Please tell us more about yourself.
Born in a defense family, my dad is a retired Brigadier. He is also a Soft Skills Trainer post retirement. My mother is a diction expert. I have no siblings. I have been educated in various public and convent schools all over the country, owing to the transferable nature of my father’s job.
I went on to do my graduation in Psychology and English from the Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi. I have also done M.A. (English), B.Ed , M.Ed, Diploma in Personal Management from Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies (SIMS), Pune and a Diploma in Advertising and Public Relations from the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune.
My work experience includes teaching assignments at St Joseph’s Convent, Bathinda and The Boys High School (Holy Trinity Annex), Allahabad for a period of six years. I have also worked as Centre Manager – Academy of Charismatic Excellence and Partner – Stance Events and Coordination, Soft Skills Trainer at Apex Institute, Frankfinn Institute of Airhostess Training, Griffin Institute, IIAS and Siliguri Institute of Technology among others. I always loved kids which is why teaching was a natural career choice for me. Pageant Training and soft skills training happened quite by chance, when I was trained by the Apex Institute in collaboration with Tack Training (UK). While school teaching was infinitely rewarding the training world was so fascinating, that I found myself getting more and more involved with it.
The Tiara is the leading pageant coaching institute of the country. It was established in 1997. What lead you to start it?
My tryst with pageant coaching started in 1997 when Sandip Soparrkar asked me to train him for Grasim Mr India. Before that from 1989-95, I was a school teacher who taught II and III grade and was very happy being with the kids. Not really knowing how to go about it and what to expect, I took on the task. Sandip was a good pupil, patient and we both grew and evolved as time went by. He did not win Grasim, but a couple of months later went on to win Young Turk. That first milestone marks the beginning of my journey into the intriguing world of pageant coaching.
Then came along in Gauhar Khan in 2002 and Amrita Thapar in 2005. Till 2005 the training was sporadic , but from 2006 I have been training every year. From one student to four and now to so many, pageantry has been a wonderful journey for me marked with memorable events like Pooja Chopra’s Beauty with a Purpose win in 2009 where the entire class worked hard and did street plays and awareness drives along with Pooja. It was shown in the Miss World Beauty with a purpose AV as well. Another milestone was giving my analysis on Miss Universe 2009 on Pageant Talk Radio, America’s top Pageant Radio program produced by Expert Pageant Interview Coach Valerie Hayes from Texas.
Parents of some girls, especially from smaller cities, may be hesitant in sending their daughters to pageants and thereby to your training studies. If you choose to, how would you coax them?
The girls who come to me for training and are interested in pageants are so driven that they don’t need much coaxing. Parents are comforted by the fact that I work from my home and they feel at ease that their daughters are in safe hands.
Among the girls who were your students in past years, who are your favorites and why?
Every girl who has come to me has touched my heart and it would not be fair to pick favorites but there are pageant winners who have always been grounded like Neha Hinge, Zoya Afroz, Sagarika Chhetri, Apurva Lonkar, Khushboo Vaidya, Archita Sahu, Sanjana D’Souza, Arshina Trivedi, Urvashi Rautela and Ankita Mohapatra. These girls have never changed despite the tremendous success they have achieved.
Among your current students or your students currently participating in Femina Miss India 2014, who are your favourites and why?
Currently I have 5 girls participating namely Sonal Rihani, Malati Chahar, Deepti Sati, Sanjana Ganesan and Aditi Vats and I am rooting for each of them.
What are your views on Miss Universe and Miss World pageants? Which one among the two is your favorite?
While I really admire the good work done by the Miss World organisation and it’s Beauty with a Purpose philosophy, I love the Miss Universe pageant and the glamour and glitz attached to it.
Among all Indian women in glamour field by far, that includes Bollywood actresses and all the beauty queens, who are your favorites and why?
Lara Dutta is my all time favorite. She is beautiful, intelligent and extremely articulate. Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Yukta Mookhey and Dia Mirza are all trail blazers and Indian pageants are what they are because of these magnificent women.
To win a major pageant, what is more important – physical beauty or personality?
You can’t have one without the other. Physical beauty without personality is meaningless. It’s the symbiosis of these two ingredients that makes a world class beauty queen.
Why do you think a pageant aspirant seeks help from The Tiara?
When a pageant aspirant feels that though she has all the qualities to become a beauty queen but just needs a guide, a mentor to make her journey easier she seeks help from The Tiara.
Please leave a message for TGPC.
I have been following The Great Pageant Community….you guys are doing a fabulous job. Its heart warming to see people being interested in beauty pageants. Your support and encouragement makes this pageant world even more exciting and wonderful.
Please leave a message for Current Miss India Aspirants.
A winner is a winner before she wins the crown. There is only one mantra for success, “The harder you work the luckier you get”. You are lucky to have a dream of participating in pageants….now go there and realize it. It’s all about growth through glitter.
We express our heartfelt gratitude to Ms. Ritika Ramtri for interview. We are glad this happened!
Photo-credits: the Tiara Blog, pantaloonsfeminamissindia WordPress blog, Glamsham.com, Livewireworld.info, verastic.com