An evening of glitz and glamor awaits the contestants of this year’s Miss India Worldwide beauty pageant, which is being held in the UAE and kicks off on June 18.
As the young women prepare to dazzle, a contestant from Qatar sets out to put beauty pageant critics firmly in their place.
The contestants in the pageant are of Indian origin, between the ages of 17 and 27, and are citizens, residents, or born in the country which they represent. This year, the young women represent 40 countries as they strut their stuff to take home the title.
The pageant consists of four segments – Evening Gown, Indian Dress, Talent and Question-Answer. This year, the contestants are set to perform a wide range of talents.
We have “singers, dancers, artists and four fitness girls,” Eisha Ramrakhiani, events director at Emirates Vision which is organizing the event, told Al Arabiya News.
Trisha Verma, a contestant representing Qatar, told Al Arabiya News about her talent and her pre-show jitters.
“I will be performing a contemporary dance act, with a little acting,” she said. “I’m not actually nervous about any section in particular, I’m nervous about the whole thing but there’s a lot of excitement also… I’m just waiting to go out there and give my best shot, I’m so pumped,” added Verma.
When asked what it would mean to her to wear the Miss India Worldwide crown, Verma said it would help her in her charity work.
“I’ve always liked to help people in need, I like doing a lot of charity – in the country I live in as well as back in India. This pageant will give me the platform to help people all over the world.”
Contests like Miss India Worldwide have come under a harsh spotlight in recent years, with some commenters arguing that beauty pageants objectify women.
“Beauty pageants should go the way of the corset. They’re outdated and restrictive and perpetuate a damaging link between real world success and a woman’s capacity to cultivate a very specific, stereotypical definition of beauty,” wrote Courtney E. Martin for the New York Times in May.
“I’ve heard the argument that they can be great sources of scholarship money for low-income women, but I’d rather live in a world where those same girls don’t have to learn how to walk in high heels to afford college,” Martin added.
Verma, however, disagrees with the detractors.
“I don’t really agree with that notion,” she said when asked about pageant critics. “There’s a different sense of pride that you feel when you participate in a pageant. You feel a lot more confident about yourself and you’re able to set an example for a lot of young people.
“I think the notion that pageants are not good, that they are demeaning, should not be held. It’s wrong.”
The young women are set to be judged by a panel including Indian celebrity guests who have not yet been named.
The first part of the contest will take place in Dubai on June 18, it will then move to Abu Dhabi on June 20.