How did you get started in beauty pageants?

I’ve been a freelance model for roughly two years. I attended a magazine casting over summer and was spotted for the pageant there, so Miss India was my first professional beauty pageant.

What were your initial reactions to getting through? How did you feel before, and after the competition?

It was very exciting in the run up to the competition with lots of rehearsals and preparation! After winning, it was overwhelming. It was an amazing, indescribable feeling!

How many people originally applied? How many of you were lucky enough to reach the final?

I was one of the five girls who made it through out of 30 from the London Regionals. I believe we’re going to be joined by the winners from the other regions which have taken place all over the country – from oxfordshire to up north!

How is the competition judged? Did you have to demonstrate any special talents?

The competition is judged on a few key factors. Beauty, grace, charity, intelligence and talent. There were a variety of rounds, the first few demonstrated beauty and grace through our catwalks for the fashion houses who sponsored the event, the second was the talent round – where I performed a fiery latin salsa dance and the third was a question and answer round where we were tested on our public speaking, intelligence and charity!

What’s the support been like amongst your peers?

The support has been incredible. I really want to thank my friends and family for encouraging me to participate and believing that I could do it!

Can you tell us what pageants such as this are like behind the scenes? Were there any tensions among the contestants, or with the coordinators based on your experience?

Behind the glitz, glam and sparkles of the pageant world is a lot of hard work! Unfortunately, it’s not just the evening of the competition. We had numerous rehearsals and a lot of preparations in terms of the talent and question answer round. Aside from that, I had a strict training regime with lots of nutritious food, exercise and sleep to ensure I was looking healthy for the pageant.

Quite contrary to the stereotype of pageant divas, I found the girls were a very down to earth and friendly bunch. We had a great choreographer on board and ended up all spending a lot of time together during rehearsals and backstage where we were all “in the same boat” despite the competition between us. I came away making some great friends who I hope to keep in contact with.

Do you have any advice or tips for those who are currently joining a beauty contest or for those who are planning to join?

I’d say to adopt the “keep at it” approach – you’ll have good days and bad days and often, it’s a test of mental endurance but if you keep a positive attitude throughout and work with professionalism towards your counterparts, you’ll find yourself flourishing.

At pageant events, there is a lot of networking opportunity – there are often a lot of scouts, agents even make up artists and couture houses who are contacts just waiting to be made! Act upon them!

Along the learning curve, you get to learn a lot about not just the industry, but also abouut yourself – whether they’re you’re strengths or your weaknesses, make the most of it as you’ll come away knowing you’ve learnt something from the experience, no matter if you win or lose!