Manushi Chhillar – Beyond the Stereotypes

It is one of those rare moments when one starts to type ‘Manu’ on Google search bar and Google suggests Manushi Chhillar rather than Machester United – arguably the most famous football club. Ever since Manushi Chhillar, the 20 years old hailing from Rohtak, Haryana has been crowned with the coveted Miss World 2017 title; she has taken the Internet and the globe by storm. She has won the title 17 years after Priyanka Chopra, who brought the beauty pageant title back home in 2000, making Manushi the sixth Indian to win this prestigious beauty pageant.

The journey of Manushi Chhillar has been of lot of peaks. She had taken part in Femina Miss India 2017 competition representing the state of Haryana. She was crowned Miss Photogenic and later won the competition too, subsequently becoming eligible to represent India in the Miss World 2017 competition. Talking about her prowess beyond being the winner of the beauty pageant, these are the things you need to know about her –

  • Her father, Dr. Mitra Basu Chhillar, is a scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organisation

  • Her mother, Dr. Neelam Chhillar, is an associate professor and department head of neurochemistry at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences

  • Being from a family of doctors, she has been studying medicine and aspires to be a cardiac surgeon.

  • She plans to open non-profit hospitals in rural areas and is a strong advocate of menstrual hygiene.

  • She is a trained classical singer.

  • She has a penchant for outdoor sports and is passionate for adventure sports like Scuba Diving, Snorkelling and bungee jumping.

  • She is a trained Kuchipudi dancer, and trained under legendary dancers like Raja and Radha Reddy and Kaushalya Reddy.

  • Apart from dancing and singing, she has also attended National School of Drama.

A beauty queen’s journey to the Miss World crown is something that goes beyond looking good and being able to answer the questions. The journey is incredibly hectic. Apart from attending rehearsals and walking the ramp, it takes dealing with media and embracing the culture of the host country, which was China this year. In preparation of the Miss World contest, contestants also need to focus on charitable events. Manushi Chhillar spent a lot of time in rallying for causes involving children and also attended events like the Charity Auction at Miss World 2017. Amid this grueling journey, Manushi also managed to take out ample time for fitness.

She paved her way to the semi-finals by winning the Beauty with a Purpose Contest (formerly, Miss World Scholarship), which is awarded to the contestant with the most relevant and important charity project in her nation. Her visionary goals to open charitable hospitals in rural areas and promote menstrual hygiene lead her to the semi-finals. It is important to note that Ms. Chillar is the only contestant in the history of the pageant to win the Beauty with a Purpose contest and go on to wear the Miss World crown. We believe this represents a shift in general perception of beauty with emphasis being given to being beautiful inside and outside.

It is quite ironic that the beauty of women is often identified with her looks or color of the skin of the shape of her body. And only these aspects are celebrated whenever a bright girl like Manushi wins a beauty pageant for India. Apart from her ethereal beauty; we to consider aspects like her intelligence, interests, her forte in different art forms and altruist aspirations to appreciate her as a whole. This would give due respect to her efforts in achieving this huge feat.

Looking at the stories of the journey and career of beauty pageant winners from India, like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta to name a few; inevitably it comes to mind that sooner if not later Manushi Chhillar might also be seen as an actor in Bollywood. But Ms. Chhillar, who identifies herself as a dreamer and achiever on Twitter, is beyond the confined boundaries of stereotypes. She has a very diverse range of skillsets under her belt to pursue a life beyond any stereotypes and take the road less travelled. She may go out to prove all the pundits wrong who say that Bollywood is the last (and only) destination for beauty pageant winners.

Owing to her gamut of talents and myriad ambitions, it is heartwarming to think that the world is vast for her, and she is not going to stop dreaming; and evidently so, she was quoted saying, “When you cease to dream, you cease to live.”