‘Small town now not a hurdle for beauty pageants’

Padmalaya Nanda, the 12-year-old girl from Cuttack has now brought laurels to the state by bagging the Little Miss Universe Internet title, one among the only two gold crowns (top two titles) for the global contests at Georgia in Europe recently. Back home from the contest, Padmalaya speaks in an interview from New Delhi. Excerpts from the interview:  

1: How the idea of participating in the global contest came in your mind?

Padmalaya: I was always fond of beauty pageant shows and used to follow it religiously. The whole journey of me participating in the event started when I was gifted a smartphone and I surfed the internet to find more about such shows. After getting a clue about the event, I without apprising my parents much I applied for the same and was selected ultimately from India to represent the country.


  1. Do you think it is tougher for small town girls to get required info and training for such events?

Padmalaya: To some extent awareness issues do count but with the advent of internet and other technologies access to information has transformed the world. If you are passionate enough something, these things matter less.  


3: How foreign land perceive India and Indian participants in such global shows?

Padmalaya: For many living in different parts of the world with whom I met, they had not very good perception about India. For them it was a developing country while they belong to developed ones. They underestimate Indians on many fronts. However many people after meeting me got their perception changed about Indians. I found myself lucky that I could change negative perceptions of many about India.


4: What do you think the organizers test to declare winners in such shows?

Padmalaya: Prominently they check for self confidence besides levels of awareness, performance in different activities which are tested through varied rounds. In short, they seek all rounders in their winners.


5: Any challenges during the final rounds in Europe?

Padmalaya: During one stage my topic for performance was changed at last moment, making us nervous. However undeterred I went ahead and performed on a Sambalpuri song named ‘Amme Sambalpuri Fullari’ which was liked by many. I also used Cuttack filigree works and Pipli appliqué works for some of my performances in some forms which were really impressed them.


6: Did you get support from the government for your participation?

Padmalaya: We got some support from some of the government outfits and PSUs. However for such contests we need more support from the government as we don’t only represent ourselves but also the country. Moreover such events are really costly and a lot of funds are needed for stand globally where other country spends much on dresses and troupes to have a global appreciation.


7: Any plans for the upcoming Little Miss World Contest in Greece?

Padmalaya: I have already been shortlisted for the same from India. Further details about the other participating countries are awaited. Now I have eyed to win the global title and win laurels for the country. 

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