to use my public profile to help in any way I can.

  1. If you were reborn, what would you choose to be?

I would choose to be a dolphin in a world with no humans. It must be quite exhilarating to move like they do through water. They are incredibly intelligent and empathetic.

  1. What is the most beautiful thing you have seen?

My children when they took their first breath.

  1. What qualities do you most admire in other women?

Their resilience and ability to adapt to various situations with chameleon-like precision; when they go from nurturing mothers to groundbreaking Chief Executive Officers without batting a perfectly-groomed eyelid.

  1. If you had 10 minutes to change the world, what would you do?

I would make truth compulsory and uphold that people consider others in everything they do.

  1. Success to you is…

Success to me is about balance and having enough time with my loved ones. I am an ambitious person and find business exhilarating, but I’ve come to believe in this saying: ‘Time is more valuable than money. You can always get more money, but never get more time’. 

  1. If women were allowed to run half the companies and countries in the world, what change would you see?

I think there would be more empathy in the workplace and less ego.

  1.  – Interviewed by Thandi Xaba