CHENNAI: In 2000, actor Lara Dutta was asked a question. ‘There is a protest going on outside calling the Miss Universe Pageant disrespectful of women. Convince them they are wrong.’ Lara said: ‘It’s a platform that gives young talent to foray in the fields they want to and forge ahead. A platform to voice out and makes us strong and independent. To the people who think beauty pageants are a waste of time, know better.’
Meera Mitun, who is Face of Chennai, Miss Tamil Nadu and Miss South India 2016, agrees. “Not many models take part in pageants! Maybe it’s because it requires lot of courage and consistency. But it’s never just about the looks. There is stress, competition, fear of losing… and the woman has to be skilled and knowledgeable.”
Meera, also a biotechnologist, has been in the modeling industry for four years and has paved her way into the film industry. “Fame and success made me realise that I have a purpose. It’s my responsibility to create opportunities for budding talent across Chennai, and create awareness about the pageant platforms.”
There were not many contestants for Miss South India from Chennai last time. She partnered with Naturals beauty salon and there were over 60 registrations this time. After a careful screening, they were shortlisted.
City Express met the 25 finalists who will contest in the Chennai leg of the contest on November 8 and the winners will move to the grand finale that will be held in January. Dressed in white, the contestants were quite a mixed bag. A few were experienced and some had little to no experience. But one common thing among all of them was their determination to win.
Tips off the ramp:
Being smart and knowledgeable is something you have to work on by yourself. But these three professionals can help you out with other factors. For starters, be choosy and be careful what you step into. “There are many production companies, coordinators and clients — some good, some fake. Approach senior models and ask for their guidance and contacts. Take a shot from there. Never follow something blind, you will end up in the wrong place,” says model Abhirami Iyer who got into modeling
after studying Bharatanatyam in
Another dancer, Suja Suriyanila who started modeling when she was 8 and will be representing India in World Super Model South Asia 2017 has something important to tell you. “Don’t trust easy. I know everyone in the field but I hardly have friends here. Be professional because rumours can spread like wild fire here. You’ll find too many stories taking rounds and you’ll forget what’s real and what’s not.” This hails from jealousy maybe. Laughing she adds, “Jealousy is always there. Girls may deny it, but it’s the truth. It’s good in a way. If you aren’t jealous, you won’t have the motivation to grow.”
Finally, it’s about making yourself stand out. Bavithra started out as an anchor before seeing herself as a serious model. She says, “Don’t represent yourself as a normal girl. You need to put in a lot of effort. Dress up well, put your charisma on, show your confidence with your stance. The judges should be able to focus on you while you stand with others. Be attractive, embrace criticism and don’t ever put yourself down.”
I’m optimistic and dedicated, and I take up responsibilities with utmost enthusiasm. I was constantly sick as a child. What was more challenging than that was to face people and other kids who kept questioning me about my lack of healthy body weight and also my skin. I wanted to break this cycle! So I started following a different lifestyle, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Models were my inspiration. The best advice I have received from a model was to never let negative emotions crush me.
Masudha Taj 24
Coming from a small, conservative family, I had to wait until my parents trust my decision. It has been my 15-year dream…not only to participate but also win the pageant. I’m new in this field; so I look at YouTube videos of previous pageants for inspiration and tips. I can handle criticism because I’m bold, young and a talented working woman.
I follow all beauty pageant pages on Facebook. They regularly update with posts and pictures. I like Miss Diva Beauty Pagaent the most. I also wanted to participate in Miss India but they don’t accept girls who are less than 5`6.
I’m just an inch shorter! Nevertheless, I’m serious about a modeling career and
will put in my 100%.
Tips from Suja,
Don’t skip meals and drink a lot of water when you wake up in the morning
Start learning to balance yourself in six inches heel
Follow a supermodel for inspiration
Sexy or casual wear, make sure you are comfortable
Practice your pose and smiles in front of the mirror
Cleansing, toning, and moisturising is very important, NOT make-up