Gangtok: As Northeast India gears up to host the first-ever Miss India beauty pageant in Imphal, Manipur, Zaanvii Sharma is all set to represent Sikkim.

The 20-year-old national swimmer hailing from Gangtok is pursuing theatre studies and psychology at Christ University, Bengaluru.

“Beauty pageants have always been a part of my career choice,” said Zaanvii Sharma in an exclusive interview with EastMojo. “Not only do pageants infuse immense confidence in women, but they also serve as a fine example of women empowering women.”

“I think beauty pageants are not only about walking the ramp and being pretty but there’s so much more than that,” she added. “It helps one boost their confidence and also enhance other skills like communication, leadership, interviews, posing and it also makes one recognize the qualities you didn’t even know you had. These attributes not just help you in the pageant world but also in any career option that you would choose in your life. I like to keep my options open.”

When asked what attracted her to opt for Miss Sikkim in the first place and thereafter Miss India, Zaanvii Sharma said, “My mother Anu Pradhan was the first Miss Sikkim, so I grew up in that environment. She was my first inspiration, and since then it has never changed.”

Zaanvii didn’t apply for Miss Sikkim but participated in Miss Teen India Sikkim, in which she was titled as the 1st runner-up, and even bagged the title of Miss Body Beautiful.

“I wanted to first try it out at the state-level before going for the national level. In fact, it was even my mother’s dream to participate in Miss India, but she got married. Then she conceived me, and she couldn’t do it. So, it isn’t only a title for me, but it is my dream and also my mother’s dream.”

Zaanvii said, “Representing my state on such a big platform is a great honour for me. I always felt that Sikkim is a very special place with extremely talented people whose voices aren’t heard, as most of us don’t have the correct exposure and the platform to showcase it.”

“I want people to recognize my state, its potential, and its beauty,” she added. “So, representing my state for me is like opening doors for aspiring youths like me.”

On how her journey of getting selected for Miss India began, she said, “Even though I always wanted to apply for Miss India, this time I wasn’t prepared at all. I had no plans of applying for it. I believe the opportunity came my way, and I went with the flow and gave it my best shot. I also believe that there are no accidents and coincidences; in fact, it was just meant to be.”

Zaanvii Sharma, Miss India Sikkim

“David Rai, the CEO of Sikkim Glamour World, suggested that I go for it. He supported me along the way, and of course, there was a huge amount of support from my family too,” she added.

Sharma shared her perspective on fashion and beauty. She said, “Fashion for me is just a way of expressing oneself. It determines a lot of things in a person’s day-to-day life, the way you see and feel about yourself. It also determines how other people perceive you. There are a lot of fashion trends, but the way every individual carries it out is in different way, which is amazing. We could wear the same outfits, but just present it differently by doing our own thing.”

Zaanvii Sharma, Miss India Sikkim

“But beauty for me is something that comes from within,” she continued. “It is a mix of a beautiful heart and a beautiful soul. Beauty for me is not about how you look but about how you treat others and yourself.”

Sharma mentioned that she has not walked for any prominent designers or fashion week except for Sahil Kochhar during the awards night in Miss India. However, she shared that there are many designers she would like to work with, such as Lakmé Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, and others.

Sharma described her experience competing with fellow state representatives at Miss India as wonderful. She appreciates the diversity and the opportunity to meet people from different cultures and communities. While there is certainly competition, she also values the friendships and sisterhood formed during the competition. She added that each representative from each state has something unique to showcase, making the competition even more exciting.

Zaanvii Sharma, Miss India Sikkim

Sharma talked about the significant difference she noticed between the pageantry in Sikkim and at the national level in India. She highlighted that at the national level, they work with big designers, and the groomers are professional and experienced. She also mentions that the competition is tough as girls from across the country are handpicked. Despite the tough competition, she adds that both state and national platforms taught her a lot, and she met a lot of amazing people, making her experience a wonderful one.

When asked about Manipur being the first Northeastern state to host Miss India and how they are organizing the gala event, Sharma responded, “As the grand finale is taking place in Manipur this time, it is very exciting, especially for us Northeastern contestants, as it is the first time. There are a lot of preparations happening, and we’re all working really hard to bring the crown home.”

Zaanvii Sharma, Miss India Sikkim

When asked about whether she planned to pursue other career choices after the pageant, Sharma said, “As I’m still in my second year of college, my first priority after this pageantry would be to complete my studies. Then, I would like to work in the fashion industry and hopefully pursue something more in psychology.”

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When asked if she wishes to stay in the fashion industry or opt for movies and television and to give a well-thought differentiation between them, she said, “I am wishing to stay in the fashion industry, but if movies and TV shows come my way, I wouldn’t mind doing that too. As I’m a theatre student, I would love to explore and experience more in this industry.

“My friends and family have been extremely supportive and motivating during this journey since the very beginning. They are my biggest strength and keep me going. I want to give it my best shot and make them proud,” Sharma said.

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