Dressed nattily in ethnic Tibetan costume, 21-year-old Tsering Chungtak won the coveted Miss Tibet 2006 as well as the Miss Photogenic crown at a grand finale of the fifth Miss Tibet pageant here.
Tsering Chungtak, a second-year sociology student of Hindu College of Delhi University and a part-time model, said after her win Sunday evening: "I want to serve my community (Tibetan) in whatever way I can in the future."
Wangchuk Palmo and Tseten Yangzom won the first and second runners-up awards respectively in the contest held at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts located in uptown Dharamsala.
A few minutes after Miss Washington Christina Addington sashayed on to the stage to crown Tsering as Miss Photogenic, she was crowned Miss Tibet 2006 by Tenzin Nyima, Miss Tibet 2005.
Tsering's win can be attributed to a perfect mélange of beauty and talent. She was awarded a cheque of Rs.100,000 as scholarship by the organisers while the first and second runners-up were given a scholarship of Rs.50,000 and Rs.25,000 respectively.
The fifth Miss Tibet beauty pageant, which had five contestants, was judged by a five-member jury. The jury consisted of Phil Void, a musician and a supporter of the Tibetan cause for over 30 years from Woodstock, New York; Priya Dhall, a former model and an entrepreneur from Pune; Utsav Arora, an eminent journalist and a promoter of fashion from Delhi; Thierry Dodin, a Tibetologist and the director of Tibet Info Net London; and Christina Addington, the Miss Washington.
During the question-answer round, Miss Washington had asked Tsering how she would make the Tibetan cause known to the world community if she was crowned.
She replied: "I think the Miss Tibet contest is one of the platforms where we can contribute something for Tibet's cause. It creates awareness among the masses. The Miss Tibet pageant is not explicitly political, but implicitly it is involved, because through it people come to know about Tibet and its rich culture.
"Moreover, by holding this pageant it also preserves our tradition and culture. Not only this, the Miss Tibet contest itself is a message to the world that Tibet Is Not A Part Of China."
Tsering was born in Shillong in northeast India. She is an alumnus of the local lower Tibetan Children's Village School and has won English school debate competitions. She is a very bright student and likes music, singing, dancing and reading.
The fifth Miss Tibet pageant was kicked off with the swimwear round on Oct 13 at the Asia Health Resorts. Five women - Metok Lhanze, Tenzin Palmo, Tsering Chungtak, Tseten Yangzom, and Wangchuk Palmo - competed. Another contestant, Pema Chodon, a naik in the Indian Army, had to quit following refusal by her superiors in the army.
The zeal, enthusiasm and effervescence exhibited by the Tibetan audience during the pageant defeated all claims of a section of the Tibetan community living in exile here that most of them are averse to it.
The jam-packed premises was proof enough that Tibetans want to do what the entire modern world is doing today. The producer-director of the pageant is Lobsang Wangyal.