The Indian Sun catches up with Miss India Australia finalist Sanya Chopra, to find out why she wants the win
Raj Suri’s Miss India Australia pageant and talent workshops, in particular are more about the journey for a woman to accept herself and gain more confidence about her self-worth and being labelled as a strong woman, more than just a pretty face
With many seeing it as a chance to get a high-heeled foot into Bollywood, the competition for Miss India Australia gets fiercer every year.
This year’s winner will get part way to realizing that very dream, winning the chance to represent Australia in Miss India Worldwide in the ‘city of dreams’ itself, Mumbai, in September. Pallavi Sharda, eat your heart out.
The Indian Sun caught up with finalist Sanya Chopra, a 22-year-old self-proclaimed “Bollywood fanatic” from Sydney, to find out why she wants to win and what she tells people who brand beauty pageants ‘demeaning’.
So, why do you want to be Miss India Australia?
While one of the obvious reasons I want to be Miss India Australia is that I have always had a passion for modelling. Like most Indian girls, I grew up watching Bollywood movies and fantasizing my life dancing in those bright costumes and flashing lights.
One of the bigger reasons I want to be Miss India Australia is I believe there is potential to incorporate Bollywood into the Australian culture. I want to use my title to bring together the talented people in Australia (both Indian and Australians). I personally know so many people here that are so talented but lack the avenues to pursue their goals. If I do become Miss India Australia, I would like to dedicate my time to endorse this. The talent is here but they need the right platform to be able to showcase them.
What would you say to someone who told you beauty pageants were demeaning for women?
Beauty has been a mark of being feminine for as long as we can remember. While it may be true that women are sometimes measured by beauty more than anything else, beauty is not just about how good one looks. Beauty can include her intelligence, her values, her friendships and her love. While this beauty may measure the size of my waist and hips, it is also a measure of how I have been raised, what my values are as an Australian Indian, how confident I am and what talents I have been blessed with as a woman.
What a lot of girls these days lack is the confidence and the ability to be comfortable in their own skin. Raj Suri’s Miss India Australia pageant and talent workshops, in particular are more about the journey for a woman to accept herself and gain more confidence about her self-worth and being labelled as a strong woman, more than just a pretty face.
Career-wise, what would you like to be doing 10 years from now?
I believe there is great potential for growth for Bollywood to assimilate itself in Australia. We have talented Indian Australians going to Bollywood and even Hollywood, but I think it’s time we bring more opportunities to Australia. If I become Miss India Australia, I would love to pursue this aim, and bring more opportunities for the Indian Australians. I know so many people here in Australia that are so talented, but lack the avenues to explore this talent.
What do you think Australia can do better to tackle racism?
People need to see each other as human beings. We need to overlook skin colours to be able to see the values, the love and the compassion hidden behind it. Racism is not a biological behaviour, you cannot say Australians are racist. Campaigns should be targeted to our younger generation as it is harder to change the views of older people. As they say, it’s easier to grow new seeds than changing the tree.
Nelson Mandela was a big advocator of the anti-racism campaign. I agree on his principle that people are not born racist, it is learnt. Love is easier to teach than hate, and as a result it is important to teach kids the value of being compassionate to people, regardless of skin colour or religion.
Where is your favourite place to holiday in India?
India is a beautiful country with a diverse cultural heritage. From Kerala’s beautiful greenery, to the beaches of Goa, from the sacred Golden Temple to the iconic Taj Mahal, there is just so much to see. While there is a new adventure in every corner, visiting home always keeps you grounded. My favourite place has to be my home in Chandigarh. I think it is important to remember your roots and your values and it is always fun to be around family.
Describe your perfect Sunday afternoon.
This might sound boring, but a perfect Sunday for me, would be sitting in a nice café spending time with a nice cup of coffee and a good book to read. I think Sunday’s are the perfect time to unwind and prepare for a new week.
Miss India Australia auditions are being held in July in Melbourne and Sydney, with the winner expected to be announced in August.