An Inspirational Interview with India’s First Pageant Coach, Ritika Ramtri
This name needs no introduction in India! For me, she is an epitome of inspiration, devotion and guidance. Yes, I am talking about India’s first official pageant coach, Ritika Ramtri. She has mentored many celebrated personalities like Gauhar Khan, Urvashi Rautela, Neha Hinge, Zoya Afroz and so on!
She came to Pune, when she was 25 years old after completing her education in English Literature from Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi. Ritika had no plans of inaugurating a pageant coaching initially and she planned of settling up as a school teacher formerly. However, fate had something else in the store. In 1997, Sandip Soparrkar approached Ritika to train him for Mr India, and this is how Ritika embarked on the journey of Pageant Coaching. Initially, Ritika kept on guiding her students on a personal level, until she instigated a professional grooming coaching, The Tiara in 2007. In an interview, Ritika unfolded many of the interesting facets of her life before me. Have a look!
1. You are now a celebrated name in India as the leading coach of pageants. How far have you come from the time you thought of the idea of constructing India’s first Pageant School, The Tiara?
It’s been a long journey with a lot of twists and turns, marked with both success and setbacks. I still have a long way to go and miles to go before I sleep.
2. What were the challenges you faced while producing The Tiara? Did your friends and family support you in the beginning?
My family and friends have always been my strength. My parents have always encouraged me to go for my dreams and follow my heart. However since Pageant Coaching was absolutely new here in India there were the initial misgivings. The journey however has been nothing short of spectacular.
3. How was the initial experience of establishing The Tiara? Please share some saccharine moments of those beginning days.
The initial days were indeed memorable. Training Sandip Soparrkar, then Gauhar Khan and Amrita Thapar was a unique experience. It was a period of hit and trial as well- learning what works and what doesn’t. Baby steps are fun and so magical.
4. You have already produced many Miss India titleholders. What are the qualities that you seek to mount in a woman when you train her at The Tiara?
The endeavor is to create a total package, someone who touches people’s lives in a positive way. Besides being beautiful, articulate and smart she has to have a compassionate heart.
5. Who is your favorite beauty queen till date, who has not merely touched your mind but has kindled a feeling of ecstasy in your soul?
There have been so many Lara, Sushmita, Priyanka and Aishwarya from the yesteryears. Beauty Queens like Neha Hinge, Zoya Afroz, Sagarika Chhetri, Sonal Rihani, Tanya Hope Aaital Khosla and so many other Tiara winners have left an indelible imprint on my mind for not only being wonderful titleholders but also being people who never forgot their roots. Their undying support to The Tiara has helped us reach where we are today.
6.India’s status in pageantry is declining year after year, what are the reasons in your opinion which is hindering India to produce a successful streak at international pageants?
While India is doing its best, I do feel that more time should be given to winners to prepare for their International pageants. A deeper understanding of what they are looking for will help us crack them.
7. If you were to mention few of the changes in current pageant system, what would those be? How can India reinstate its glory?
India is known for its beauty. Our contestants are talented, smart and capable of winning any International crown. Our pageant system should focus on matching International standards of Selection and Training.
8. What message would you like to give to aspiring beauty queens? Is the Miss India alleyway tough?
Miss India is indeed the Premier Pageant in the country, one that changes lives. The chosen ones have a huge responsibility towards the Nation to represent it on an International level in the best possible way. Preparation, hardwork and an open mind will help a Miss India aspirant immensely.
9. One sentence you would like to say for The Kaleidoscope of Pageantry.
I have been following The Kaleidoscope of Pageantry and I must say you are doing a commendable job. The research you put in is evident in your stories. Infact The Kaleidoscope has become a ready reckoner of Pageant Information for Pageant novices and experts alike. I for one avidly follow you.
Thank you so much for this interview, Ritika! It was really fascinating to witness your success story.