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Pageant not about dumb beauties

Just a week is left for the Miss World pageant when Gadde will represent India. Vote for Sindhura Gadde | Wish her

india Updated: Dec 02, 2005 19:34 IST

The countdown has begun for Miss India World Sindhura Gadde. Just another week left for the Miss World pageant when Gadde will represent India on the world forum. Booh! you might say. We've become used to all such contests. They are just pageants full of looks and glamour, signifying nothing.

Model coordinator Rashmi Virmani counters, "Nobody there (at the Miss World pageant) is looking for dumb beauties." Seconds fashion designer Pooja Nayyar, “Looks are not synonymous with beauty. Beauty today comprises a package of looks and brains."

"International pageants are not like road-side tamashas. One has to be competent enough to face an international jury. Also, the way these events are planned is very different; they test your alertness and metal skills too,” she says.

Events like these, and especially when an Indian wins, definitely boost India's image. Virmani recounts, "I was in Germany for some practice sessions when Aishwarya Rai and Sushmita Sen won their respective crowns. When local people came to know that we are from India, they thronged our studio in large numbers. They thought that like Ash and Sush, all Indian girls are pretty and wanted to meet my troupe members. Both these girls (Ash and Sush) perhaps don't realise how much good they have done to India's image," says Virmani.

A Miss World contestant is the cultural ambassador of her country, says Miss India 2004 Nikita Anand.

Carrying India abroad with grace
Any beauty queen who represents India in international pageants is a cultural ambassador. Former beauty queen Nafisa Ali, now Chairperson, Children's Film Society of India says, "The aim of events like Miss India or Miss World is to choose a girl who can be an international mascot… somebody who can carry the beauty crown with grace." Here the definition of beauty is relative. Looks, attitude and confidence together define beauty at such events."

Virmani adds, "It is illogical to expect that a pageant like a Miss World or Miss Universe or even a Miss India will help people get rid of poverty or solve serious political issues. These events are more about the glitz, glamour and beautiful faces. They are held for entertainment and they do entertain people. So what's the harm."

Miss India 2004 Nikita Anand agrees that it's a great opportunity to represent Indian culture, values and ethos abroad. "It's a great to know that you are the chosen one to represent the county at an international event. You meet people from all squares of life and it's also an opportunity to make great friends. You may or may not win the crown but these memories definitely belong to you," says Anand.

Not just about looks...
Miss India 1995 Manpreet Brar, who has faced the grind herself, feels that the competition is difficult this year. With over 100 countries participating, it is become difficult to out do others, she feels.

"International pagents are becoming bigger than ever. There is also an option of the public voting for favourite contestant, which means that one should be able to impress the panel of judges and also the thousands of others,” she says.

Brar asserts that given a choice she would have selected somebody different from the crowd. “Everyone there looks good with well-toned bodies. But you have to be different from the others. You should be able to grab the judges’ attention. You have to impress them in the 2-minute round and the question-answer rounds besides the predictable beauty parade,” she clarifies.

Vital statistics
"Anyone who is tall, has the right bone structure and attitude," declares Virmani.

"Some girls are very tall and pretty but look very bad on the ramp. It's more to do with how you carry yourself," says Vurmani.

More importantly, a girl should be well read and well travelled. Virmani says, "Both Sush and Ash were well acquainted with the outside world, both of them were well versed with the international atmosphere which helped them to win." Nafisa Ali, who believes that a beauty queen is a mascot of international goodwill, asserts that a beauty queen should have "loads of common sense".

"It's your wit which can help you," she says.

Must have's for aspiring models
Height:
An integral factor for anyone aspiring to walk on the ramp. Not that you have to be a giraffe but you have to be tall enough to look good on the ramp. Indians have an average height but something like 5'8, 5'9 is desirable.

Attitude: You got to have loads of it. You may be average looking but pose as if you are the prettiest thing around. Fake attitude doesn't help much but it does count sometimes!

Body language: Models don't talk, it's their body leaning that does all the talking. A naughty smile and vicious look can kill thousand spectators.

Stamina: A contestant is at the venue weeks before the contest starts. After that she is scanned through various rounds, question answer sessions, photo shoots and what not. Stamina is perhaps the only thing that can help you survive, besides grit and determination.