What’s Up in The Pageant Scene in Nepal This Year?

Miss Nepal is a hot topic right now but due to kinda wrong reasons. YouTuber and stand up comic did a set at Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) Carnival 2023 last week. Swearing has become quite common even in Nepali stand up scene lately, and he was doing the same, throwing the ‘mu**‘ word here and there. But the set went south when he started targeting Miss Nepal and straight up called them gold diggers.

Namrata Shrestha, the Miss Nepal 2020, was not gonna have it at all and went to TikTok to address the issue, and expressed how she felt about the set.

The internet is clearly divided in two sides here; one side says that it’s common in stand up comedy and the people who are targeted should not be offended; and the other side says it’s not cool.

Now, that’s a controversy that shouldn’t have happened. Just a few years ago, there was no stand up comedy scene in Nepal; it recently just started growing and people aren’t still used to it. We cannot compare the scene with western world’s and say Russel Peters or Dave Chappelle would never apologize for their work. Ours is still in its early stage and the comics should treat it accordingly. And if someone says they felt targeted and got offended by something you said, you should acknowledge that and if need be, apologize for it instead of mocking them more. There’s no shame in being the bigger person.

Anyway, moving on to some actual pageant related updates, Shishir Wagle and Sama Parajuli recently won the titles of Mr. and Miss National Nepal 2023, respectively.

Shishir will be representing Nepal at the seventh edition of Mister Supranational in Poland in July this year. On the other hand, the 14th edition of the Miss Supranational pageant, too will take place in Poland and Sama will be Nepal’s bet to bring home the crown for the first time.

Now, before moving ahead, let me tell you the basic stuff about pageants. Like any sport has different leagues and championships; and some are more important and bigger than the others; it’s the same with pageants. In a recent Guff Guff Pass podcast where Sisan Baniya was the guest, the host wondered why are there so many Miss Nepals these days and it’s confusing. It has actually been always like that but in 2018, when The Hidden Treasure added the title of Miss Universe Nepal in the competition for the first time, it had become a big question whether the Miss Nepal will be the one who will win the World title or the Universe title because both of them are huge titles, bigger than the other ones — Earth, International and Supranational — the franchises that too were with THT. Hence the winners were started calling Miss Nepal World, Miss Nepal Universe, Miss Nepal Earth and so on. But still, the main and the one, Miss Nepal stayed to be Miss Nepal World.

In 2020, Nagma Shrestha — who had brought the Miss Universe franchise to Nepal in 2017 and had also represented Nepal in the international competition that year — split with THT and started doing the franchise pageant of Miss Universe Nepal on her own. And from this year, Miss Supranational also part ways with THT and is now handled by the National Director of the pageant, Santosh Upadhyaya — who is also the winner of Mr. Nepal 2019.

Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth, Miss International and Miss Supranational are considered the Big 5 in the pageant scene internationally. So now the biggest player in the game, THT, has three franchises — Miss World, Miss Earth and Miss International. The competition is on already and 24 contestants are competing for the three titles. The winners will be announced during the grand finale event on May 27th later this mont.

Now, THT selects the winners of all the titles it owns in one event, which is practical. It’s not necessary to hold three different events for the three titles. Not only it will be economically a bad decision; but also, it would be hard to find so many contestants every year for each of the titles separately. So, a wise decision indeed and that also answers the question, “why so many Miss Nepals?”

The reigning queens of THT pageants are Priyanka Rani Joshi (Miss Nepal World), Sareesha Shrestha (Miss Nepal Earth), and Nancy Khadka (Miss Nepal International); and they will be passing over their crowns to their successors in the grand finale event.

I saw a lot of queries about Namrata Shrestha as well; and even though she is the Miss Nepal 2020 but she is not as popular as her predecessors and that’s because the pageant had taken place in December 2020 during the COVID times; and a pageant was the least of anyone’s concern at that time, so it almost went unnoticed.

So what about Miss Nepal Universe? As per the National Director, Nagma Shrestha; the event is likely to take place around August and September. The 72nd edition of the competition, headquartered in the USA, is scheduled to take place in El Salvador at the end of this year. The reigning Miss Universe Nepal is Sophiya Bhujel. On the other hand, the 71st edition of the Miss World pageant, headquartered in the UK, will take place in the UAE this year.

Nepal has never won any of the Big 5 titles; and the closest we have ever been to one was in 2019 when Shrinkhala Khatiwada made it to the Top 12 at Miss World, along with winning the Beauty with a Purpose sub-title. The same year, Manita Devkota made the Top 10 in the Miss Universe competition.

I think this clears any doubts or queries you might have regarding the beauty pageants (if you cared).

On cover (L to R): MWN22 Priyanka Rani Joshi, MUN22 Sophiya Bujhel (photo: @nischalphotography), MEN22 Sareesha Shrestha (photo: @aayushofficial), MIN22 Nancy Khadka (photo: @creativedstudio)


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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