South Indian Nivetha Pethuraj was crowned Miss India UAE in a beauty pageant on Saturday.
Pethuraj, who is preparing for the Miss India worldwide contest, said she has realized her dream to enter the beauty pageant through this competition, according to local media reports.
She is 23 years old and holds a degree in management studies from Heriot Watt University located in Dubai. She is also a certified fitness trainer.
In the first round, women were asked to walk in high heels and their traditional Indian dresses in bold reds, pinks and orange adorned in gold detailing and brilliant chandelier earrings. Then each woman had to sit in the center stage, faces about 250 to briefly introduce herself.
“Last night was a golden moment for me. I really worked hard for this crown. I would go for rehearsals an hour earlier than scheduled to perfect my walk. I was bad at it. The moment I qualified the top 15 round, I watched many videos on YouTube on how to walk the ramp and read up around 500 beauty pageant questions,” Pethuraj said, in comments carried by Gulf News.
In the second round, the women showed their Bollywood dance moves. Then the women dressed in evening gowns before five contestants were chosen as finalists.
The final five were put through a question-and-answer session in which they were asked about gender gap, retirement policies in India and choices they have made that changed their lives.
“I told them [the panel of judges] that my choice was to travel around the world alone,” Pethuraj said.
There were 15 contestants. The judges looked at various factors including poise, carriage, their answers and talents displayed in the Bollywood dance round.