Early this month, Parkash Verma and Arti Vij won Mr and Miss India 2021 at the 10th edition of ISMF (Indian School Of Modelling & Fashion), organised by Fashion Choreographer Jagnoor Aneja.
The auditions for the event began in June, followed by photoshoots in July, and the training and grooming in August, before the finale. "I believe this kind of event in small and big cities will motivate the youth and their parents to participate," adds ISMF MD Aneja.
The finale involved ethnic, casual and western wear rounds, designers Samant Chauhan, designer duo Astha Sethi and Pooja Bhutani, Deepak Bajaj, Ishan Narang, Brownmens Wardrobe, showcased their collections.
This was followed by a Q&A session. "The contestants were judged on their confidence, communication skills, personality and X factor," adds Aneja. The first two rounds of auditions took place online.
The finale was a physical event, organised following COVID protocols. "All the contestants and crew were vaccinated before the show. A total of 65 people attended the event," he adds. The Morning Standard spoke to the winners:
ISMF Mr India 2021: Parkash Verma (28) - Freelance fitness instructor - Karol Bagh
Verma harboured a lifelong dream to become a supermodel and an actor. When he chances upon this contest on ISMF’s Instagram page, he immediately applied for it. "This is my first pageant. However, it took quite a while to reach the Top 12 finalists."
Verma combined a strict diet with cardio. "As a result, I lost 7-8 kg. I would wake up at 5am and do a cardio workout. My breakfast comprised fresh fruits and vegetables, juice, soup, and fruits. We also had grooming sessions by our mentor Jagnoor Aneja for two weeks. In the evenings again, I used to hit the gym, followed by a light dinner of two chapatis and a bowl of dal," he shares.
Covid was a big hurdle. "I was very concerned about my health and used to have kadha daily to boost my immunity. This event inspired me to work harder towards achieving my goals. I am getting many modelling projects after winning the title," says Verma, who has a Masters in Physical Education.
ISMF Miss India 2021: Aarti Vij (26) - Cabin crew, Qatar Airways - Kirti Nagar
"The moment I saw how confident my competitor presented herself, I thought I was going to lose. Then I saw my mother sitting in front of me with high hopes in her eyes, and it changed everything. Suddenly, l was on the Vij wants to be known for good deeds and helping the underprivileged. I was already a social activist, and after this winning crown I want to continue doing that with even more grace," she says.
Vij heard about the contest from a friend, and immediately applied online. "I had underwent professional training, and even lost weight following a routine – gym, healthy diet, and mediation. This made me focused and confident. We also did a constructive training of 12 crucial days that included ramp walk training, speech, nutrition education, skin, and health care training."
Vij ultimately wants to become an actor. "The words: Light, camera , Action! mean a lot to me. I was looking for a platform that would prepare me for Mumbai, and this event has played a major role. Thankfully, I managed to stay safe by avoiding close contact with people, drinking hot water, and regularly washing hands. This event has brought spark in my life," she says.