The search for the most beautiful woman in Universe is on! Miss Universe 2006 is round the corner and representatives from all over the globe are vying for the prestigious crown.
Winning the title brings instant fame, money and love from the whole world. But over the years, the craze for beauty pageants is no more the same. So, what's the reason? Are beauty pageants losing their appeal?
To get the picture clear, HindustanTimes.com spoke to some of the biggest names in the glam industry. Here's what they think...
SUSHMITA SEN (Model-turned-actress)
As an ex-Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen has made her strong position in Bollywood with her screen presence and acting skills. And these days she is one the leading actresses in Bollywood.
The fashion diva says, "It is never beauty pageants that have the charm anyway. It's the people and ever so often, a charming little girl wins your heart and the charm of beauty pageants is right back in!"
On being asked what was holding back recent beauties from winning the crown, she says, "No woman lacks anything! I think judges make mistakes most of the time!"
RITU KUMAR (Fashion designer)
The Queen designer of the fashion fraternity has designed winning costumes forIndian representatives. And this time too she has designed the Finale costume for Miss India-Universe Neha Kapoor. The list comprises of eight to nine saris and lot of swimsuits from Ritu Kumar Label and one traditional costume, which is truly Indian.
"I don't think the novelty of the beauty pageants has gone. In 1994, when Sushmita and Aishwarya had gone for the contest and they won back-to-back at that time it was a rage. But now down the line the craze has certainly decreased because these days the modelling is normal", says the couturier.
MEHAR BHASIN (Model-turned-anchor)
This face has launched the thousand ships for Revlon in India. She has a multi-faceted personality; she has walked the ramp for many top designers. She owns her grooming academy and has trained many Miss India contestants.
"To be very honest beauty pageants are losing charm among viewers because these days a lot of beauty pageants are happening and each one of them has same level. For viewers, it gets a little confusing that makes these contests lose their authenticity. But as Miss India's get the chance to participate in the Miss World and Miss Universe contest further, so for them the beauty pageants are still as charming as they were some years back," says Mehar.
But then, in recent years, why haven't we won any crown at the International level? On this, Mehar says, "Surely the competition has increased. Just participating in the contest makes them the winner. And to be frank no one can really make a statement on this because you never know what the jury is looking for in a Miss Universe."
LUBNA ADAMS (Ramp choreographer)
Ace ramp choreographer Lubna Adams makes the models move, as she likes. On whether beauty contests are a sham, Lubna says, "I think beauty pageants are no more a rage and the funda is simple. In previous years we haven't got any winner from India. So I think the craze has declined".
Thwarted with the fact of losing the crown in the previous years, she states, "I haven't seen the contests personally but yes I saw the pictures and nobody stood out from the others. It's not just looks, brains and body that the judges look for in a Miss Universe or Miss World but they look for a person who has the personality of her own."