In March, 18-year-old Mansi Sharma was crowned as Miss India Indonesia, which makes her eligible to enter the Miss India Worldwide contest in Dubai next week. The New York University student is now embracing tons of new experiences, from public speaking to cat-walking. Mansi, who is majoring in acting and has a minor in journalism, thinks winning the title in Indonesia will give her a big opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
Since your crowning as Miss India Indonesia, tell us a little bit about your journey toward Miss India Worldwide in Dubai
It’s been interesting because I went in the pageant not knowing anything, and I was kind of like the new kid on the block. I came out being more aware of myself and of others. It has been an amazing experience for me to have the opportunity to be trained by Star Harvest Academy, to be made over by Toni & Guy, and to be guided by Dr. Shanin Smith and Ms. Sari Latief. And everything that we got from the organization is really fulfilling as an individual, not just for me but for all 28 of us. I think I came out a different person.
What kind of training are you receiving to help you get ready for Dubai?
We’re doing personality development, which is by Ms. Sari Latief, and also public speaking by Dr. Shanin Smith.
As for cat-walking, this was done prior to this year by the Star Harvest academy. I’ve basically been working on all aspects to get me ready, and it’s been a wonderful journey so far.
What kind of activities are you expecting in Dubai?
So, it’s a six-day event, from sightseeing, tourism, to photo shoots. I think one of the major ones are the catwalk and the question-answer talent round. Other than that, we are also visiting our sponsors. I’m looking forward to it.
And have you met the other contestants that will be going to Dubai as well?
No, I’ve only seen photographs of them. It’s gonna be quite a bit of a competition out there [laughs].
What has been your most memorable moment so far after your crowning?
Probably my team and all my trainers who are always telling me that I actually have a shot.
Just to know that people think I do have a chance and seeing all these people invest in me, I feel more motivated.
What are your plans after attending Miss India Worldwide this month?
Currently, we have done two projects and our theme for this year is “Simplicity and Compassion,” in which we are trying to tell people that to be compassionate you don’t need to donate thousands of dollars or make huge projects. Something as simple as giving a street child a book could be effective. Until now, I have gone to food banks in New York, and recently visited to a small kampung in Bogor. We spent a day with the children, we sang and danced with them, and basically gave them a day to remember.
Who has been your role model to guide you toward Miss India Worldwide?
My father. As cliche as it sounds, he’s been constantly supporting me, and telling me to not settle.
What differentiates you from the other contestants worldwide?
Where I come from! Indonesia! I think it’s one of the most unique places in the world. Not only do we have the largest Muslim population, we have a tremendous amount of languages, and most of all I think if you go back historically, we’re the one country that’s the most influenced by India.
We have so many parallels with India that it’s almost like the two culture compliments each other. Out of all 40 countries attending the pageant, no other country would have what Indonesia has.
You have gone through lots of changes within these couple of months, what do you think has changed the most?
I think it’s my ability to accept myself and those around me, and not get intimidated. When I went in the pageant for Miss India Indonesia there were other contestants that are better than me in dancing, performing and other talents. Now that I’m going to Miss India Worldwide with 40 winners, I am more ready to face more pressures, and believe that while those people have their strengths, I still have my own.