Winners lead, aspirants follow the Miss Indianz trend

On its 15th Anniversary, Miss Indianz takes pride

Dharmesh Parikh

In February 2002, as I was preparing to launch Miss Indianz, I was told by mainstream media and fashion industry experts that the event will never take off because ‘Indian girls are beautiful but not tall enough to become models.’

That statement was proved wrong during the very inaugural year with Pooja Chitgopeker winning the Title. Thereafter, we have had the privilege of awarding a number of titles to our young participants of varying dispositions and countries of origin, with the belief that beauty is just skin deep and that there are more attributes that contribute to the beauty of a person. Miss Indianz has moved away from the usually believed concept of beauty contests to become a pageantry of culture, costume, colour and cosmopolitism.

This annual event has given opportunities to more than 350 young women thus far and many have reached heights of fame and global accolades.

Our Staff Reporter adds:

Pooja Chitgopeker

In our June 2002 issue of Indian Newslink, reviewing the first Miss Indianz 2002 held at Mahatma Gandhi Centre (of the Auckland Indian Association), we had said that the First Title Winner Pooja Chitgopekar will go places and earn the respect, admiration and fan-following of people around the world.

Soon thereafter, she pursued her higher education and took up many modelling and other assignments in Show Business. In 2007, she won the ‘Miss India Earth’ and ‘Miss Earth Air’ titles, bringing joy and pride to her family and friends.

On January 7, 2011, she married Vikram Aditya Kumar, an America-born entrepreneur based in Chicago. A much-publicised wedding, it brought together more than 500 people from various parts of the world.

Pooja became a mother two months ago, much to the delight of all of us.

Neha Bhatia


Neha Bhatia is another young woman who became a Radio Tarana Programme Presenter soon after going on stage for Miss Indianz in 2005. She is today owner of Sun Travels and partners with the annual event.

Upsurge of talent

Many Miss Indianz participants- not necessarily winners- have made their mark in life and it would be great if at least some of them are present at this year’s event, which commemorates the 15th Anniversary of the cultural bonanza.

The 15th Annual Edition of Miss Indianz will be held at Aotea Centre, Auckland City on Saturday, September 16, 2017. About 20 contestants, aged between 16 and 25 will take to the stage in the hope of taking home the Title Crown, the Runners-Up (First and Second) honours and/or one of several other individual titles and prizes.

Tickets are on sale now.

Indian Newslink continues to profile the contestants in this third instalment.

Karishma Ranchhod

Born in Auckland (Northshore), Karishma Hemi Ranchhod says that 2017 is a year of ‘double excitement’ for her and her family; the first of which could be easily guessed as her participation in Miss Indianz. The second, perhaps, larger reason is the upcoming Silver Jubilee celebration of the wedding of her parents.

She is a second generation New Zealander (her father was also born here). A student at the University of Auckland studying for Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Health Science Conjoint), she has learnt that hard work is the only way to progress.

It is unfortunate that Karishma suffers from Crohns but does not let it affect her or any of her pursuits and aspirations.

“I want to learn to carry myself with confidence and accept the unique young woman that I am through Miss Indianz. I have certainly had my share of difficulties and I want to inspire others and be their beacon of hope when faced with struggles; because there really is light at the end of the tunnel. I also want to reconnect with my Indian Heritage which can often be blindsided living in the New Zealand society and make lifelong friends,” she said.

Pictures of Karishma Ranchhod are by Andrew Bignall

Pranika Arisht

Miss Indianz Producer-Director Dharmesh Parikh hates the ‘BP.’

“This is not a Beauty Pageant,” he tells from time to time and Pranika Arisht agrees.

“I am participating in this event as an undergraduate student studying Medicine. I have excelled in academics and ready to accept the challenge. I believe that Miss Indianz will allow me to connect with the young women of our generation who want to step out of their comfort zone and have fun and take what life offers,” she said.

Born in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, Pranika is proud to be a part of the Indian and Kiwi culture. She says that Miss Indianz will provide her an opportunity to connect with her roots, culture and tradition.

Pictures of Pranika Arisht are by Miya Rakete, Jaynika Vaghani and Deepa Jain (Pranika’s Mother).

Ridhima Janveja 

Hospitality is at the heart of this young woman from New Delhi.

Ridhima Janveja, who works at AIS St Helens, said that her ambition has always been to be a part of the fashion industry, since it would afford her opportunities to hone her skills as a creative and people’s person.

“I have always dreamt of walking down the ramp with grace and confidence and hence I am excited that this dream would become a reality at Miss Indianz 2017. I am aware of the challenges which makes life more interesting,” she said.

Ridhima hopes that the event will also enable her to become more focused on her life and career and improve her stage behaviour.

Pictures of Ridhima Janveja by Andrew Bignall

Smriti Dilawry

Bhakta’s of Lord Krishna would say that they like adventure, fun, challenges and excitement, because their Master was known to be full of these attributes.

Smriti Dilawry, who lives and works in Hamilton would agree; for, like millions of devotees of Lord Krishna and as a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON), she lives life with all its vicissitudes.

Born and raised in Haryana (which was once a part of the State of Punjab), Smriti is exploring better employment and career opportunities.

“I want to do something in life which is challenging and interesting,” she said and looks forward to Miss Indianz 2017.

Pictures of Smriti Dilawry are by Kamal Preet Kaur Dhiman

Miss Indianz

15th Annual Event

Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 730 pm

Aotea Centre, Auckland

Tickets on sale now

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