The last quarter of every year is always the most exciting part for a pageant enthusiast. This year as well, almost a dozen of delegates will be representing Nepal in various male and female pageants across the world. While the most prestigious international pageants will be taking place in next couple of months, Miss Universe is the most anticipated pageant for Nepal this year as in its 66 years of history, Nepal will be a part of the pageant for the very first time this year.
Nagma Shrestha will be representing Nepal in the Miss Universe pageant this year. She was crowned the first Miss Nepal Universe during the 23rd anniversary event of Miss Nepal in Kathmandu last month.
The 25-year-old has an impressive history with beauty pageants. She had bagged the title of Miss Nepal Earth in 2012, and represented Nepal at Miss Earth in the Philippines that year. As she reached the top 8, she had become the first Nepali delegate to reach the finals of an international pageant. In 2016, she represented Nepal at Miss University in China and was able to bag the 3rd runner up position. Later that year, she also took part in Miss Eco Universe 2016 in Egypt where she won the award for the Best Tourism Video.
At 5’11, Shrestha is the tallest Nepali female delegate to represent Nepal at any international pageants. We talked to her about the Miss Universe journey so far, her role in bringing the pageant franchise to Nepal, and about her preparations, among others. Excerpts.
How do you feel about being the first ever Miss Nepal Universe?
The journey to Miss Universe has been long, I feel that if you really want something in life, you can get it, only if you work extra hard for it. So for me – it might sound too cliched – but this moment is a dream come true and I am so ready to represent our beautiful country in Miss Universe for the first time.
How are your preparing for the pageant? What’s your daily routine like?
My pageant coach Sakil Kunwar is training me for Miss Universe yet again after Miss Earth back in 2012. I also train with my personal gym trainer Amit Chandra Arya. Plus, I do Insanity workout with Dieja Shrestha at Fitstop by Happy Mamas. I have also been very busy shooting videos and photos; coordinating with the designers and many more for Miss Universe. It’s a lot of pressure, but I guess I work the best under pressure.
You had a huge role in bringing the pageant franchise to Nepal. Tell us more about it. How did you do it?
After years of sending emails and failed attempts, I landed at the Miss Universe office in New York last year. After a successful round of meetings, I came back to Nepal and proposed Hidden Treasure (the organizers of Miss Nepal who also have the franchise rights for Miss World, Miss Earth, Miss International and Miss Asia Pacific) to take the initiation. Then the official journey began and now we have the Miss Universe franchise.
The franchise fee of Miss Universe is comparatively very higher than Miss World, Miss Earth and other pageants. Was that the reason Nepal never participated in it so far?
The fees, too, had been an issue in the past but what I think is there wasn’t any serious initiation from anyone yet.
What kind of reactions have you been getting from friends, beauty queens and pageant enthusiasts after being crowned Miss Nepal Universe?
Everyone have been very supportive.
When will you be leaving for Vegas?
I will be leaving in the first week of November.
Talking about Vegas, an unfortunate incident recently took place in the region during a concert. What’s your take on it?
Gun control has always been an issue in the US. I was saddened by the incident. I think the US government must take some serious action regarding gun control and security of the general people.
What are your expectations from yourself for the pageant?
I am giving it my all for the preparations. I believe in hard work, hence I hope it gets acknowledged in Miss Universe. I want to show them that we, Nepalese, are no less than anyone.
Is there anything you would like to say to your fans and well wishers?
Thank you for your support so far. I am doing this for Nepal. Please do support Nepal.
At last, what does the motto of Miss Universe – ‘Confidently Beautiful’ – mean to you? How do you define it and what do you think makes a woman confidently beautiful?
Confidently Beautiful — happy and content from the inside which reflects on the outside. An independent woman with substance, a woman who knows what she wants in life and respects herself — I think these qualities make her confidently beautiful.
The 66th editiion of Miss Universe is scheduled to take place in November in Las Vegas. The reigning Miss Universe, Iris Mittenaere of France, will crown her successor in the finale on November 26th.