Competing with contestants from 30 countries, Naaz Joshi recently won the title of Miss Universe Diversity, making her India’s first international trans beauty queen with six international crowns. The Miss Universe Diversity organisation took the pageant digital, and from the various online tasks, Joshi opted to work on women safety. She educated women in rural areas the importance of self-defence.
How did you feel winning the sixth international crown?
Every time I go on the ramp, it feels like I am there for the first time. I still get goose bumps before I stand on stage and address the 500-plus audience. The only irony is what female winners achieve winning one pageant, I couldn’t even in six. I just wish more people would come forward to cover my journey.
As the Miss Universe Diversity organisation took the pageant digital this year, how was your experience participating remotely?
It was a good step. Miss Universe has shifted their 70th pageant to 2021, and reports state that Miss Earth may also go digital. We work very closely with the make-up team, photographers and event directors and all that went digital this year. I, as a beauty queen, have a responsibility towards the community, I as a responsible citizen support this digitisation of beauty pageant.
What is it that draws you to participate in various pageants?
I am looking for power to voice my opinions. Had I been famous, people might have taken me seriously. Even after winning six international titles for India my own community doesn’t recognise me. I will keep on competing to get my voice heard.
How has your journey been till now?
A roller-coaster ride of emotions. Since my first win in 2019, I have worked with many schools and colleges on gender sensitisation programmes. I have educated many on being safe during COVID. I have been an object of mockery, verbal and physical abuse, and this continues till date. I live with my parents these days and have a 4-by-4 room to myself. My mother still physically abuses me, doesn’t let any visitors and relatives meet me. People call me mad, especially people from LGBT community who are not happy with my success. They discourage my decision to go back to modelling, telling me that I am old now. Designers are not ready to pay me because young trans girls are modelling for them free of cost.
You adopted two girls last year and now you are looking forward to build an orphanage for girls. Can you tell us more?
I am proud to say that I am the mother of two daughters, but I have to beg and clap for their survival. Both my girls were abandoned by their families. I adopted my first daughter in 2018 and the younger one in 2020. This one was an illegitimate child of a 16-year-old mother. Her mother threw her in a dustbin, and I soon got to know about it. I immediately went to the spot and took charge of this girl. Since my parents never loved me, I understand what love is and what a child needs.