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What did Aishwarya say to win the Miss World title?

September 27, 2006

About how hollow beauty contests really are:

aishwarya.jpgLet beauty contests be beauty contests. Why cloak them under a veneer of respectability by pretending to ask “intelligent” questions? Or proclaim righteously that it is the winner’s “inner beauty” that counts? Or maintain that the contest’s main purpose is charity? After all, it is quite impossible to evaluate the girl’s intellect or philanthropic nature as she parades up and down the stage in a swimsuit and is asked a few “tricky” questions by glamourous judges!

Take the beautiful and graceful Miss Philippines. She definitely deserved better than to be eliminated even before the semis. She put her foot in her mouth however, by admitting to the audience that in case she became Miss World it would be a big boost to her career as a radio broadcaster! How artless, yet how honest! Honesty not being the most sought after virtue in such contests, the girl lost out. The beauties who made it to the semis were Misses Croatia, Zimbabwe, India, Venezuela and South Africa. All of whom were smart and , of course, beautiful.

Yet Miss Croatia and Miss Zimbabwe were eliminated from the semis—presumably because they did not give the right answers. Answers which did not in any way reveal their lack of “inner beauty”. Miss Croatia was asked which event in the history of the world would she like to change. Very emotionally she spoke of the war in her country and the people suffering. She would have liked to prevent that, she said with quiet intensity. Alas, she had confined herself to what concerns her country, not the world! She did not talk about compassion for the underprivileged and love for humanity. Nor did she mention barriers put up by caste, colour, religion or sex. She was too genuine for the judges to handle. And so, they failed her.

Miss Zimbabwe fared worse. She was quite flummoxed by a silly question put to her by the brawny and handsome star of The Bold and the Beautiful : “If you win the contest, what would you say to the other contestants?” The poor girl, after a minute’s hesitation, mumbled that she would tell them that they had all won!

That left three contestants: tall and lissome Miss Venezuela, grey-green eyed Miss India and the attractive, intelligent-looking Miss South Africa. Now the judges had to make the painful decision: who had the most ” inner beauty”?

Miss Venezuela was asked the trickiest question- a question to which there cannot be no “right answer”, making us wonder whether the winners had been decided beforehand, and the questions no more than a hypocritical charade. Why were there beauty contests even in 1994, asked Iman, the famous international model. Because women will always be women, answered Miss Venezuela spontaneously. A sentiment probably shared by all the organisers of the contest, but which they could not publicly admit to! The answer ensured Miss Venezuela the third place.

The girl who was the first runner-up, Miss South Africa, was well prepared for her question. She spoke in a few, short, clipped sentences about race inequalities and the underprivileged. She got a roar of approval from the audience. Our Aishwarya Rai was not to be outdone. If she became Miss World, she was clear about what she would do, she said. She was concerned for the world’s suffering little children and about poverty and inequalities of race, colour and sex. She spoke smoothly and it was obvious that her little speech was well-rehearsed. And she as we all know, won.

If “inner beauty” is about mugged-up lines delivered with a beatific expression on one’s face, then Aishwarya certainly deserved to win. If the contest is about external beauty, even then Aishwarya deserved to win. But if “inner beauty” is about truth then we still don’t know who the real winner is. Ofcourse Ash may have inner beauty…but she didn’t show it that day. If she had she would never have won.

(A review of the contest written for The Telegraph, Calcutta)

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2006 9:17 am

    I agree with the sentiment of your article. Beauty contests are a victory for cosmetics companies and other participating businesses. It is amazing to see the amount of deception, double standards and general hollowness that they get away with, leaving us (the public) to admire this one woman of ravishing looks and uncertain intelligence. Post 1994, when Indian women suddenly began figuring in the top-three in many contests, I remember thinking that Femina had cracked the beauty contest code, coming up with “21 most likely questions to impress the judges” or something of that sort ;-).

  2. November 5, 2006 5:56 pm

    Actually, I did not mean that Aishwarya was not intelligent – I meant that the beauty contests pretend to test intelligence, but they don’t. Aishwarya is in fact an academic topper, was the head girl of her school, and studied at one of the best private schools in Mumbai. She is also an architect. Very few celebrities can boast of this background.

  3. Vempyr permalink
    March 6, 2007 5:49 pm

    Beauty contests pretend to test intelligence? Where have you heard that?!
    Beauty contests are contests of physical beauty. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The questions to there to help contestants show that they have charisma, wit, charm, an attractive voice, etc. In other words whether they are wholly attractive physically.

  4. ria permalink
    April 11, 2007 12:16 am

    this site is very good site but i hope that you put some thing which has the answers of all contestants of miss world

  5. hey aish really lanks in that department permalink
    May 31, 2007 12:22 am

    I saw Aish on oprah and she was such an embarrassment. I simply agree to the fact that she is a beautiful woman but not the one who is genuine and aware. she was asked to speak about marriage in India and she said its subjective and family and blah blah….not responding to the one of strongest system that India has had, caste system that still restricts marriages largely in India. She did not open her mouth. Only gigs…. second, Oprah wanted to know about the fmcg (fastest moving consumer goods) that is fair and lovely and aish being pale white herself did not elaborate on the fact of Indian racism, she has not gone through so she does not talk about it! And now she wont win anything for that prepared answer.

    But truly, aish is also the most cunning woman, oops clever woman, to cite she was on show not because of her acheivements but because of her marketing and advertisement company, who she pays millions. She has marketed herself very well and she is in a khandaan who sell anything and everything under the sun, marriage pictures to be the latest. A good strategy, poor rani lost on that account. Rani deserves to be with better people, Bachns suck. They openly are friends with the nastiest goondas of UP. Do they do charity ? apart from polio ads to save tax and other benefits to eye donation, all of them all calculative inspite of amassing so much of wealth.

    Aish has beauty and brains but she all uses for selfish purpose thats why her beauty is so shallow. Did she ever talk of racism, caste system, class issues or has being working like Angelina Jolie, has aish guts to adopt a black child in her arms and call it her child? You know the answer.

  6. MAC permalink
    March 27, 2008 11:38 pm

    “hey aish really lanks in that department”- WELL SAID MAN VERY WELL SAID

  7. Raj permalink
    June 26, 2008 6:47 am

    “hey aish really lanks in that department”… u r 100% true….

    Raj, I would advise you to read my comment policy before posting any further comments as you are new to this blog. I do not publish any unsubstantiated allegations about anyone, even a film star. Thanks. – Nita.

  8. Raj permalink
    June 26, 2008 6:50 am

    She is no doing anything now… only concenrating on her looks…
    Npw that she is married ti abhishek… she is acting as though she is the only best in the world.

    She has forgotten everything she tols to win the contest…
    She dumped vivek & salman and how many inside who knows.

    I really don’t why why people like her at all.
    Whats the reason behind it?

  9. September 25, 2008 3:11 pm

    The link appeared under referrers on my blog….

    The post is as always nicely written, but I can see hatred towards Aishwarya in few comments and in one, i feel the hatred is because Rani could not marry Abhishek…

    I found all the comments amusing, and some even funny.

  10. sid permalink
    July 27, 2010 1:51 am

  11. July 27, 2010 1:56 am

    To those who were saying degrading things about Aiswarya Rai. Please watch her interview with David Letterman.

    She is a very intelligent lady, a good orator and she definitely keeps the Indian flag flying high. She is an excellent ambassador for India who time and again supports the morals and culture of our beautiful nation.

    PS: Please do your research before lashing out at someone.

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