Get To Know The Woman Of Earth Better- An Interview with Miss Earth India 2016 Finalist, Shaan!
Last month, Miss Earth India organization came up with 12 dazzling finalists from Miss Earth India Delhi 2016 auditions, and shimmering amongst them was, Shaan! Shaan is a highly dedicated woman and has chosen Miss Earth India platform specifically to contribute in enhancing Mother Earth’s beauty.
She is a media student, a social worker, a classical dancer and a NCC cadet. Hailing from Bhopal, Shaan is now aspiring to be next Miss Earth India. In an interview with The Kaleidoscope of Pageantry, Shaan unfolds her veiled personality and her dream of conquering the crown of Miss Earth India 2016. Have a look!
Heartiest congratulations, Shaan for making it to the finalists of Miss Earth India 2016. Tell us something about your veiled personality.
Thank you so much Vagisha! I’m thrilled about the journey ahead and grateful to have been selected to compete at a platform as prestigious as Miss Earth India. I’m 25 years old and am from Bhopal. I grew up and did my entire schooling in this city. By degree I’m a filmmaker, I did my Bachelors in Media Studies from, Pune from the best Undergraduate Media College in the country – Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication.
By profession though, I am a social worker and spent the last 4 years in the Social Development Sector. In 2012, I was chosen to be a part of Teach For India’s highly selective Fellowship Program through which I taught underprivileged kids residing in the slums of Mumbai and Pune as a full time teacher and mentor for two years. Post the Fellowship I took on new roles within Teach For India and also worked to create inspiring short documentaries on the lives of people who had left their high paying jobs to continue to work with children and low income communities for their betterment.
I have a huge inclination towards the arts and my interests include Photography, Graphic Design and Dancing. I hold a “Prabhakaran” – (equivalent to a bachelors degree), in the classical dance art form of Bharatnatyam and have learnt, performed and choreographed in other styles as well. I was recently also a script trainer and dance lead for a children’s musical in 2014 along with trainers who are artists from Broadway. I started modeling in college and have thoroughly enjoyed my journey so far. With the kind of skills I’ve learnt in the past, I’m truly the happiest on both occasions – whether it’s being behind the camera or in front of it. Although I have to admit, being in front excites me the most!
Education, Environment and Wildlife, Waste Management, Women and Child Development are causes I am passionate about and have worked for previously in different capacities. I have been lucky to be given the opportunities to represent my city and state nationally and internationally. Formerly, I was an NCC cadet (National Cadet Corps) just like Asha bhat (Miss Supranational 2014)! And got selected from the Directorate of MP and Chhattisgarh to attend and participate in the Republic Day Camp at New Delhi. At the camp, as one of the six best speakers from the country, I met, presented to and interacted with many dignitaries from India and abroad including His Excellency Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Former Chief of Army Staff General J.J Singh.
Internationally, I had a chance to represent my state in Singapore as a Student’s Excellence Awardee for the Race For Awareness and Knowledge (RANK) Awards conducted by Air India. My interest in understanding women empowerment and the challenges Indian women entrepreneurs face lead me to use my research and ideas in an essay on empowering women entrepreneurs and helped me secure the position of National Winner in the Mindful Leadership Competition organized by Loyola Institute of Business Administration and the University of Dayton, Ohio for which I was awarded a scholarship to attend summer school in the United States.
I am a strong believer in continuous self improvement and achievement and my experiences have taught me that excellence is a habit which is why one needs to give their best every single time.
How are you preparing yourself for Miss Earth India 2016 journey? What are your chief plans?
I am putting in effort on every aspect for the pageant. I have been working on my fitness, my skin and hair, on photo shoots, my walk and on improving how I present myself and communicate. I am also taking time to learn more about the causes that Miss Earth India is working for. The chief plan is to keep doing all of the above consistently so that I’m my best version during the finals. 🙂
How are you gearing yourself up for the environmental programs introduced under Miss Earth pageant?
It’s incredible how things have fallen into place for me by being selected for this pageant. Miss Earth India is supporting two causes this year – Green, Waste Free India and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. To be extremely honest, I am hugely inclined towards both Education and the Environment since the beginning. Being born to a Teacher and a Forest officer, both of these causes have been very close to my heart. I spent my early days touring and visiting forest areas with my family, and have been very close to nature. Very early on, I started volunteering and standing up for causes relating to the environment. During school I did different awareness drives on proper waste disposal and climate change and took it to a city level by organizing a rally for Environmental Awareness and Toxic Waste Disposal on the 25th Anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy with the help of two of my friends and an Environmental NGO, Prayatna.
Soon, I took up opportunities to work with World Wildlife Fund for Nature, India and Sanctuary Asia – Wildlife Journal, during college and learnt about the various niche areas that environment and wildlife encompasses and the issues that face us today. I also went on to create a short documentary to sensitize people on the need for saving tigers. All my experiences in the field of environment lead me to work to educate children.
While I am still learning, I know my past experiences are a huge value add in helping me decide my course for the future and it only excites me to think about the various opportunities to come my way in this field. As of now, I am continuing my endeavours in the field of environment, and also focusing on every opportunity given by Miss Earth India to learn more. For the International Pageant too, I am confident that it’s what I’ve learnt over the years, and my passion for the causes, that is going to help me tremendously.
How confident are you about winning the Miss Earth India 2016 crown?
I’m feeling really positive and I have great confidence in myself to win the Miss Earth India crown this year. I know it’s not going to be easy so I am going to focus on learning along the way and giving my best to reach the top!
India has variety of pageants like Femina Miss India, Miss Diva Universe and Indian Princess. But what were the prime motives of choosing Miss Earth India pageant over others?
What has stood out to me is the fact that Miss Earth India is a very holistic pageant. Apart from concentrating on beauty it is extremely committed to two causes – Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, and Green Waste Free India. In a country like ours, these two are pressing issues and the focus given to these causes by the organization is not only timely and appropriate but also of supreme importance. The idea of being a women ambassador, an example to other women and men in the country and being a leader in driving positive change for these causes, is what excites me immensely.
Which Miss Earth has motivated your drive to participate in Miss Earth India pageant?
Nicole Faria was the first to bring the Miss Earth Crown to India and has since been my motivator! More recently though, I was extremely enthused by the amazing performances by Miss Earth Air 2015 – Dayanna Grageda and Miss Earth 2015 – Angelia Ong during their finals and I have been waiting to get an opportunity to get to the main stage since.
If given a chance to represent India at Miss Earth 2016, how would you reflect the beauty of India at the international arena?
I would like to leverage the various opportunities at the pageants and all my interactions with the other contestants and external audiences to reflect the beauty of our country. Whether it is the showcase video – by highlighting the exquisiteness of our geographical, environmental and cultural diversity or the talent round by performing our stunning classical arts through dance or in just way I present myself, interact with everyone, I will do my best to embody the beauty of our country in every aspect.
Who is your ideal beauty queen and how has she helped you to evolve as a beauty queen?
From the time Priyanka Chopra won Miss World to now being at an international platform as renowned as the Oscars, she has grown beautifully and has made India proud time and again. She has shown us what being versatile looks like with her films, music, TV series and has always pushed boundaries which have led her to become a global star. The number of things she has strived for and achieved over the past years is a strong example of strength, beauty, confidence and courage which to me are highly inspiring.
What incident in your life made you realize about your passion in pageantry? Who assured you that beauty pageants are totally your cup of tea?
I’ve always been encouraged to dream big and follow my dreams; I think a lot of credit goes to my upbringing for my interest in the pageants. Empowerment, responsibility, beauty and intelligence are what every girl aspires to have while she is growing up to be a woman and pageantry is that one platform that exemplifies all of the above. Being a young ambitious woman I have a craving to represent my country internationally, make the country proud and continue to work for things I passionately feel for. My mother and my pageant trainer Ms. Ritika Ramtri have been my biggest and constant sources of encouragement to go out there, give my best and bring the crown home.
What message would you like to give to The Kaleidoscope of Pageantry and your fans reading this interview?
I really want to thank you and TKOP for this interview and giving me a platform to share! I just want to say that there’s still a long way to go for me and I’ve realized it takes a lot of hard work, patience and determination to chase our dreams, so my message to everyone reading this would be to dream big, relentlessly get behind it, live the opportunities, experience the downfalls and absorb all that you can learn as it only makes you stronger, better and get closer to achieving what you want. Through the journey, just always, ALWAYS remind yourself why you started in the first place, so that every day you are as excited to do your best as the last.
That was a wonderful conversation, Shaan! Your story is definitely inspiring and I am sure that you are here to make it large! All the very best for the forthcoming journey, may you shine brighter and bolder with every passing day!