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3 Nov 2010
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Vanya Mishra is barely back from the 62nd Miss World pageant that was held in Ordos, China, recently and she has been flooded with interviews. Though she did not walk away with the coveted Miss World 2012 title, she continues to win the hearts of millions. Vanya made it to the top 7 and this girl from Chandigarh proudly walked away with the Beauty with a Purpose and the Multimedia Award at the pageant. In conversation with Vanya, who opens up about her month long journey in China, her experiences and life ahead. Excerpts from the interview.

How does it feel to be back home?
I'm happy to be back home now that the competition is over because it was very hectic. I was away for a month and it was a new country and a completely different language. So feels great to be home. I intend to go to Chandigarh in a couple of days and meet my family.

You have become a celebrity in India including your hometown. How are you dealing with the fame, popularity and adulation?
I was surprised by everyone's positive reactions. Even when I was performing on stage, people had faith in me and hoped that I would win. Everyone has been happy about the outcome. I'm not very satisfied because I wanted to win. Feel bad at the same time but you have to move on.

What was the feeling as you stood on the Miss World stage in China and swept away the Beauty with a Purpose and the Multimedia award?
It was totally unexpected and I didn't think I would win because there were more than 100 people competing. Everybody wants to win and be on the no.1 spot. I was very scared backstage when I learnt I was leading the scoreboard. I didn't know what would happen next. It was a surprise. But feels good to win the titles.

How did your family react to your winning the two titles?
My parents and sister were very happy. They were proud to see me on stage and they said we know who and what you are and that's what matters.

Will you continue to be the Goodwill Ambassador for Muktangan?
Absolutely! My association with Muktangan has been great and the whole concept was beautiful and people kept telling me they loved it.

How was your month long journey in China?
It was good. Sometimes it was difficult but people are very sweet and helpful and that's their culture. Even at the airport, everyone was so nice. Initially I was very ambitious but this whole journey has made me stronger. It teaches you so much. I was going to a new place and meeting people from different cultures so that was an experience, especially since this was the first time I was going abroad.

What did you miss the most about India while you were away?
The food. I mean I did not really have a problem there but they eat dinner very early, from 6.30 pm onwards and here we eat 9. So I missed that.

It must be disappointing to lose the crown to someone else? Were you hoping to break India's 12 year dry spell at the Miss World pageant?
Yes. When I was in the top 7, people from behind were screaming my name. Even people standing behind us were cheering for me, including the audience. Being in the final 7, I was able to speak my mind and voice my opinions in front of the whole world and that was a great feeling. People said I stood out so it came as a bit of shock but you have to accept it and move forward. Though I think everyone was so good.

What is the most valuable thing you have taken back with you from the Miss World pageant? How have you evolved as a person?
It's not always about winning. It's about knowing who I am and if I'm a better person than I was yesterday. There is a lot of change me in from the time I started. It makes you stronger as a person and when the competition is over, it's what you learn out of it. You have to be prepared. For me the most amazing part has been the people. When you enter the competition, you have a different mindset and when you leave, your whole perspective changes!

Are you in touch with your fellow contestants from the competition?
Oh yes. We have been invited to the same Facebook page where we will all come together and connect. The contestants loved the dance I did and I also taught them a few steps. They even loved the songs although they did not understand the lyrics. So we all got along well together, especially with my roommate.

Post the pageant, are you more fashion and image conscious?
Initially, everyone was so well dressed. But when you're constantly travelling with your luggage amidst hectic schedules, you still tend to be proper but take it a bit easy. I was the most chilled out. It's not always about the high heels and looks. Nor is the competition only about a ramp show.

Rochelle Rao and Prachi Mishra will soon leave for their respective pageants. Any word of advice for them?
I have loads of advice to give them. I'm seeing how are they going about their preparations and I have already told them how things work. But expectations are there. I can only guide till one point.

Going forward, what are your plans?
I don't know. (Laughs). It's easy said, but I'm a very practical person. Yes I would like to do Bollywood and I also want to complete my education, so let's see. I have taken a year off. If there is a good project in the pipeline, I will take it up.

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