A Story Which Will Inspire You: Road to Miss World 2017
India! A Nation with about 1.3 billion people was the talk of pageant town in 90’s. What any country could not achieve in that era, India did with constant love and support from fans and hard work of Indian representatives and team work. Femina Miss India Organization, which stands as the oldest and most reputed pageant organization of India was not just praised by the global audience but was also feared off as the powerhouse of talent and wisdom.
India won four Miss World crowns in 90’s in the courtesy of Aishwarya Rai (1994), Diana Hayden (1997), Yukta Mookhey (1999) and Priyanka Chopra (2000). Also, India won its first ever Miss Universe crown in 1994 in the courtesy of Sushmita Sen and second Miss Universe crown in 2000 under the representation of Lara Dutta, but soon the glory of India began to fade. After having several runner ups and placements and so many prestigious crowns, India lost its momentum midway in early 2000’s.
The country which used to be a powerhouse of pageant was now called dead by many international pageant fanatics. During all this time, India though managed to reach in Top 5 of Miss World twice under the representation of Parvathy Omnakuttan and Vanya Mishra but failed to bring home the elusive blue crown which they won in 2000. Analogously, Celina Jaitley though managed to reach Top 5 of Miss Universe, could not bring back the Miss Universe crown. Soon, not just the international fans but Indian fans as well begin to lose faith in Indian pageantry, unless Asha Bhat came into power in 2014.
I still remember that night when Asha Bhat was crowned as Miss Supranational 2014. Asha Bhat had reached the finalists spot by then and I was studying for my semester exam which was going to take place the next day. I scrolled down the phone when I saw that Asha has advanced to Top 10, okay, now this was interesting. I wasn’t following Miss Supranational much that year but her energetic swimsuit picture just gave me shivers to know the results and I closed my books to keep myself updated with the pageant, soon I received a message from one of my friend who was there in the venue of coronation saying India won, I remember asking him, “Are you sure?” and he said “Yes! Of course!” Asha Bhat was the first ever Indian woman to be crowned as Miss Supranational, what a feeling of joy and pride that feeling gave me.
Though Asha made the Indian fans very proud, the genuinely dedicated pageant aficionados in india though proud of her victory were still hopeless when it came to Miss World and Miss Universe. India was winning Multimedia and Beauty with a Purpose but still came home empty handed when it came to Miss World crown.
Last year after disappointing performance of India at Miss Universe, India’s hopes were restored when Srinidhi Shetty amazingly performed at Miss Supranational 2016, becoming the only winner to give her country double victories at the said pageant.
In 2016, India witneesed the victory of first ever Asian and Indian to grab Mister World title. Rohit Khandelwal gave a terrific fame and popularity to Femina Miss India and Peter England Mister India Organization.
This year after disappointing performances at Miss Universe and Miss World, India was under pressure to perform not just well but to bring back the crown. Femina Miss India Organization this year came with a commendable come back by launching its slogan “We are Changing.” Not only did Femina Miss India auditioned in each state this year but also gave titles to each state representative, which was indeed a historical move. This year we saw different colours of India on Femina Miss India stage as each of the state showcased their myriad of cultures and ethnicity. Manushi Chhillar, who was representing Haryana at Femina Miss India defeated one of the strongest ever batch in the history of Miss India pageant, becoming first woman from her state to win not just the Femina Miss India crown but now also the Miss World crown.
I remember when I saw her at the auditions of Femina Miss India, I instantly found that “it” factor in her, which made me message her complementing her elegance and aura during the auditions. Manushi was humble enough to respond with a welcoming conversation.
Soon in the North Zone Femina Miss India 2017, Manushi was adjudged as Femina Miss India Haryana 2017, along with winning the title of Miss Rampwalk in north zonals. During her Miss India days, Manushi never acted air-headed but rather was always open to constructive criticisms and suggestions.
Even after she won the crown of Miss World India, she was open to all kind of suggestions over her styling, multimedia handle and other minute details. She was never the “I know it all” sort of person and this is what took her forward. Manushi was always pleasant to acknowledge the support, suggestions and good wishes. It seems like yesterday when I wished her good luck on the day of her departure to Sanya, saying “I know you will come back with the Miss World crown”, and she affirmed, “I hope to make you all proud”, and there she is making entire India proud of her accomplishment.
Manushi showed a praiseworthy transformation since her Miss India days when she reached the Miss World stage. She was acing all rounds, be it Beauty with a Purpose, Multimedia, Top Model Round or Head to Head Challenge. Manushi also presented India’s culture by becoming one of the very few Asian candidates to perform in Dances of the World. She won Head to Head Challenge and Beauty with a Purpose Fatrack, was adjudged as Top 5 finalist in Multimedia and finished as a Top 10 finalist in Top Model Round.
On the finale night, Manushi looked beautiful in Falguni and Shane Peacock evening gown and I knew she was going to win India’s sixth Miss World crown when she reflected her golden heart in the final interview round. She was asked, “Which profession do you think deserves the highest salary and why?” to which she answered, “I think a mother deserves the highest respect and when you talk about salary it’s not always about cash but I feel it’s the love and respect that you give to someone. My mother has always been the biggest inspiration in my life. All mothers sacrifice so much for their kids. So, I think it is the job of a mother that deserves the highest salary.”
Today, this aspiring cardiac surgeon is an inspiration to millions not just in India but across the globe, for this wonderful achievement I congratulate Manushi Chhillar and the entire Femina Miss India Team, to gift the world with the beacon of inspiration!