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3-min read

Bollywood Needs Beauty Queens More Than They Need Bollywood: Miss World Manushi Chhillar

Manushi Chhillar hails from Bamnoli village in Haryana's Jhajjar district and is pursuing MBBS at BPS Medical College for Women, Khanpur Kalan in Sonepat.

Shilpa Rathnam | News18.com

Updated:November 28, 2017, 3:09 PM IST

Manushi Chhillar is a winner all the way, and that's even before she won the Miss World crown. She's a CBSE topper, a medical student in a country where the seat is highly coveted.

Manushi hails from Bamnoli village in Haryana's Jhajjar district and is pursuing MBBS at BPS Medical College for Women, Khanpur Kalan in Sonepat. After a grand homecoming, Manushi met with the media on Monday afternoon. She was dressed in what was described as a Razia Sultan outfit by some but of course the most beautiful woman in the world can shine in absolutely anything.

At the press conference, her answers were predictably diplomatic. When the inevitable question of the Padmavati controversy cropped up Manushi answered it with the delicate discretion of pageant winners.

Referring to the death threats issued to Deepika Padukone, Manushi said "All Indian women have one thing in common... we don't feel persecuted for who we are and actually face our challenges head-on. And I think that's what we need to do, we need to be confident about who we are."

I met Manushi for an interview after her press conference. What was noticeable was she had no hair and makeup crew, unlike the heavy entourage our Bollywood celebs have. She wasn't even carrying a mirror, she did a quick face check on my phone and we were good to go.

The interview started off with if she would complete her studies, she'd already taken a year's break to compete at the Miss World pageant and now she has another year of Miss World duties that require her to travel across the world, and she said of course she will. That probably comes as a relief to many who were wondering if yet another beauty queen will abandon her studies for greener Bollywood pastures.

The main grouse many have with beauty pageants is the lack of diversity. When asked Manushi about the how you need to be taller than a certain height, thinner than a certain weight to qualify. Granted she doesn't have authority over the pageant rules but her opinion on the need for diversity is significant and can perhaps bring about a change. But she unfortunately deflected it saying pageants "are a great example of how beauty is not a set pattern but a combination of many things".

There was also a controversy brewing about her answer being "copied' from Miss Sri Lanka. In the final round Manushi was asked which profession according to her deserved the highest salary and she replied saying every mother deserves it.

In one of the initial rounds of the pageant, Miss Sri Lanka Dusheni Silva was asked the same question to which she'd answered mother as well. Manushi in her defence said she wasn't present during that particular round and she didn't know about the similarities in their answers until much later.

What about the viral video of a medical student named Manushi making the rounds? That's her. Manushi says as a medical student she had to burn midnight oil and that she had dark circles and braces two years ago. She admitted a lot of grooming went into making her look like what she does today. "I do not go to college like this, I look like that (the girl in the video)" she laughs.

When asked if she knew what the closing question would be. She of the beauteous smile said "Bollywood?" and I said that's right and called her a beauty with brains and immediately apologized for my cliché. She said it was only the sixth time she'd been called that today but that's apparently on a good day! As for Bollywood she says while everyone thinks Miss Worlds want to get into Bollywood, it's actually Bollywood that wants someone like a Miss World. Touché!

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| Edited by: Mugdha Kapoor Safaya
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