Miss Universe Nepal Now Has a New Franchisee, Headed by Nagma Shrestha

I remember how excited I was three years back when I wrote about Nepal’s debut in Miss Universe. It was mostly Nagma Shrestha who should be given the credit for bringing the franchise to Nepal; and rightfully, it was her who represented Nepal at this major pageant for the first time in 2017 in Las Vegas. Although, it was not her first time being the delegate at an international pageant– having already participated in Miss Earth in the Philippines in 2012 and Miss Eco Universe 2016 in Egypt.

The franchise was bagged by The Hidden Treasure, that already had the rights for Miss World, Miss Earth, Miss International and Miss Asia Pacific World. Nikita Chandak, Rojina Shretha, Niti Shah and Sahara Basnet had been crowned already, respectively and were to represent at the international platforms and later that year, in September, it was announced that the year will mark Nepal’s debut at Miss Universe with Nagma Shrestha as its delegate.

It was all good until the next year’s pageant season when the new Miss Nepal title holders were to be crowned. So what was happening until now was — the winner of Miss Nepal would be Miss Nepal World and the runner up would be Miss Nepal Earth, followed by Miss Nepal International and Miss Asia Pacific; but a lot of people would argue that Miss Universe is a bigger pageant than Miss World so will the winner represent Nepal at MW or MU?

When Shrinkhala Khatiwada became the Miss Nepal, she became Miss Nepal World. I think that didn’t really go well with some fans, and probably Nagma who had made a lot of effort to bring the MU franchise to Nepal. Fortunately, everything went well that year and the Miss Nepal batch turned out to be one of the most successful ones so far — with Shrinkhala making the Top 12 along with winning the prestigious Beauty with a Purpose title and Manita Devkota in the top 10 at the Miss Universe pageant. Also, Priya Sigdel secured a place in the Top 18 in Miss Earth.

The same was repeated in 2019 when Anushka Shrestha became the Miss Nepal world and Pradeepta Adhikari was crowned Miss Nepal Universe.

But it came as a shock when The Hidden Treasure announced the commencement of Miss Nepal competition in February this year and the Miss Nepal Universe title was no longer a part of it — with the girls competing for Miss Nepal World, Miss Nepal Earth, Miss Nepal International and Miss Nepal Supranational titles only. They said the Miss Universe organization pulled out the franchise from Nepal and they hoped they will have it back in future.

While it had me worried that Nepal won’t be able to send its delegate to such a coveted competition, I am now glad to find out that we still have it. It’s just that The Hidden Treasure lost the franchise.

Last week on Jun 11th, a virtual press conference was held where a new organization, Ma Nepali, was introduced. Founded by Nagma Shrestha in cooperation with CG Corp Global, the organization now has the franchise of Miss Universe in Nepal with Shrestha as the National Director.

Shrestha was joined by the Managing Director and CEO of CG Corp Global, Rahul Chaudhary; the reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Nepal Universe 2018 Manita Devkota, singer Indira Joshi, Anusha Peterson, the Creative Director at Ma Nepali and pageant coach Jonas Gaffud. The reigning Miss Universe Nepal, Pradeepta Adhikari, was not part of the event — most probably because she is still under the contract with The Hidden Treasure.

I know Ma Nepali doesn’t have twenty five years of experience like The Hidden Treasure does, but it’s still a great step and makes me positive about the future of Nepal in the international pageant scene. Here’s why.

The new young team is full of energy and new ideas, and they’ve already got a plan to organize the pageant even during these tough times. The team is working on a smartphone app that will make it possible to hold the competition virtually this year. It’s expected to be released in July.

While the Hidden Treasure has been doing a great job with choosing, training, grooming and sending five delegates to five different pageants every year; it’s not really the best way to do it. Every single pageant has a different theme, different requirements and different competition; and training all the participants in the same way might not always be the best idea.

Most importantly, every pageant has different rules for the participants — take the age restriction for instance. Miss International takes participants up to the age of 24, while it’s 26 for Miss World and 28 for Miss Universe. But when you crown five beauty queens through one competition, the requirement has to be adjusted for the national competition — like it’s 24 years for Miss Nepal. Meaning, a girl who would have made a great MU participant might not be able to even audition just because she is over 24. Not so fair, huh?

Also, if different organizations have the different franchises of the beauty pageants, it would make it easier for the girls to choose where they want to give it a shot. And the winner would be trained and prepared to compete in that particular event accordingly.

Another thing, it will also make a participant able to compete in different pageants if she wants to and if the national directors of those pageants are cool with it; like Catriona Gray of the Philippines, who was crowned the Miss Universe 2018 had also competed in the Miss World 2016 competition where she had placed in the Top 5.

That’s it. I think it’s going to be great and I am looking forward to see the team do wonders and create history for Nepal someday soon.


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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