Beauty and the Brains – Miss World 2000

The current Miss World is an Indian: Indian women have finally arrived on the international beauty scene, winning the title thrice and making it to the finals almost every year. As days go by, the emphasis has shifted from mere beauty and a good figure to personality, to beauty with brains. The new perception is that you can’t have a dumb belle as Miss World. This is a big plus for Indian women; whose brains are as those elsewhere on earth.[ad name=”HTML-1″]

Demonstrations by women activists near the beauty contest sites over the years have helped in changing the concept of beauty. The contest style has also undergone a sea-change and much more dignity has been added to the whole show. The changes were very visible during the current year’s contest held in London. First, there was no swimsuit round this year and only film clips of the contestants, enjoying themselves at a beach resort in the Bahamas, were shown. Secondly, there was emphasis on asking intelligent questions and obtaining intelligent replies from the finalists in the last round.[ad name=”HTML-1″]

As I watched the show on television I found each finalist looking as gorgeous as the other. I started wondering how the judges were going to eliminate four girls out of the five. The judges asked all five of them similar and ordinary looking questions and I was really amused to hear some of the dumb answers. What finally ensured Yukta Mukhi, the Indian contestant, the title, was certainly the fact that her answers were more intelligent and reflected the depth of her knowledge of the world and other cultures. One question concerned the type of food the girls liked to eat. One said she liked the food cooked at home and another said any type of food was all right and she had no special taste. But Miss India replied that she liked Thai food because it is exotic, tasty and spicy and is close to Indian food. Thai food has already become an international rage. She could not have given a better answer.

The girls were asked which person on earth they would like to be. One said she would like to be her mother; another said she would like to be her grandfather (they had no one else to emulate – obviously they did not know about many great people). But Miss India said she would like to be Audrey Hepburn (the heroine of My Fair Lady) for the person she was, for her courage and what she stood for. To me it was a remarkable reply. Audrey Hepburn had played a lowly flower girl who transforms into the most elegant person. She has shown a way to millions of young women who want to be something larger than what they are in life. She has been an inspiration to Yukta Mukhi, which helped her transform herself from an ordinary teenager to Miss World. Yukta Mukhi’s answer was the public acknowledgement of the contribution in her life by a person who was no more.[ad name=”HTML-3″][ad name=”HTML-3″][ad name=”HTML-3″]

To the question, which part of the world she would like to visit and why, a contestant replied that she would like to go to Canada (to see the snow even though she was born in Russia and had seen plenty of snow in her early life). The beauty from South Africa wanted to go to London because she had relatives and friends there. (I am sure there could be better reasons to visit London for a Miss World contender). The Indian contestant said she would like to visit Paris, because it is the fashion capital of the world and the hub of art & culture and, of-course, the culinary capital of the world. When I heard this reply I knew she would be Miss World because she deserves to be the Miss World.[ad name=”HTML-1″]

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