Take a glimpse into the world of the reigning beauty queens of Nepal - three brave beauties who are upholding a two decades long legacy of Miss Nepal.

Representing your country in the international arena is no cake walk. Yet these beautiful ladies have surpassed all expectations and showcased Nepal to the rest of the world. And now, just a few months before they hand over their crown and all the responsibilities that come with it, we sit down with the 3 winners of last year’s Miss Nepal 2015 pageant and learn about their journey and their experiences.

 

Bold and Beautiful: Evana Manandhar

“Fortune favors the bold,” some say. And it certainly seems to be the case when it comes to Miss Nepal 2015 Evana Manandhar. Evana, who gives the impression of being a strong and independent person, left behind a promising career as a business analyst and an ongoing Master’s degree in the USA solely to compete in the Miss Nepal pageant. And it has certainly paid off.

Manandhar, who describes herself as a risk taker (something she gets from her father), did not always dream of becoming Miss Nepal. “The crown was not my goal. I wanted to participate and I did and won,” she says. While the rest of the contestants were focused on winning, Evana was enjoying being a part of the Miss Nepal pageant.  

But as soon as she won the crown, the responsibilities started piling up. Only a week after winning the crown, Nepal was hit by the devastating earthquake of April 25th and all three winners of Miss Nepal started helping out soon afterwards. In fact, Evana was at Kavre distributing relief materials when the second earthquake struck on 12th May. 

Besides earthquake relief, one of the biggest responsibilities Evana had to face was, of course, representing Nepal in the Miss World pageant, which she accomplished beautifully. “Miss World for me was not about winning. It was about surviving for my country. In fact, the two things I still remember are not my name but my flag and my country” 

Here again, she represented Nepal, not as ground zero in the aftermath of the earthquake, but rather as a beautiful and safe place to visit. In the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ round, which Evana describes as “the Heart of Miss World”, her project was titled “Travel for Relief”. Her project focused less on relief provision and more on promoting tourism as a way to boost the local economy and provide a long term economic solution for the Nepali people. Her project was selected among the top 5 projects to be telecasted live during the show.

Evana was also among the seven contestants selected to represent Nepal in the Dances of the World (after SIX!!! auditions. She danced to the song Dhaka Topi. “Dances of the World” is a legacy. It is not about costumes and performances; it is about representing the country’s culture. It gives you a sense of national pride”

While representing Nepal at Miss World, Evana also collected a lot of unforgettable memories. “I made a lot of friends. My best friend was Miss Cyprus. And having no sisters in my life, I found a lot of sisters through the competition and got to learn a lot through them.” 

“But the most amazing experience was when I saw a Nepali temple in Sanya at the Shanghai Expo. You feel an amazing sense of pride seeing your temple and your language written all across the structure.”

However not all of her experiences were pleasant. Since she could not take all of her luggage with her because of the weight limit and so decided to mail one of the suitcases through EMS Postal service. Unfortunately, her baggage got lost and two months later, she still has not found it. 

“It was the worst experience after and even during the Miss World pageant because every day I was trying to claim the baggage but it never arrived.” 

Evana, as a whole seemed pretty satisfied with her experience. However, she would like see some kind of support from the government in the future. “All the winners always get support from their respective governments. And I hope to see that from our government too, as I feel that was lacking. Some support, however small, would, really help us go much further in the future.”  

How are you involved in Miss Nepal 2016?

I have put my heart and soul into Miss Nepal 2016 because I want to see my successor. I have been going to the regional auditions and I am participating in the auditioning process. I will be monitoring the girls along with the Hidden Treasure family and I will be involved as much as possible. 

What are your expectations from the upcoming Miss Nepal 2016?

My successor cannot just be beautiful and smart; she should be competent enough for the Miss World pageant. Given what I have left behind to be Miss Nepal, I want someone who can keep the legacy alive. 

What qualities should a Miss Nepal have?

Some of the qualities that define Miss Nepal are discipline, grace and humility. You need to have a code of ethics in your life and you need strong morals and integrity.  And after what happened in Nepal in 2015, Miss Nepal 2016 will need a strong personality to be able to take on the questions directed at her as Nepal’s representative.

A Transformative Journey: Divyata Vaidya

Miss Nepal Earth, Dibyata Vaidhya has certainly had the time of her life this past year. Since winning the title of the 1st runner up in Nepal’s most prestigious beauty pageant, Dibyata has done and been through a lot. 

Dibyata, who describes her journey as transformative, has learned a lot from her experience and is very grateful for the opportunities that Miss Nepal has opened up for her. “It not only helps you discover your potential, but also transforms you into a very confident, independent woman, “ she says. She further adds, “As one of the title holders of the prestigious beauty pageant of the country it has opened a lot of doors for me and it has given me the opportunity to explore and use the platform. The amount of love and respect you get from your well wishers is overwhelming.“

After her success at Miss Nepal, Dibyata’s next challenge was, of course, the Miss Earth pageant, which was another overwhelming experience for her. “Being called by your country’s name makes you feel so proud that you are motivated to perform well. It was emotional and at the same time I was very proud to call my country’s name aloud on the final day  with our unique flag being displayed in the background.”

The Miss Earth pageant, which is highly focused on environmental issues, also taught her a lot about the issues the earth is facing at the moment. Elaborating on that, she adds, “I studied about Nepal’s climate, environment, flora and fauna under the guidance of IUCN which is very important for Miss Earth. I along with my team members of Beauty with a Cause worked very hard during pre and post production of the eco video.”

She even talked about our country’s environmental issues at the United Nation Organization in Austria. During a short presentation she talked about the increase of deforestation because of fuel and gas crisis due to the blockade and what impact it might leave in the future and how it would deteriorate the environment. She won the best presentation award for her talk.

Although Dibyata has done a lot to raise awareness about the environment during her current tenure, her most unforgettable memories during her Miss Nepal Earth journey was  the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that Nepal faced last year.  

One of her proudest moments was collecting huge amounts of donation along with her team members of “KG Sanitation”, which they used to procure sanitation products for earthquake victims. She and her team also raised funds and organized recreational activities for the children at Bal Mandir to take their minds off the trauma of the disaster. 

In fact, she, along with the two other winners of Miss Nepal pageant were distributing relief when the second earthquake of May 12 struck. “As soon as we were done talking to the local people there the second earthquake hit Nepal. It was very difficult to calm down people as many of their houses were turned into rubble. Instead of panicking we remained calm and helped other people to calm down as well.” Said Dibyata, elaborating on her experience. 

The biggest lesson she has learned through her experience has definitely been that we all have a responsibility towards our nation and our society and no matter how big or small, our actions do have an impact.  

Dibyata plans to continue her work even after she passes off the legacy to her successor.

What are your expectations from the upcoming Miss Nepal 2016 contestants?

Year by year we see more talented and passionate girls participating in Miss Nepal. This year too I have big expectations from the contestants and I believe that this year’s competition is going to be tough.

Do you have any advice for the contestants?

One thing I would like to tell all the contestants is to enjoy the process of learning and just be genuine and humble. Miss Nepal is a platform where girls turn into butterflies after vigorous training and hard work.

Will you be involved in Miss Nepal 2016?

I would definitely love to interact with the Miss Nepal 2016 contestants and help them in any way possible. Also, at the same time I would love to relive those beautiful moments of my training days of Miss Nepal once again with them. 

An Unexpected Win: Medha Koirala

The first impression one gets when one meets Miss Nepal International 2015 Medha Koirala is of innate friendliness and an irrepressible charm (though she assures me she is not very socially active).  This rather friendly young woman’s journey to Miss Nepal was quite unusual. 

Medha, who admits she usually doesn’t watch the Miss Nepal pageant, took part in the pageant solely because of her friends’ insistence. “It happened all of a sudden. There was just a few days left till the deadline for the application and we had the Miss Nepal Campaign campaigning at our college. I wasn’t really interested but my friends insisted that I must enter and that I would win. Later, I talked to my mom and she also insisted that I should apply. So I applied, got selected and won.”

So how does Medha feel about her rather unexpected win? “The whole competition went rather smoothly and I feel like I won quite effortlessly.” The hardest thing for her was her make up as she has strong features and it took some effort to get things right. Unless applied right, she admits she “either looks mean, or as if I have no makeup on”  

Although Miss Nepal is a beauty pageant, she believes Miss Nepal is neither about beauty nor brains. “You might be very talented and you might be very beautiful, but that does not guarantee you will win the crown. You are under a lot of pressure and only someone who can cope with the stress can win. You really need a lot of emotional stability to win the crown.” 

After winning the Miss Nepal International crown, her next challenge was Miss International. Talking about the international pageant, she says that Miss international was a much bigger experience for her. “Miss Nepal was an ideology for me. I had the concept that if I were confident and well put together I would win. So, I put a lot of effort into how I presented myself. But Miss International taught me to be happy with what I am” 

“My best friend, Miss Kenya had no hair and rarely wore make up or heels. Yet she was the 2nd runner up. So, I learned that it was not about how to present yourself, it was about who you are as a person and about being yourself. If you are satisfied with yourself, you are more likely to win.”

Throughout her one year of experience as Miss Nepal international, Medha has done a lot in terms of earthquake relief (alongside Miss Nepal World Evana Manadhar and Miss Nepal Earth Dibyata Vaidhya). This self-described music lover also made arrangements for thirteen kids from a children’s home to learn music through Nepal Music Center. 

However, the proudest moment for her came at her farewell dinner when the Hidden Treasures Chairperson,  Gopal S. Kakshyapati praised her for her performance during the talent round (where she sang). He told her she was one of the best he had seen in Miss Nepal’s 20 year history and it was a very, very proud moment for her. 

What particular quality should every Miss Nepal have?

They have to be very emotionally stable. You are put through a lot of stress during the competition. And the girls who win are the ones who are emotionally stable enough to cope with the pressure.

What are your plans after you hand over your crown?

After I hand over my crown, the first thing I’ll do is take a long rest because I really need it. I will also be involved in helping and guiding the next Miss Nepal International in fulfilling her duties and preparing for Miss International.

Rachana Gurung

Ms Rachana Gurung has been the official choreographer and trainer for the Miss Nepal pageant since its inception in 1994.  

 

Miss Nepal has been taking place for the last 20 years. Can we expect anything different at Miss Nepal 2016?

 In the last 20 editions of Miss Nepal (Miss Nepal 2016 is to be the 21st edition), though the format has been much the same, we have always tried to incorporate something different in terms of entertainment, choreography, music etc. However, this year, we are changing the format of the show. We will no longer have a written question and answer round and instead the audience can expect a “big surprise package”. We are also targeting international performers in this year’s pageant. 

 

What qualities should Miss Nepal have?

Miss Nepal has to have the ability to represent the country. Every Miss Nepal has a duty to perform. We want someone who is real, knowledgeable and, most of all, someone who can perform her duty and represent Nepal in the international arena.

 

Do you have any expectations from the upcoming Miss Nepal?

Yes I do. I want all the contestants to be the best of the best. I am a trainer and I will train them. And what I expect is dedication and discipline from them.

Nagma Shrestha

Former Miss Nepal Earth 2012, Nagma Shrestha was recently crowned the 3rd runner up at the World Miss University 2016 Pageant. 

Can you tell us a little about the World Miss University Pageant?

This was the 27th edition of the World Miss University Pageant. The basic objective of the pageant was to deliver a message of peace and love. All the contestants are well educated women coming together. The intellectual aspect is very much highlighted and we were involved in a lot of debates, conferences and seminars throughout the competition.

How did you get involved in this pageant?

I initially didn’t know much about the pageant but there apparently had been a few participants representing Nepal in the past. I met one of the organizers who really encouraged me to apply. I did and got selected. 

What did you find most interesting about this competition?

I really loved how little competition and fighting there was between the contestants. You hear a lot about bitching and fighting in other beauty pageants, but there was none of that. We really enjoyed the feeling of being a part of a group. Despite the language barriers, I made a lot of good friends in the process. There was a lot of cultural exchange and I became particularly close to the Latinos in the competition. 

As a former Miss Nepal Earth, what qualities do you think Miss Nepal should have? 

Miss Nepal is the most prestigious of all beauty pageants in Nepal. Miss Nepal should have the capacity to live up to the expectations of the crown. They should have a desire to do something for the country. Yes, one must be disciplined, and elegant and humble. But whatever they do, they must have a deep abiding love for Nepal. 

What are your expectations from the upcoming Miss Nepal pageant?

In the last few years, things have been going really well and the winners have done a great job so far. So, my expectations are certainly high. Their first challenge after winning the crown will be to represent Nepal internationally and they should have the ability to do so.