I simply grabbed the opportunity that I got.
Kathmandu, June 6, 2017: Nikita Chandak was crowned with Miss Nepal World title in the Grand Finale ceremony of the competition held on June 2, Friday. Along with winning the Miss Nepal title, she is also the category winner of Miss Confident and Miss Popular Choice in the pageant. A native of Urlabari, Morang district, Nikita is a lady with big dreams and aspirations.
A student of Bachelor in Commerce at Amity University, Noida, she had been to Nepal for TGIF Nepal Fashion Week two months ago. And, things developed so quickly that she applied for Miss Nepal competition, and finally won the pageant.
Basanta Kumar Dhakal from Glocal Khabar caught up with this wonderful personality for an exclusive interview. Below is an excerpt from the lively conversation with her where she reveals the journey of her life, her experience of getting honored with the most esteemed crown in Nepal, her ambitions, and more.
Glocal Khabar: As a child, had you ever thought that you would be participating in such a contest and win the title of Miss Nepal? What were your childhood dreams?
Nikita: Actually, I had never thought of getting into modelling or into beauty pageants as a child. I was quite a reserved person, and a school topper student. In my childhood, I always dreamed that I would be a doctor in the future.
Where did you complete your education from? And, how did this modelling career begin?
My pre-primary education was in Urlabari, Morang itself. Then, I went to West Bengal Boarding School for class 2 & 3, to return back to Urlabari again. I completed 9 – 12, from Rajasthan. Then, I joined Bachelor degree in Commerce at Amity University in Noida, which is still running.
And, my stint into modelling happened while doing university degree itself.
By the way, how did the Miss Nepal thing happen?
Frankly speaking, I had come here two months ago for TGIF Nepal Fashion Week, after my board exams were over. While walking on the ramp, people appreciated me, including the then Miss Nepal Asmi Shrestha and Subarna Chhetri sir, Director of The Hidden Treasure. They thought I was an Indian Model, and spoke to me in that manner. That time, I said that I am originally from Morang, Nepal. Then, I was handed over the visiting card of The Hidden Treasure Miss Nepal, and shown a path to the pageant.
Only then did I come up with a thought of applying for it and spoke to my family. Thus began the journey into Miss Nepal pageant.
It was an opportunity that I got, and I grabbed that.
Can you share some of your wonderful experiences from the journey into Miss Nepal?
Talking about the Miss Nepal journey, it might look very easy from outside, but we had to work so hard. We used to be in the training for almost 12 hours every day, from 6 AM – 6 PM. It was really not an easy job at all.
As I have seen in other contestants also, it happens like when we enter the room for the first day, we all have that confidence, ‘Okay, I’m gonna make it to the crown.’ But, after seeing each other and having gone through various training, we realize that there are so many weaknesses in us and need to improve that. The journey into Miss Nepal has been a great learning experience. It has helped in the personality development of every contestant, build confidence level, and have a positive attitude.
How did it felt the time you were getting crowned? Can you recall those moments?
When I recall June 2, the Grand Finale day of Miss Nepal 2017, I didn’t have any emotion ever since I woke up. I was not nervous. Nor was I scared or excited. I was simply blank. All I knew was that there were so many people appreciating me, and texting me, ‘You deserve it. And, you need to win. You will win.’ That was giving me an encouragement that I need to present the best version of myself in the finale. I was not thinking about the result at all, but just my performance.
And, during the crowning moment, as soon as Miss Nepal Earth (first runner-up) was announced, almost all people in the venue were hooting ‘NIKITA! NIKITA! NIKITA!’ That moment too, what I was feeling was, ‘If the hosts were not to pronounce my name as the winner, it is going to be fun of myself.’ I was not even thinking that I would win the pageant.
How is this transition from the normal Nikita Chandak to Miss Nepal Nikita Chandak, and getting into a celebrity overnight? How difficult is it for you to get used to with this and making the expectation of the whole nation alive?
After getting crowned, the first thing that I have been experiencing is too much of fan-following. Wherever I go, people recognize me. That’s a really good feeling. Along with this, a big responsibility has come upon my shoulder and I am responsible for making Nepal proud at the international platform. I hope I would be successful in making the nation proud.
Apart from that, people always expect Miss Nepal to do something in the social areas.
As part of the training, we had once been on a visit to Maiti Nepal. When I was at home in the evening after visiting the place I had written in my personal diary that if I happen to be Miss Nepal 2017, I’m gonna donate 50% of the cash prize I receive as a contribution to Maiti Nepal. And, I am doing that within a few days.
We are literally grown up hearing about Miss Nepal stuffs every year since our childhood. You too might have similar experiences. Now you have achieved it. So, what did you find in this crown?
There are many girls whose childhood dream would be Miss Nepal. But, in my case, I was not a beauty pageant person, and had never participated in any such beauty contest. I had just been here for a fashion show. When Asmi Shrestha had approached me, I didn’t even know that she is Miss Nepal. I had only watched one episode of Miss Nepal training just to see how girls are here in Kathmandu so as to ensure if coming to the audition would be worth, and check if I would be an appropriate candidate for the pageant.
Of course, when you enter a contest, you are there to win that title. Talking about getting crowned, it has the limelight and the center of attraction. But, I believe, the title has come with huge responsibility. It is easy to achieve something, but very hard to maintain that. So, I hope I would be able to maintain it very well and I set a very good example of one of the best Miss Nepal the nation has ever had. 🙂
After winning the title, how empowered have you felt? What sort of platform has it provided to you? And, what new ambitions have you set for the days ahead?
It’s not only me who is feeling empowered, but we all the 19 contestants in the finale of the pageant. On June 3, when we had the final meet after the contest was over, everyone told that they are feeling empowered, confident and positive to the extent that wherever they go in the outside world now, and whatever they want to get, they can get it now. The positivity and confidence level inside us has gone up. We are feeling like we can do anything and everything we aspire to do.
We all are independent, but being economically independent is something different. So, my ambition is to be economically independent. Till now, I’m dependent on my father’s income. Now onwards, I want to change this.
What sort of sacrifices did you have to make to reach this position? The hard work that you did in the journey?
I don’t think I have sacrificed anything, not even my study. Getting into the pageant, I felt like I have utilized my vacation time here. And, having been crowned with the Miss Nepal title, I’m so glad that it became a turning point in my life.
What role did your family play, and how supportive were they to make you the winner of Miss Nepal title? The amount of motivations and encouragement they provided to you?
My family has been very supportive ever since I started my modelling career. But, there were relatives who used to criticize why into modelling and this glamour field. As I come from the Marwari background, it happens that, at the end, what the parents think for their daughter is about her marriage. So, my parents had to hear complaints like ‘who will marry her if she gets into this?’. But, my family has been very supportive. My parents simply say, ‘Whatever our children want to do, they are free to do. And, we’re not going to stop them till they are on their right path.’
And, in no time they knew about my participation in Miss Nepal, I have been getting an overwhelming support and love from the Marwari community across the country. It is really really overwhelming. We had June 3rd as Mahesh Navami festival, and I was invited there as a special guest. My community has recognized me now. I was even asked to give a small speech on the occasion. What I mainly said on the occasion was that we shouldn’t force our children to go to this career or that. “Just let them do what they want to,” I said. And, there was a huge round of applause. So, I believe, that’s going to be followed now. And, we will see Marwaris not only as medical doctors or businesspersons, but getting involved in various other sectors including the entertainment industry. 🙂
Winning the Miss Nepal pageant has almost changed the direction of your life. Earlier, you were walking in one direction. Now, it’s going to be different. So, in what profession will you be in the future?
Yes, I guess that!
I have always dreamed of getting into the acting career. Even before getting into modelling, all I had dreamt was being an actress. So, I will probably pursue my acting career.
Many people are taken by surprise about your performance at the grand finale. A lady in our Facebook page has asked, ‘What makes you so confident, bold and charming?’ What would you reply her?
Oh, she found me confident, bold and charming?! I want to thank her for this. About being confident, I guess, it is my journey into modelling that helped me a lot. In every ramp show, I was a bit nervous at the backstage. But, as soon as I was there on the ramp, getting the spotlight and seeing the people, I used to feel so confident that the moment of walking on the ramp would be very lively experience. This is what made me confident on the stage, I guess.
Talking about looking charming, she is the first one who told me I was charming. I thank her very much. 🙂
Having won this Miss Nepal World title, you would be going to the Miss World pageant which is scheduled to be held in China later this year. How confident are you for this, to make the nation proud?
I am very optimistic that I would make my country proud with my performance there. 🙂
You are already in a position who can do wonders to change the society, and the status of women. What will you be doing for the women empowerment?
I feel, why can’t we girls and women rise on our own and take the charge when we have greater female population compared to male? Empowering means they need to have that feeling of self-esteem in themselves, and a courage that they can do it on their own. So, I personally feel that we should have a greater number of females taking charge in the economic platform of Nepal, that would ultimately encourage other women to come out.
Are you also taking some initiatives for this, from your personal level?
Before the Miss Nepal Pageant, I was just a normal human being. So, I really did not have the power to do any such things. Even if I spoke, my voice wouldn’t have been heard. But, after getting crowned with the Miss Nepal title, I feel I have got that power, and people would be there to listen to me. I will surely be planning something for that.
What message do you want to share to the youths out there for whom you are a great source of inspiration?
I want to tell them that it doesn’t matter where you come from, be it a small village, or a big town. It doesn’t matter whether your dreams are small or big. You can always achieve that. You simply need to have positivity and faith in yourself. And, just go for what you love and what you have a passion for. If you follow this, you’ll surely achieve what you really aspire to.
Photos Source: M&S VMAG