Miss Universe 2018: Is India Back in Game?


Why is Nehal Chudasama a Force To Reckon With at Miss Universe 2018?

India! The name which was last called as Top 5 finalist at Miss Universe pageant in 2001 when Celina Jaitley represented the then powerhouse nation at world’s most prestigious and acclaimed pageant, and eventually emerged as the fourth runner up. Since last 16 years, India has never been called to Top 5 finalist spot and has even failed to place in the semi-finals since last 3 years.

However, this time the country which is majorly known to be Miss World fanatic not only tried something out of box while escorting the new Miss Universe India but also revamped the entire format, which has eternally been criticized by not merely pageant critics but also fans. The Miss Diva organization which sends delegates from India to Miss Universe went across four zones and presented the mesmerizing aura of the contestants vying to be the next Miss Universe India via various fashion shows, swimsuit presentation and press presentation. Each zone had a new subtitle to offer and different judge to assess the best among the best.

Last weekend, Nehal Chudasama was crowned as Miss Universe India 2018 during the grand finale of Miss Diva Universe 2018. While Nehal now has the responsibility of breaking three years long drought on her shoulders, it must be taken in consideration that she is much more than that. As insane as it might sound, we all know how important the concept of story at Miss Universe pageant is. Nehal is an epitome of living story, who gives hope to million women who have been body shamed or are uncomfortable in their own skin.

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Soon after her crowning, posts showcasing fitness transformation of the newly crowned Miss Diva Universe 2018 were doing rounds in the social media, which not only garnered the attention of the pageant fans but also common audience, who keep pageants at bay, calling it as a platform which endorses body shaming. Nehal Chudasama is the answer to all those backlashes pageants receive by voicing the idea of ‘Hum Fit Toh Universe Fit’, which means if we are fit then the universe would also be fit. Nehal Chudasama, who is also a Fitness Consultant apart from being an Anchor, stands as the idol for all those people who do not believe in the miraculous fitness transformation.  Coming from the background where she lost her mother at an early age, and has been looked down by her friends and colleagues due to her weight, Nehal seems to be very strong when it comes to story.

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Keeping aside the tale of ‘story’, Nehal’s stage presence is awe striking. She glides on the stage like a dream owning splendour in the swimsuit round and magnificence in the evening gown round. Being an Anchor already, Nehal is not hesitant whenever she gets the podium to voice her opinions. She screams confidence in her body language, be it interacting with the press or the common audience, she exudes grace and charm, a sign of a true diva, the reflection of true ‘Confidently Beautiful’.  In addition, Nehal has been seen enthusiastically involved with significant philanthropic causes like awareness of cancer, which has primarily been the agenda of Miss Universe pageant over years.

All in all, I firmly assert that India is back in game. To say if India would win the Miss Universe crown this year would be quite an early speculation, but do not take India for granted in 2018.   There are surprises every time in pageants, and Nehal Chudasma can be that pleasant surprise this December in Thailand.

Vagisha Mishra

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