Impresario event group organised its 22nd pageant, ‘Miss Kerala 2021’
After a virtual ‘Miss Kerala 2020’ event held last year, Impresario event group organised its 22nd pageant, ‘Miss Kerala 2021’ as a live show once again with 25 contestants competing for the title. The grooming session had eminent personalities like Priyanka Shah, Muralee Menon, Nutan Manohar and Siju Wilson, while the judging panel had celebrities like renowned director Jeethu Joseph, Music Director Deepak Dev, Singer Anoop Shanker and actresses Iniya and Veena Nair. Gopika Suresh won the title of Miss Kerala 2021 while Livya Liffy became the first runner-up and Gagana Gopal became the second runner-up. Ritz catches up with the gorgeous ladies who stole the show this year!
Text: Riya Sonny Datson
Gopika Suresh is a student of MSc Clinical Psychology, who is pursuing her studies in Bangalore. A trained Bharatnatyam dancer for the last two decades, Gopika is also the cultural secretary at her college. Having performed at various venues across South India, this young artiste thrives on an audience. But her biggest challenge was the fact that she had no experience in modeling, she had to put in the extra effort to perfect her ramp walk. She says that her strength came from an attitude of ‘making no excuses’, which she swears is one school of thought that everyone should inculcate! “I remember the grooming sessions were tiring physically and mentally as we had limited time and there was a lot to learn, but I realised that the minute we start making excuses, we fall behind and our peers will move ahead. So I had to push myself and stay focussed.”
When asked what her specific preparations were for the event, she quickly replies that the grooming sessions by Priyanka Shah, Muralee Menon and Nutan Manohar made all the difference and helped to perfect her ramp walk and confidence. All the winners seemed to agree that the grooming sessions were an eye opener in various ways, taking them a step closer to the crown. “I very badly wanted to be a part of the grooming session as I had heard that these sessions completely change you as a person. I enjoyed every bit of it and it has helped me a great deal in winning the crown,” says Gopika. She recalls that apart from winning the crown the most memorable experience during the pageant was making new friends. “After a period of pandemic and lockdown that kept us locked up in our homes, I was not sure if I could gel with the rest of the girls but I think the moments I spent with the other contestants, sharing and helping each other are some of the best memories of the event. It was extremely heartening to know that two of my close friends won the runner up and the second runner up titles.”
So what’s on Gopika’s bucket list? “Though I am from Kannur, I haven’t been to Kochi in almost twenty years so I want to travel and explore Kerala. I will be pursuing my studies and now that I am the Miss Kerala title winner, I do want to work on projects that throw light on mental health. I enjoy pageantry and would like to compete in other pageants and if any good offers come my way, I don’t mind trying my hand at modeling and acting as well.” Her message to aspiring young girls and boys who want to join the fashion or modelling industry is ‘to be original’. “Don’t try to be someone else or try to imitate someone else, be confident about yourself. Know your personal strengths and weaknesses, your gifts and talent because every single person is unique and different.”
Nineteen year old Livya Liffy is the first runner up of the Miss Kerala 2021 title and she is a student of food technology at Amal Jyothi college of Engineering in Kerala. Having spent most of her childhood in Bahrain, she did her first ramp walk when when she was just ten years old. She started professional modeling when she turned sixteen and from then on, she knew that modelling was her passion. The lockdown period helped her to spruce up her skills in modelling and photoshoots, so when Livya read about the Miss Kerala pageant, it came as no surprise that she wanted to give it a try. “Since I have participated in pageants before, ramp walk was never an area of concern for me but the question and answer round was something that got me worried as I often forgot my answers or would end up feeling blank. Another area I needed to work on was the talent round as I am not into dancing or singing but the grooming sessions really helped me with my confidence.”
When asked about the one skill every aspiring model needs, Livya swears by self confidence. “Self confidence is the key factor in winning. You need to believe in yourself, you need to believe that you are beautiful for beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. If you are confident about yourself, everything else is possible. There were twenty five contestants competing for the crown and each and every one of them were beautiful and intelligent. We were all from different backgrounds and we had our own stories to put on the table and choosing among us would have been very difficult, for each of us were beautiful in our own way. More than winning, for me it was all about performing and enjoying the moment and that’s what I did,” says Livya. Apart from winning the runner up title she says her most memorable moment during the pageant was seeing her mom after eleven months. “When the winners were announced, more than winning the title I was excited about seeing my mom as I hadn’t seen her in eleven months due to the pandemic. That was a priceless moment for me!” On the bucket list? “My engineering studies is my priority now but after I complete my course I would like to pursue a career in modelling and be a part of more pageants.”
The second runner up of the Miss Kerala pageant, Gagana Gopal is a student of sports science in Melbourne. The twenty year old loves sports, especially swimming, a sport that she embraced when she was just four. Due to the pandemic, she happened to be in her hometown Thrissur when the pageant was announced. Though she was participating in a beauty pageant for the first time, Gagana was not new to the ramp as she had done modelling assignments earlier. So how did she prepare for the pageant? “At a personal level, I was working out and on a diet but the grooming sessions by Priyanka Shah, Nutan Manohar and Muralee Menon helped me perfect my ramp walk and build my confidence. I am not very much into Yoga and meditation but the stress relieving tips really helped. My biggest challenge was the question answer round as public speaking is not my forte but then again, the grooming session helped me with that as well.” Gagana reaffirms that confidence is key and one must always be open to opportunities. “I was not at all confident about participating in the pageant and if it were not for my parents, I wouldn’t have even tried. I believe every person has it in him or her to win, we just need to be confident enough to take the first step and try.” She was also crowned Miss Congeniality, a title that she holds close to her heart. “I was elated to be crowned Miss Congeniality as the title signifies someone who is liked by all. Being in the top five was like a dream come true and so winning the runner up title was totally unexpected.” Plans ahead? “Since the borders are closed, I will be in Thrissur for sometime. I hope to promote physical fitness as much as I can by going to schools and institutes to talk to children. I am also interested in modelling and acting so if any good offers come my way, I would gladly take it up,” says Gagana as she signs off.