In a Conversation with Sara Corner- Miss World India 2001
Sara Corner! A name which needs no introduction! 🙂 Sara Corner represented India at Miss World in a year when India had achieved back to back victory at Miss World through Yukta Mookhey and Priyanka Chopra. Hence, her journey was thriving with challenges.
A well established model by profession since the age of 9, Sara had solemnly decided to make India proud right from a tender age. The very beautiful Miss World India 2001, Sara Corner unfolds her untold story and suggestions for the upcoming beauty queens, in the exclusive interview of TKOP, initiated by me and Shinata Sangha.
Let’s have an insight to the wonderful personality’s beautiful mind.
You started modeling at the age of 9, which is quite a tender age to achieve such an accomplishment! Did you aspire to win Femina Miss India title since childhood? Or it happened swiftly?
Modeling was something that came naturally to me. I had no intention of pursuing it as a career and never did. It was while I was studying. However pageantry is something I loved!
The glamour aspect as well as the challenge of being able to articulate your thoughts and opinions in limited time appealed to me. I am pretty sure I knew from the age of 14 that I wanted to attempt pageantry.
When you joined Femina Miss India 2001, what was going on in your mind? Who was your source of inspiration and how did you prepare yourself to win the crown?
My preparation for Miss India was not overnight. It was ongoing. My friends would throw questions at me during college recess; we would discuss evening gown designs and colours and not to mention my modeling experience in terms of how to use the stage helped.
I didn’t have an inspiration but definitely had a lot of aspiration.
I kept saying to myself ‘believe in yourself’.
Who was your closest friend during Femina Miss India 2001?
I was congenial to all but I would say I enjoyed the company of ‘’Vishwa Dani’’ my roommate.
Who was the mega favorite to win the title of Femina Miss India 2001?
In my mind at that time, while I hoped to win the Universe title, if not me I thought Tapur Chaterjee would have made an excellent Femina Miss India Universe, I for the Femina Miss India World and Trisha Krishnan For Femina Miss India Asia Pacific. I don’t recall at that time who was favourite to win. We were a very strong group, so it could have been anyone.
How was the entire Miss World 2001 experience? Please give us an insight to pre-pageant activities and behind the scenes incidents. Any saccharine moments you would like to share with your fans?
The Miss World experience for me in retrospect was a bitter sweet one. I thoroughly enjoyed Sun City and the hospitality of its people.The accommodation was incredible. The food was mind blowing. Where it got uncomfortable was the international press were rather disappointed with the fact that the previous winner from India won the title giving an incorrect answer and that India had won the Miss World crown so many times! I was asked a few tough questions but it was nothing I could not handle. I was rather surprised that not one reporter questioned my ethnicity seeing that I was so light skinned. They seemed to have known what an Anglo Indian is. Unfortunately I did not win that year so that did dampen my spirits a bit but I grew so much as a person and learnt so much about life and the world in general.
Which country did you get on the most with during Miss World 2001?
Miss Israel and I hit it off instantaneously. Miss Turkey and I got well acquainted as well.
Do you follow pageants even today? What do you feel about the changes in pageantry as compared to the last decade?
Yes I do still follow pageants. I love pageants. Nothing drastic has happened in the world of pageantry. The formulae are still the same so to speak.
India’s fame has declined gradually year after year in pageantry. The country which made others petrified on the sight of its sash has not won a single Miss World or Miss Universe crown after 2000 (15 years). What do you think are the possible reasons behind this decline?
In all honesty it’s quite sad when you think about it. The girls are just as beautiful and just as articulate as they were when winners were being churned out
so it has to be an issue with the management. There is no other logical conclusion.
You have been working in the finance and banking vicinity since a long time. But in the present scenario, many women join Femina Miss India to further advance into Bollywood. What are your thoughts over this? Do you think the intention of joining Femina Miss India only to embark on a Bollywood journey is also the reason why India is not able to perform well at many international pageants?
Whatever maybe the agenda of the contestant, at the end of the day it is up to management to decide the course of a Femina Miss India’s journey for the year that she wears the crown!
Post that, Bollywood is an awesome opportunity so why not venture into it? However ‘up to and during’ her reign as Femina Miss India, management ought to focus on the international pageant and do all in their power to ensure that she is ready for it and most importantly focused on winning it.
If you were to suggest some changes in current scenario of Indian pageantry, what would it be?
- Stop making the FeminaMiss India contest look like the Filmfare awards. It is a pageant.
- Have management that is ‘passionate about pageants’ they need to know the world of pageantry really well especially at the international level and what expectation is at the international level.
- Have an excellent marketing team that manage and promote the career of a Femina Miss India not just at the national level but she needs to aspire be an international brand. Let her do International promotions, ads and campaigns.
- Award scholarships to the winners to promote academic excellence.
- Lastly, pick and promote one specific charitable cause seriously and make a difference in that respect.The world needs to be aware of what Femina Miss India represents.
Who do you think is the best Miss India sent to any international pageant after 2000?
I liked Ami Vashi (Femina Miss India World 2003 who went onto become 3rd runner up Miss World 2003). She’s a natural! And very pretty in my opinion.
Please give us an insight of your future endeavours? Any special plans, which you are pondering to embark on?
I have written my first children’s book aimed at preschoolers last year. It has received a five star rating. I am extremely happy with that accomplishment. I might enter a Mrs Pageant in the future but for now I would like to cool my jets a bit and recharge.
You always look fabulous, what are your fashion inspirations?
I am mature enough to appreciate that everyone is beautiful in their own right. So using someone’s looks to better your own is not the way to go. I focus on myself, my capabilities my body shape and what works for me. I enjoy my food and eat a good three square meal but where I am cautious and what I try to avoid is eating in between meals. I try to use natural products as far as possible. So when you are physical healthy it doesn’t matter what you wear you look good.
What are your greatest unfulfilled ambitions?
I would have to say not pursuing the international scene of entertainment. I would have made it there but I was not confident enough of my capabilities and the thought of going so far away from home was scary.
If a Transgender wanted to compete in a beauty pageant with genetic woman do you believe she should or not?
Interesting question, I love it. My take on this subject is one needs to keep in mind they need to qualify like the rest of the contestants competing and if a particular Transgender contestant doesn’t make it there will always be the ongoing question of “was it because of the Transgender issue’’. It leaves the Transgender contestant feeling confused and naturally upset. So why would a Transgender contestant put themselves through that stress. There are Transgender pageants out there that are fabulous and fierce. Let’s not forget that pageants are supposed to be fun and should bring about a positive and uplifting experience in one’s life. Pageants are great to expand ones personality and outlook in life.
What are your top 5 Beauty Must haves i.e. Makeup/Cosmetics etc?
Well pedicured toe nails
Which famous celebrities do you have on speed dial?
That’s private 🙂
If GOD granted you 1 wish only, what would it be and why?
God is a very busy personality 🙂 I never ask him for a thing except strength to handle whatever may come my way. If I had the opportunity to be granted one wish by him, it would be to continue to bless me with good health so I can have a long life.
Was there any rivalry between contestants/cat fights back stage/backstabbing what went on behind closed doors?
With me Never! I don’t put myself in those positions where I am open to those kinds of situations. My experience throughout my pageant life has been very pleasant. I have met some wonderful people through this line.
What is your motto in life?
My motto of late has been “enjoy the moment’’! So far it has been working pretty well with me.
Do you still keep in touch with any of your fellow pageant winners/contestants from Femina Miss India or Miss World?
Very much so from the Femina Miss India contest. Miss World unfortunately no.
There is a large increase in Suicide amongst those who work in the Indian Showbiz industry, including Femina Miss India Universe 1997 Nafisa Joseph, why do you think more young stars are taking the suicide option? Do you have any words of wisdom for them?
I don’t think it has anything to do with showbiz being the reason, it would probably depend on the individuals personal circumstances. My advice would be to reach out and get help either from elders, family members, religious leaders, friends or even a therapist.
Tell us more about your upbringing, there has been a lot of questions raised about your full ethnicity are you mixed race?
I am Anglo Indian
Sara, you have two beautiful daughters would you let them join the field of modeling and pageantry just like mummy?
If that’s the path they choose, I will support them.
Any final message to all your fans worldwide reading this?
I love you all. Thank you for keeping me in your hearts and mind all these years later. Live your dreams. 🙂
Thank you for this beautiful interview, Sara. Your cycle to retrospection was truly amazing, and we loved how you helped us see through the looking glass of pageantry and Miss World 2001. Wish you all the best for future endeavours. 🙂
Special thanks to Shinata Sangha for making this interview feasible. 🙂