Young Wellingtonians prepare for Pageant

Almost a dozen young aspirants will vie for the Miss India Wellington title next month as the most coveted pageant of the New Zealand Indian community gets underway in the Capital on September 10.

The winner of the Title and two Runners-Up in the regional contest this year will participate in the Grand finale leading to the crowning of Miss Indianz 2012 in Auckland next year.

“The competition, due to be held on or about February 18, 2012, will mark the tenth anniversary of our pageant. The winner of Miss Indianz 2012 will represent New Zealand at the Miss India Worldwide 2012 in Suriname,” Dharmesh Parikh, Director of Reshabh D Parikh Productions, which is organising the event, said.

He said anyone from any part of the world, can vote online for the ‘Public Choice Photogenic Award’ (

“Miss Indianz 2010 Jacinta Lal will crown the winner of the Miss India Wellington 2011 title.

“This event is a celebration of Kiwi-Indian beauty, fashion, dance and music, embracing the cultural diversity of New Zealand,” Mr Parikh said.

The following is a brief profile of some of the contestants:

Danica Francis

Her short-term goals are acting in local productions and modelling but Danica Chanel Francis has set Bollywood in her long-term vision.

“I also want to further my career in the modelling world,” the South Africa born teenager said.

We told Danica that she must be clear in her mind to ensure a successful career in a chosen field and not dabble in too many things at the same time, because, we also heard her saying that she was keen to become a ‘successful journalist.’

However, aspiration and ambition are the wont of the younger generation and this Year 12 student (at Sacred Heart College) would have many opportunities to test her aptitude and decide her future course.

Journalism is of course a challenging profession but in a majority of cases, less lucrative than acting or modelling!

Madhumitha Ramasubramanian

Just two days before the Miss India Wellington contest, a student of the Victoria University will celebrate with family and friends her 21st birthday.

“May the celebrations extend until September 10 to include your announcement as the winner,” someone wished and Madhumitha Ramasubramanian blushed.

Public Speaking and acting on stage and for the screen are among the passions of this young girl, who is pursuing her degree in Art History, Linguistics and Public Policy.

Madhumitha loves to be in the limelight, be with people and make friends.

She hopes that the pageant will be a stepping stone to success.

“I am really looking forward to the competition, which, with a mixture of fashion and culture, is really engaging,” she said.

Minra Jinnah

This Sri Lanka born Indian has a long list of action-packed activities as her favourites. These include soccer, rugby, cricket and dancing.

Minra Jinnah also has an enduring passion for cars.

“I am currently working on my modified hot pink Honda Civic,” says the youngster, who turned 22 on August 1.

“I am proud of my Indian heritage and love challenges such as the Talent Segment of the Miss Wellington competition. I hope to dazzle everyone with my own collaboration of hip hop dance,” she said.

Minra has a certificate in Exercise Science and Front Office Hospitality.

Nameeta Gounder

Meeting new people and converting at least some of them as her true and good friends are among the special talents of Nameeta Gounder, who will mark her 16th birthday soon after the competition.

“That would make her the youngest contestant,” someone said.

An ardent admirer of Indian classical dances, Nameeta has been attending the New Zealand Academy of Bharata Natyam for the past nine years.

An Indo-Fijian, she believes that such competitions not only enable people to get to know each other well but also understand and appreciate Indian culture.

Nameeta is a Year 11 student at the Hutt Valley High School and says she was motivated to join the competition by the ‘encouraging nature of the organisers.’

“I will give it my best shot,” she said.

Raksha Bhula

Indians in New Zealand are proud of the Gujarati community, the senior members of which have not only endured harsh times of the past but also demonstrated that success will not elude those who persevere and try.

Eighteen-year-old Raksha Bhula belongs to an enterprising family of Gujaratis, with both her parents born in New Zealand.

She said her ambition is to be involved in the fashion and cosmetic industry.

“I enjoy modelling and meeting people. I chose to start my career from Wellington, the City of my birth and the City I love most,” she said.

Raksha believes that apart from glamour and publicity, the Miss Indianz Beauty Pageant is a challenge and an opportunity to seek an entry into Bollywood.

Shimal Chandra

Arriving from her native Fiji 15 years ago (she was just two years old then), this teenager from Lower Hutt seeks the best in education, career and life.

“Being the only child in the family motivates me to reach the self-assigned goals and standards. These would open a number of doors and windows of opportunity in the near future,” she said.

Shimal believes that winning the Miss India Wellington title would open a new path of success in her career.

She enjoys netball and soccer. However, she would love to watch rugby when All Blacks and the Fiji teams face each other in the field.

“My parents have instilled in me the values of Indian culture and traditions, although growing up in New Zealand has been challenging,” she said.

What: Miss India Wellington Contest

Organiser: Reshabh D Parikh Productions

Where: Wellington High School, 249 Taranaki Street

When: Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 730 pm

Tickets: 0800-224224 or text Rhythm 4040

Contact: Dharmesh Parikh on 021-2727454

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