Kathmandu: Anuza Acharya is a model, event organizer, and entrepreneur. She is a founder of the event organizing company ‘Anuza Media’, which was founded in 2020 and has managed to organize several beauty pageants such as Miss Teen Charm and Miss Teen Princess in a short period. The company is also coming up with many other events like personality development programs and youth empowerment projects in near future.
Anuza talked with Nepal Live Today about her motivations to organize pageants, how beauty pageants have evolved, and why they are “not about being a model but being a role model”.
What is your motivation behind organizing several beauty pageants?
Since my childhood, I used to watch fashion shows, modeling contests, and beauty pageants on television. While watching other beauty queens on TV, I as a teenage girl used to be inspired by them and I wanted to take part in a beauty pageant myself. But unfortunately, I had no idea how to start, where to start, and what the criteria are, among other things. On top of that, I was shy and introverted, and speaking in front of a mass was not my cup of tea. But my passion pushed me out of my comfort zone and I took part in Miss Teen. Through a variety of training, grooming sessions there, I found myself more confident and ambitious than before. Moreover, my hard work and dedication led my dream to come true and I became the winner of that pageant. Right after winning the pageant, I started a company and since then I have been organizing several pageants for teenage girls.
My experience as a contestant in beauty pageants made me understand what several young women lack. Now as an organizer, I think I know what should be there to help teenagers to empower and inspire them. So we have been organizing pageants that focus on both inner and outer beauty. And we groom contestants to be themselves and to give their best.
Why are beauty pageants necessary in a country like Nepal?
There is still a misconception in Nepal that pageants, modeling, and fashion only promote outer beauty or physical appearance. But I beg to differ; beauty pageants are not just about being a model but being a role model and creating an impact in the society and empowering girls from various backgrounds, caste, cultures, etc. Beauty pageants help participants to groom their personality, build up their confidence and communication skills, networking, leadership skills, and others. It’s a platform to enhance their skills and explore their hidden talents.
Many people say that beauty pageants promote unrealistic beauty standards—like someone should be slim and of a particular height to be beautiful. What is your take on this? And do beauty pageants not discourage those who do not meet the criteria to participate?
I have a different opinion on this. Maybe in the past, that was the case. People used to think slim is sexy and white girls are beautiful. But now the perception has changed. You can look at the past winners of Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Grand, and other pageants. Even a black girl has won the contest. And nowadays, organizers have started to select girls regardless of their height and weight. For me, beauty pageants should not keep height and weight as criteria for entry. And at Anuza Media, we don’t keep such criteria. Black or white, short or tall, fat or skinny, rich or poor. We select participants from various backgrounds to groom and empower them. After all, a beauty pageant is not just about making models, it’s about making role models. It is about empowering women.
What are the challenges that you face while organizing pageants?
In our country, the most challenging factor I saw while organizing a beauty pageant is there is still a gap between the mindset of the society and the beauty sector. So the parents found insecurity in their children but meanwhile, some of the pageant winners who had done great in the society have helped to bridge the gap. If we promote pageants positively, it will provide a good message in society despite challenges.
You are planning to organize Miss Corporate for the first time in Nepal. Tell us more about it.
Miss Corporate Nepal is a national-level pageant for working professionals of the corporate sector. It brings together women of various backgrounds. We are creating a common platform where participants can develop their leadership qualities, and groom their personalities while showcasing their hidden talents. It provides an opportunity to realize their dreams to be in the limelight and fulfill their desire to experience the world of fashion, creativity, glamour, and style. So women aged 20-30, with any height or body type can join the platform, taking a break from their hectic corporate life to fulfill their aspiration to explore the glamorous world. We are organizing Miss Corporate Nepal to promote attractive and positive corporate role models. The audition for it will start in August.
What is your message for those aspiring to participate in beauty pageants?
I want to give a message to all the girls that if you are interested in a beauty pageant but feel insecure about your physical appearance, do not hesitate because beauty is also about your talent, confidence, leadership qualities, dedication, and willingness to create an impact in the society. Alone we can do only so little but together we can do so much as every single voice matters.