India at Miss Universe: How can the former powerhouse get back in game?

India hasn’t been doing well at Miss Universe since 2008. The country, which placed almost every year from 1992 to 2007, has placed just thrice in the 10 editions after 2007. In fact the country is not placing since 3 years now and the fans from the country are certainly disappointed. They tired of seeing India clapping and it is pretty understandable. However, the game is not over yet. Miss Universe Organization certainly doesn’t seem to have any vendetta against the country and it is possible that the country can be back in game in the coming years, provided they make some good changes in the way the national pageant works. India had seen a lot of failure before they started to shine in 1990. It is possible that the country can make a comeback, they certainly did that in Miss World with a win after 17 years.

Apeksha Porwal
Many pageant fans are keen on having Apeksha Porwal (Miss Diva 2017 runner-up) being sent to Miss Universe 2018 as Miss India; they want that Miss Diva 2018 goes to Miss Universe 2019 after good preparation.

Here are some suggestions for the national organization.

  1. Better training – In 90s India was one of the few countries that provided good training to the contestants. But things are different now, because many countries now send well-prepared contestants. Certainly it can be a good idea if the training for Miss India winners is ramped up in accordance with the Miss Universe pageant. It is time to go from good to outstanding.
  2. More importance to Q/A in finals: Indian queens were always known for their personality. But from mid 2000s, it seems the criteria for selecting Miss Universe India has changed a bit. It is time again to make personality the key aspect in selection of the winner. The new winner should be someone smart, confident and very well-spoken. The 2 Question-Answer rounds, which were of supreme importance in Miss India pageant finals of 90s, need to be brought back. It is time for tough questions which are not known to the contestants in advance. It is time to check the confidence and speech skills of the contestants in a live show with huge audience.
  3. Earlier selection of winner: Miss Universe India pageant needs to be held at least 6 months before Miss Universe so that the winner gets time to prepare for the pageant. In past few years, the winner is not getting more than 1-2 months and it shows in their performance.
  4. Better styling: In past 5-6 years, only Manasi Moghe received positive feedback for her overall styling in the pageant. Rest contestants from India got negative to mixed feedback. It is time to understand what Miss Universe pageant is looking for and keeping that in perspective while styling the contestants.
  5. Change in format: The national pageant needs to be kept in alignment with the international pageant. As of now, it is a reality show. The winner goes to Miss Universe without much preparation. The national pageant needs to be a live show with a huge audience, like Femina Miss India.
  6. Better selection criteria: The selection criteria of winners is not in line with Miss Universe. It seems they are picking girls who are clones of 90s winners. They need to select tall winners unless they are exceptionally stunning like Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters or exceptionally well-prepared like Pia Wurtzbach.
  7. Better preparation: The Miss India winners need to have good skin and fitness regimes. They need to know good styling and make-up skills themselves because often they are on their own in Miss Universe. All these things are possible only if the winner is chosen 5-6 months before the Miss Universe pageant.
  8. Profile development: The Miss Universe Organization is now focusing on girls with stories. If more time is given to the Miss India winners to prepare, they can focus on humanitarian aspects or perhaps in working on their profile/story.

Mostly it boils down to holding the national pageant much before Miss Universe. Recently there were rumors about Miss Universe India 2018 being handpicked from past winners and the Miss Diva 2018 pageant to send winner to Miss Universe 2019. The rumor was well-received by fans, but it seems to be just that – rumor.

We are sure that the national pageant is well-meaning and wants success for the country. Let us hope they bring India back on track in Miss Universe soon.