Georgia’s Beauty Queens Walk The Talk
"A winner is someone who is an all-rounder, a good role-model, and one who is very involved within the community." These words, and, of course, her winning looks powered Vandana Aggarwal to the second spot of Miss India Georgia 2005. However, it was Nikhat Nazrali, whose compelling beauty and overall performance, won her the crown. These two Indian beauties from Georgia then went on to participate in the Miss India USA 2005 contest held on August 20 at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida.
Nazrali and Aggarwal - who had also won the Miss Teen Georgia 2003 crown -were among the 19 young women who participated in the 2005 Miss India Georgia and Miss Teen India Georgia pageants held on July 24 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center, and organized by the India American Cultural Association (IACA) of Atlanta. Prachi Bharadwaj won the Miss Teen India Georgia 2005 title, while Bianca Ramachandani and Ezrah Gilani took the first runner-up and second runner-up titles, respectively.
While all the talk was important for the participants, the walk also mattered. And they were ably assisted in this task by Sonny Molu and Maha Sheikh, who tried to ensure the contenders were elegance and grace personified. But not all the young women managed to live up to Molu and Sheikh's expectations. The "Western Walk" segment was the first round on which the participants were tested for overall stage presence. Some participants lost points as they did not walk the entire length of the stage while others didn't fare well due to lack of confidence. Viniya Patidar and Vandana Aggarwal stood out in this segment. In the teen category, Prachi Bharadwaj was the obvious winner.
While the ladies were getting ready to further unleash their talents, the Silent Killers entertained the audience. The next round gave the contenders three minutes to make an impact with their talent. All of them looked to Bollywood for help, opting for dance routines based on film songs. The evening's eventual winner, Nikhat Nazarali, gave a winning performance, transitioning through many art forms in the process.
Saumya Dave, another crowd favorite, sang "Maar Dala" and danced to "Kaahey Ched Mohey," from Devdas. Viniya Patidar dedicated a musical piece for the contestants called "Reflections." Vandana Aggarwal performed a fusion item incorporating kathak and hip-hop steps. Other performances included medleys of popular Hindi film songs, shloka recitals, and a Bharat Natyam dance recital. Participants also had to model their "eastern outfits."
While the physical attributes of participants figures high on any pageant's program, IACA's annual contest did not have a swimsuit round, and contestants were required to model in two different "walks" ? western and eastern ? with a question and answer session for the finalists. The questions ranged from marriage to current affairs, and oft-heard ones such as "the person who influenced you the most."
Both pageants had all the ingredients ? a cache of couture, the dazzle of lights and pulsating rhythm. The opening item, choreographed by Prem Rahman, was a dance performance featuring the participants who were in step with the song, "Sun Suniyo."
Parijat Chandra and Maria Sheikh, the hosts for the evening, introduced each of the participants. Lakshmi Rao was largely responsible for the overall organization of the event.
Eventually, Viniya Patidar, Vandana Aggarwal, Shloka Bhatija, Nikhat Nazrali and Sonia Bhanot made it as finalists. There were surprises in store for the audience as Aggarwal, one of the favorites leading into the competition, took the second runner-up title, while Bhatija was announced as the first runner-up.
The winners in other categories were Ezrah Gilani (Miss Photogenic), Nikhat Nazrali (Miss Talent), Bianca Ramchandani (Miss Beautiful Smile), Saumya Dave (Miss Congeniality) and Neisha Amin (Miss Personality).
The outgoing title-holders Rima Patel, Miss Teen India-Georgia 2004, and Sonia Seernani, Miss India Georgia 2004, took their final walk on stage before the winners were announced. As Viniya Patidar, a finalist, said, the event was "more than a beauty pageant, for me it was just a great opportunity to meet some of the most beautiful, sweet and friendly girls in Atlanta." She may well have echoed the feelings of many in the audience.
By Archith Seshadri
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