The virtual pageant organised by Impresario Events had 200 participants
Erin Liz John was crowned ‘Miss Kerala 2020’ this year during the virtual pageant held by Impresario Events that had almost 200 contestants. The jury consisted of actors Sijoy Varghese, Rajeev Pillai, Sija Rose and international groomer Nuthan Manohar.
Being a medical student, participating in a pageant was a completely new experience for Erin who found it quite a challenge to balance her classes and assignments with the requirements of the event, “It was my first time participating in a pageant and the online experience was definitely very different from what I expected.
I referred articles on previous events and took the help of my stylist, Arunima Gupta, who is a contemporary dancer and CEO of ‘The Floor’ at Kochi. My biggest learning would be my exposure to the vast world of fashion and beauty. It was a great learning experience and also an opportunity for me to self reflect and build self confidence.” Erin aspires to be a surgeon after completing her MBBS but she would also like to try her hand at modelling projects now that she has won the title. Her advice to young girls who would like to participate in such pageants is that, “Be confident, your confidence gives you the beauty and ability to shine. Believe in yourself and work hard.”
Due to the Covid restrictions this was the first time a virtual ‘Miss Kerala’ event was being conducted but the plus point was that Malayali girls from across the globe were able to participate in the pageant though they were miles away from Kerala. Some of the contestants were familiar with modelling and pageants but an online event was a first for most of them. Aathira Rajeev was crowned as the first runner up of the Miss Kerala 2020 pageant. “Usually for pageants we prepare during the training sessions however I went into this one blindly because I had no clue what the structure of a digital pageant would be like, neither did I know what it would require.”
Aathira, who is based in Los Angeles is an MFA holder in acting apart from being a choreographer, model and actress. She has worked in several TV shows, films and music videos in Hollywood and is also the winner of Nach Baliye Season 7. Aathira has previously won titles like Miss Reshma Beauty USA 2019 and first runner up of Miss Asia International 2018 where she was representing India. “The whole event took almost 4 months of content creation with several tasks to complete. Being in LA was definitely a challenge for me as the time zones were different and sourcing Indian costumes like the Kerala Saree seemed next to impossible. Although I was on my own and had no help with makeup, hair or costume, the entire experience reinforced the belief in me that hard work pays,” she says. Her advice to aspiring young girls, “Even though it is a beauty pageant, a title like Miss Kerala is deserving to the woman who wants to make a positive change in a cause they believe in, its not about being crowned as the ‘prettiest in Kerala’. It is far beyond that, it is not about being a model but being a ‘role model’.”
25 year old Aswathi Nambiar won the second runner up title at the pageant. She is a Purchasing Engineer working in Bangalore, who is basically from Kannur. “I had chosen Mechanical Engineering after my schooling, which meant I was among the handful full of girls dominated by boys. Though I went on to be the best outgoing student of the department, I have had to face a lot of ridiculing for my choices in life.”
Taking part in a pageant has always been a dream for Aswathi, who wanted to join the armed forces but she was disqualified on medical grounds after which she joined Volvo. “This pageant meant a lot to me as it was my first time participating on such a platform. I had no previous modelling experience either. This was also my last chance to participate in the pageant this year as I had just turned 25, which is the cut off age limit.” She says her biggest learning from the event has been self discovery. “The event gave me a lot of courage and self confidence to complete the tasks that I had set out to do. I literally discovered myself through the pageant, I know my goals in life now and people’s negative criticisms no longer affect me anymore. My advice to young girls would be to follow your dreams, don’t let anyone stop you from chasing your dreams. If your parents have apprehensions, talk to them and convince them that ‘Miss Kerala’ is not just a beauty pageant that focusses on your looks alone but the event judges your inner beauty as well. That’s what I did and it is the best thing that has happened to me!” Aswathi wants to inspire young girls to chase their dreams and to be the voice for women, children and the minority.