Pleasing, not plastic
Beauty is more than skin deep, says Tanushree Dutta, Miss India Universe
IT'S RATHER unfair, come to think of it. Beautiful people are never really given a chance: "She's pretty? (Snort) Must be really dumb!" So, when Tanushree Dutta, `Ponds's Femina Miss India Universe,' came to Chennai to crown Ramya, the `Googly Woogly Princess,' in what the press release called a `glittering ceremony amidst her loved ones,' the gags were fast and furious.
And it didn't help that the beauty queen was late. "Celebrities! Must be trying to match her lipstick with her stilettos" (snigger, snigger) went a couple of visitors as they settled into googly woogly Ramya's sitting room, while her little cousins, dressed to kill in pink tights and large hoop earrings, frantically brought in chairs to seat them all.
Quick note: The contest asked girls from across the country to write to Ponds about their most `googly woogly' moments. From 60,000 entries, a panel of judges, which included Tanushree, chose 15 girls. Now, all these girls will be crowned at their homes. Ramya, a college student, had written about a surprise party her friends threw at midnight, on her birthday, when they were on a college excursion to Bangalore. She was picked as the Chennai winner for her `sincerity.'
Of course, the biggest question at this point is what in the world is a googly woogly?
A happy feeling
"A googly woogly moment is... like... it's a `cho chweet' moment. One that makes you feel all happy and warm inside," said Tanushree as she gingerly seated herself beside Ramya, once she was done with woogling her with the crown, a beauty queen sash, something that looked suspiciously like a plastic tulip, and a basketful of creams.
Then the questions began. Who's your role model? "Um... actually I have no role model." Pet name? "Well, my friends call me Tanu." Define yourself? (Honestly, what in the world would you say, if you were suddenly asked to `define yourself'? Is she a woman or a diagram?) "I never give up. I'm strong willed and hardworking." Dream boy? "Oh. I have no time to dream!"
Not that the answer unnerved her questioner, who simply sniggered, "It should be a fantasy for every girl." She took it well enough, "Really. No time, no sleep, no dreams." But honestly! With questions like that, we don't even give them a chance.
The truth is Tanushree is actually pretty smart. Sure, she's idealistic (Define Life: "It's about achieving your dreams.), but not really in the usual "I want to... sniff, sniff... save the world, sob, sob... " way. And, she's certainly got a tough task ahead if she's planning to change the `beauty without brains' image most beauty queens are stuck with today thanks to bloopers like Priyanka Chopra's Mother Teresa answer, which won her the Miss World crown in spite of the fact that she said Mother Teresa was the most successful woman living today, years after she died.
"Yes. I know that beauty queens are seen as too plastic, too clichéd... like, they believe too much in the philosophy of the whole social service thing. What I'm out to prove is that we are not plastic... I am not plastic!" she says, bursting into laughter.
"In fact, once you are a Femina Miss India, you have a big responsibility. You are representing the brand. And as an ambassador, I constantly have to prove my calibre."
Modelling to movies
On the path she's taken, Tanushree says she loves what she's doing because she has always wanted to model, and act, and having a title makes getting movie offers considerably easier.
"I was originally working as a stage artiste, and doing B.Com by correspondence I graduate next year. Hopefully!" And none of this came easy. "When I started modelling, I moved to Mumbai since it is a much larger market. Eventually, I did a couple of music videos, which did well. But after a while I felt I was stagnating and decided it was time to progress to something bigger."
Movies followed, of course. "Well, it's not really a cakewalk. Over the past 40 years only a few beauty queens have actually made it to the movies successfully. But yes, when you win a title like this, there are always plenty of offers."
Inexplicably, she also insists that the Miss India pageant is not really about beautiful people. "It's more about how you speak, answer tricky questions... your personality. The emphasis is NOT on the way you look."
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