Uneasy is the head that wears the crown. Meet these city girls who are fabulous at their age and have crossed all hurdles to follow their dreams and win coveted titles with their sheer grit and determination.
BY NAMITA GUPTA
The first step: Coming from Mangalore, I had a lot of role models, although participating in a pageant was nowhere in my thoughts. A dear friend, grooming expert and pageant winner Veena Bhat played a role in influencing my decision.
The turning point: Having won the Mrs India United Nation crown, the next step was taking it further and participating in an international pageant. I just had three months to prepare ahead of the Mrs Global International pageant at Moscow, Russia. There were three categories of Miss, Queen and Classic. There were contestants from 30 countries. There were 16 contestants in the Classic category. I had already toned down and my body was in good shape, I just had to keep the momentum going. On the flip side there was too little time and so much to do. There were a series of trial and fitting sessions with my designers, dance choreography sessions, fitness and training sessions. I had to work on my diet and nutrition, and all the while keep my mind active yet composed.
The challenges: Most contestants were pretty tall, but height is something one can’t change. So, now the focus was on putting my best foot forward in all other aspects of the competition – the introduction, the interview, the group discussions, the talent round and question and answer round. The difficulty was in remembering the dance choreography. I also learnt the art of makeup. Being pretty hardworking and sincere, I believe that a majority of your success is attributed to hard work and your karmic destiny plays a role too although miniscule. I let my work do the talking. I am very Indian in my thoughts and in my choice of outfits, so that’s what I played best.
The journey: I have loved every aspect of my life, Marriage, parenting and founding the Charity Trust Sahayahastha. Apart from winning the pageant, the other highpoint in my life would be when I was honoured by Cancer Care India for my service among rural women, winning the Global Triumph award for societal service and also the opportunity to work with the Department of Agriculture in coordinating the Millet Run, an opportunity to be an ambassador for Pinkathon and also as a state coordinator for Utthan working for tribal artisans. The pageant was spread over nine days with rigorous grooming sessions, rehearsals, photoshoots and evaluation sessions. Getting to make a whole lot of new friends, getting to know their culture, their food choices, respecting their views and ways of life, learning from them, every person I met was a teacher from who I learnt something new. We had some terrifying moments too. Moscow was threatened by a bomb scare and the Hotel where we stayed was on bomb scare alert. On the pre-finale day of the pageant, we had to evacuate the hotel, in an emergency. Amidst all the chaos was the time when we realised beyond all the competition how each of us stood caring about each other and in solidarity with one human to another. I wore a peacock head gear for the National costume round and after the round when I was trying to remove it I realised it had got stuck to my hair. The other contestants were all ready for the next evening gown round and here I was still trying to get off the head gear. It was my close competitor and a fellow contestant who helped me out with trimming a bit of my hair to ease it out and I managed to change and get ready for the next round in the nick of time. At such moments you realise how inherent goodness rises above competition. The glorious moment of being crowned was unforgettable. I also won the Mrs Photogenic subtitle and the Jury’s choice for the evening, which was among all the categories put together.
How has life changed after winning the crown: Winning the title has helped me in having a larger voice and a larger reach in the charity work I do. I’m working towards making lives better and lend a helping hand, as the name of my charity organisation Sahaya Hastha suggests.
Future plans: Lot of dreams and aspirations ahead. I would just like to go with the flow, be supportive of women around me and help them grow. We all care for the same things it’s just that we haven’t united for them yet. So maybe a step in that direction.