Bhubaneswar: Odisha beauties are slowly leaving a mark in beauty pageant industry with their brain, poise and panache. From Padmalaya Nanda to Sonika Roy, the girls have had made heads turn in national and international competitions. The newest entrant to this list is 17-year-old Swapna Priyadarsini from Dhenkanal.
She was the third runners-up in the recently concluded Miss Tourism and Culture Universe 2018, held at Yangon in Myanmar, where the crown was won by Russia’s Svetlana Khokhlova. Swapna also bagged the sash in the Miss Photogenic sub-contest at the same event.
In an exclusive chat with Odisha Sun Times, Swapna revealed that she was the youngest among 37 participants and was nervous about her oratory skills in the beginning. “All the contestants were taken on an extensive tour across Myanmar and we experienced the art, culture, architecture, tribes, cuisine, influence of Buddhism and its philosophy, to name a few. It was an enriching experience,” she said.
This belle from Odisha elegantly promoted the culture of Odisha and presented the Dalkhai dance dressed in the famed Sambalpuri saree in one of her presentation rounds. Food was her theme and she chose to present this Sambalpuri folk dance as it is symbolic of the harvest season back home. Her presentation got her major applause and appreciation from the audience.
She also made quite an impression in Talent, Best Body and Swimwear rounds of the contest without undergoing any formal training prior to her departure to Myanmar. Numerous photo shoots were an integral part of this beauty pageant and the participants were judged by a team of photographers on their pictures, looks and poise, and they picked Swapna for the Miss Photogenic title.
“It was a moment of pride for me when I was not called by my birth name, but constantly referred to as India or Miss India,” she said enthusiastically. With former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen as her role model, she is aiming for the Miss Universe crown and also interested in acting.
Swapna was the first runners-up in KIIT Nanhi Pari Little Miss India 2015 and crowned Miss Chhattisgarh in 2017. She had also participated in Miss Teen India 2017. Currently, she is being represented by a modelling agency in Bengaluru and mentored by Akshay Raichurkar, a renowned fashion director.
This Class XII student of Kendriya Vidyalaya (Bilaspur) now has an opportunity to be mentored by former Miss Universe Lara Dutta for the upcoming Miss Diva—Miss Universe India and Miss Teen International beauty pageants, later this year.