“It’s not just a victory for us but a victory for India,” says an elated Sushmita, who spearheads I AM She — Miss Universe India, which is a national beauty pageant started in 2010 under the banner of Tantra Entertainment Pvt Ltd. The former Miss Universe and the current Miss Asia Pacific World 2012 tell CS what a great moment it is for the country to get the crown back to India after 12 years:
What a feeling!
Sushmita: No matter how we say it, we will not be able to express this feeling! It’s just been two years that I AM She has been in existence and we had been working towards getting the crown back. To think that we have it here already, is an absolutely ‘yay’ factor for us.
Himangini: It’s an amazing feeling and frankly, it hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s a new journey for me and I’m thrilled to be part of this moment.
Be who you are
Sushmita: We lay a lot of emphasis on all their classes — whether it’s diction, style, beauty, skin-care. But the most important aspect is knowing their ‘I AM’ quotient. They have to know who they are. ‘Be yourself’ is an over-used term but really difficult to follow. We lay great emphasis on their personal strengths. Now Himangini was studying MBA and working towards building brands. But she had to understand what being a brand meant. And she’s gone and done just that! Today, she’s become a global face and brand.
Sushmita: Ironically, Himangini ended up being asked ‘What is the essence of being a woman?’ — the same question I was asked all those years back! It’s God showing his ways. Of course, Himangini had her own fabulous way of answering it. Another crazy thing I would like to share, is about her gown. She had taken an Anjalee-Arjun gown for the finale. As an emotional tie, she had taken one of my gowns designed by Neeta Lulla. On the morning of the pageant, she called me and said she wants to wear my gown for the finale! I told her to go ahead with her gut feeling and two hours later, she had the crown!
Himangini: When I told her I want to wear her gown, she was surprised and reminded me that I have matching accessories with the finale gown but not with this. But s they say, go with your feeling and I did that. This is what they call history being repeated. As for the same question being asked, her answer is counted as one of the best answers ever given at a pageant and her beliefs have really influenced me.
Life comes full circle
Sushmita: More than watching her win at the pageant, the most memorable moment was when I went to receive her at the airport. There were so many people chanting her name and saying ‘victory to India’. The moment I will always remember is when she walked out of the airport and that was when I was reminded of the time I had returned after winning the crown. It’s not just about the crown coming back to India but an honour coming back to us. It’s like being the king once and then being the king-maker. It’s an unbelievable feeling.