Growing up, she used to be a nerdy and camera-shy kid. Today, she is Miss India 2020 and will represent the country at the Miss World 2021 pageant at Puerto Rico on December 16. Manasa Varanasi, a true-blue Hyderabadi, shares with The New Indian Express how she's been preparing for the contest, what it would mean to win the title and the causes close to her heart.
How are you preparing for the Miss World 2021 pageant?
Representing India at Miss World is a huge honour and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity. My preparation has been focused on grooming, walking, talking, dancing, singing and most importantly, my Beauty With A Purpose project, 10-9-8. Every day is filled with new learnings and I enjoy immersing myself in the hectic preparation process.
Could you walk us through your prep routine: diet, fitness, personality training, etc.?
My diet includes a balance of fresh fruits and veggies, as well as tasty paneer and pav bhaji! I complement this with pilates and gym workouts. Apart from this, I spend a lot of time working on my voice, dance and face painting skills. I am grateful to all my mentors, who make learning so much fun.
What will you do if you win the title?
Miss World is an ambassadorship for young women to be agents of change in not only our communities, but across the world. My Beauty With a Purpose Project, 10-9-8, is all about building supportive ecosystems for children in distress. Winning Miss World would be a chance to further expand my project, and learn, grow and build on the meaningful legacy of beauty with a purpose.
You recently supported the Telangana Police's campaign against child abuse. What are the other causes that are close to your heart?
I feel passionately for a lot of causes - while safety and equity for children has been my top priority, there are two other causes that resonate with me. First, access to quality education. I think it’s unfair how every child does not have equal access to quality education.
Every child deserves the tools to learn, grow and flourish to their fullest potential. Second, climate change. Nature has been giving us the signs, the whole world is seeing what an extra degree of warming can do to the planet.
I've become more conscious about the decisions I make and it’s impact on the environment. Sustainability is a movement I’m learning more about every day and I hope we collectively switch to a lifestyle that protects our home planet.
What is beauty according to you and how do you drive purpose in beauty?
A wise poet said, "Beauty is that in the presence of which you feel more alive." I believe beauty lies in thinking, acting and connecting from a place of love. A place of meaning and purpose.
The beauty queens you look up to?
Priyanka Chopra. She uses a phrase to describe her professional and personal versatility: ‘multi-hyphenate. I love that idea. She continues to push herself in every domain - entrepreneurship, movies, music and philanthropy. I am grateful and excited about having the chance to embark on a path
What drew you to modelling? How did your family react when you told them that you wanted to pursue a career in it?
Modelling was never really on the cards. I was a nerdy and camera-shy kid. But, over the past few months, I've learned to see beauty in fashion, styling and expression. Coming from an academically oriented family, I did face resistance initially, but over time, my family has made peace with the fact that this is a new slice of life that we all must embrace.
There's long been this debate if beauty pageants are still relevant or not. What's your stand on this?
I believe any opportunity to learn, grow and celebrate women is more than relevant. Miss World encourages us to go beyond the physical and use our voices to drive positive change in our communities. It is a movement focused on purpose, meaning and fulfilment - and that is powerful.
Lastly, your message for all the young girls aspiring to win a beauty pageant?
Know yourself deeply. Know your interests, values, goals and purpose. When you are in tune with who you are, you will enjoy the journey and express yourself with passion and authenticity!