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Miss Versatile

Stacy Issac is more than just a pretty face. She is a talented Bharatanatyam danseuse and aspires to become a paediatrician.

"WHICH WOMAN do you admire the most?"

"Indira Gandhi," was the reply of 19-year-old Stacy Issac, who went on to become Miss India USA 2001. The news is that this beauty is from Kumbazha near Perinad, Ranni.

Born and brought up in the U.S., Stacy entered the beauty pageant by chance. She was strolling down the road when a man approached her. He turned out to be one of the organisers of the Miss India U.S.A. pageant. And the rest, as they say, is history. But just for the record, Stacy's elder sister had won the Miss Florida title back in 1992. Stacy too represented the state of Florida.

But why Indira Gandhi as the answer? Why not Mother Teresa or her own mother. "I know that Indira Gandhi is controversial and all that, but I admire her a lot. And she is respected in America too. She was after all India's first woman Prime Minister and America still hasn't had a lady President. So I decided to stick to my opinion, despite the fact that everyone would have expected Mother Teresa or someone like that in reply."

What about taking part in the Femina Miss India pageant? "It's unlikely, for they have a lot of specifications. Like a minimum height of 5'7". I am only 5'4," she says. Stacy has won the Miss Photogenic competition conducted by Sulekha .com, besides the Miss Talent title. More than 1,500 visitors voted online to decide on the winner.

Stacy is also a Bharatanatyam dancer. Danseuse Neha Shah has trained Stacy.

Florida-based Neha taught her a piece, `Rhythm of Life', especially for the pageant.

Will she, like most girls, move on to films, now that the beauty crown is resting firmly on her head? "No. Not at the moment. I have received a couple of good offers from big banners in Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam, but I'd like to concentrate on my studies." Stacy, who is doing her pre-medicine, wants to become a paediatrician eventually. "But, she adds, "as I love performing, I haven't totally closed the chapter."

What about her family? "My father, an engineer, decided to join the police force after moving to the U.S. In fact, he was the first Indian to join the New York police force," she says. Her mother is a nurse. "My parents have been very supportive," she says.

Stacy's trip to Kerala comes after a gap of 10 years.

She loves Indian clothes though she doesn't get to wear them too often back home. Her favourite food? "Thai." Her next destination is London, where she's been invited as a special guest to perform at a pageant to be held on August 24. Good luck, Stacy!

UMA DANIEL KOSHY

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