Dikchya KC is the first ever Mrs. Nepal World. She is currently busy preparing for the big event, Mrs World, taking place next month in Las Vegas. She’s a dedicated social worker turned pageant queen and now utilizes this platform for the greater good of society. 

What were you working on before the title?
I was in the education sector. I had a montessori in Chandragiri, the goal of which was to give education to little girls. Chandragiri is extremely close to the capital and yet people there were still reluctant to send their daughters to school. I wanted to change that with the montessori. 
Tell us about the competition.
Like the title ‘Mrs’ implies, it’s a pageant for married women. There are three:Mrs World, Mrs International and MS International. MS international is for divorced women. We've participated in the other two before, but this is the first time Nepal is participating in Mrs World. Every year Mrs World decides on a cause as the theme of the competition, this year it is ‘Awareness for Cancer’.
What was your motivation for competing in this pageant?
Honestly, I have always wanted to become a pageant queen but because of certain circumstances I could not do so before. Mrs Nepal gave me the chance again. On a serious note, my goal is to do social work and having a title just makes it easier to achieve that. It gives you a better platform and helps with networking. 

Pageants are getting a lot of negative press. Being a participant yourself, what do you think is the positive impact of such competitions, at a personal level and at a communal or national level? 
On a national level, pageants provide a global platform; it’s an opportunity to promote Nepal. Every winner works on a different issue, I am working on mental health, and someone might work on tourism next. It provides an opportunity to take up our issues globally. 
On a personal level, it helps immensely with self growth. We learn about personality development, etiquette, mindfulness, communication training and a lot more. It helps you become a confident person and a better version of yourself.  

What are the main areas you’ve been working on as a title holder?
I have been working in the area of education, mental health among the youth and with cancer patients. In the education sector I am working through the montessori. I have a project related to mental health of the youth called Inspire Next - You share, we Care. For this campaign we are aiming to target seven provinces and encourage the government to include mental health in the curriculum for higher secondary level. For cancer patients, I work through the cancer center in Bhaktapur. 

Marriage is not the end of the road. The current generation in urban centers has imbibed the change but there’s a bigger Nepal that still believes the contrary. From your experience tell us how important it is to continue working after marriage?
We’re in an age where women should be empowered economically, socially and in terms of education. A family today is not just a man’s responsibility as women can equally take the lead and support a family. There’s much to discover, learn and grow after marriage. The society and the families are slowly adapting and accepting the fact that women are equally capable. The Mrs World competition is geared towards the same ideology, that of women continuing to grow and achieving even after marriage.  

How is your preparation for the competition going on? 
Most preparations are at a personal level. I am working on my communication skills and physique. I am having a hard time deciding on the national costume; actually I’d love some suggestions from the readers. 

Considering the lack of press because this is the first ever participation, how difficult is it to manage everything and gather support? 
Contrary to the assumption I had, it’s quite difficult. I thought everything would fall into place and I'd have people approaching me for everything. But now I am managing everything myself, from costumes, to make-up, to preparations. There’s little support from the organization level and national level. And yes, it’s probably because this is happening here for the first time and we've not had enough publicity. Things will probably change in the following years.

Who are the Nepali women you look up to? 
Luckily, my biggest inspiration was also the main judge during the competition - Mrs Anuradha Koirala. Along with me the whole nation looks up to her. She’s the perfect example of how social work can bring real change. For all her success, she’s still humble and grounded.  

Final words to young girls who look up to you! 
I’d like to reiterate that marriage is not the end. The arrangement of marriage says a lot about our talent, we’re able to manage so many things, juggle between family and our profession. Keep working hard and never stop dreaming, marriage shouldn’t even be in the conversation.