Interviews ...

“Representing India at the Miss Supranational 2024 pageant will be a proud feeling” – Sonal Kukreja

This year, Sonal Kukreja was crowned Miss Supranational India. Winning the crown brought a lot of attention to the confident young woman who hails from Delhi. Now, she has a big responsibility on her shoulders. Sonal will be representing India at the Miss Supranational 2024 pageant that will be organized in Poland on 17 July.

In this interview, Sonal talks about her experience of participating in Miss Supranational India, how she is preparing for Miss Supranational 2024, the responsibility of representing India on a global stage, her project Pockets of Joy, the evolution of beauty pageants, and more.

Participating in Miss Supranational 2024 will be a new journey for you.

Yes, it will be a completely different journey. The journey has already begun and it is unlike anything I have experienced before. The entire team has taught me so much. So many people have supported me and given me a lot of love. They have trained and supported me tremendously. I am going on this new journey on behalf of India. Representing India at the Miss Supranational 2024 pageant will be a proud feeling.

You have already been crowned Miss Supranational India. You must have prepared extensively before participating in that pageant. Is the preparation any different this time around?

In this journey of life, I have trained myself to be a certain person. Now, I am going to be talking not just about myself but also my country. One has to learn how to convey one’s views in a way that they align with India. It has also got to do with how you put yourself out in the best way possible. It is almost like I am the same person on the inside but the packaging is a little different. And, that packaging is done in a way that aligns with what this country and its women want today. All the training I have gone through has helped me understand a lot of things about myself. I feel strong, empowered, and confident in my skin.

In an interview, you stated that you never had the dream to win a pageant. You suffered from several accidents and were insecure about the way you looked.

I didn’t have the confidence. I could not even dream that I would be in such a space someday. When you are standing there, your external beauty is what people notice first. Growing up, I was extremely insecure about the way I looked. I had multiple accidents. The last big accident that happened to me was when a dog bit me across my face. In that moment, the first reaction I had was, “this is it!”. I felt extremely depressed. However, after a few days, I felt that I have gone through so many unfortunate incidents and now, I don’t want to be stopped.

When you hit rock bottom, the only way is up. That’s what I felt back then. Ever since then, I have not said a ‘no’ to any opportunity that came my way. When I decided to apply for this pageant, I thought the worst that could happen is that I will not get selected at all. I applied for it almost like a joke. When I got selected, I was greatly surprised. In 2021, I was a runner-up. Even then, it was a highly rewarding journey for me. I wanted to come back and represent India. I came back last year and since then, I feel I have grown a lot. It has really redefined how I think of myself, how I look at myself, and what I want to put out in the world.

You have put together a project called ‘Pockets of Joy’. It talks about the importance of mental health and spreading happiness.

Looking after one’s mental health is very important. I feel it is important to make sure that people around you are doing fine. My project Pockets of Joy is based on a very simple principle. It works around the idea of giving yourself and the world around you some joy. It doesn’t take a lot to do that. Sometimes, joy can stem from the simplest of things. A few days ago, I spent some time watching the rain and that made me so happy. Listening to the sound of raindrops can be a meditative exercise. If we start acknowledging the little things that happen to us on a day-to-day basis, we will get the strength to work around the difficult moments. This is what I want to remind people through this project.

Giving and receiving joy is very simple. When you meet somebody, if you just check up on them, it would make a huge difference. You can make them feel good about themselves in so many different ways. Being present in the moment is very important. That is what I have learnt through this initiative. Rajendra bhaiya works with me. For months, he has looked after me. He has given me food, taken care of me and made sure I am having a good time in Mumbai. One day, I took a day off, made breakfast for him, took him out for a walk, and talked to him for a while. This made him so happy that he spoke about it for months. You just have to be there for others and be a good listener.

For the longest time, beauty pageants largely revolved around beauty. Do you feel they have evolved in some way in the last few years?

Physical beauty is still important in pageants as that is what hits the eye first. When you see somebody, you notice how they look. You are also expected to carry yourself well. When I participated in it, I realize it is so much to do with how you think and how you convey those thoughts. That is what is so beautiful about these pageants. They just don’t care about how you look. They want to know about the difference you want to make in the world. A lot of times, people ask what sustainable development has got to do with beauty pageants. These pageants empower women and enable them to bring a positive change in our world. Before you participate in a beauty pageant, you have to first understand what it means for you. When you represent your country, you feel empowered and proud. While participating in a pageant, you develop a stronger understanding of different topics and realize how you can contribute and add value to the society.

So many women out there would be looking up to you and have been inspired by your journey. Is there a message you would want to give them?

Beauty is as beauty does, they say. Having a kind heart is extremely important. I would urge young boys and girls to work on that side of beauty. You have to be aware of who you want to be and what you want to be giving and doing. When we dedicate ourselves to the process, we create a new version of ourselves. The growth, change, and learning you experience is truly beautiful. That is something that will take you far in life. I feel it’s very important for everybody to experience that.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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