Beauty Unveilded Jasmine Singh, The Tribune, Dec. 5
Beauty Unveilded Jasmine Singh, The Tribune, Dec. 5 , 2011
‘Sorry, could you repeat that again. Miss Pakistan World.’ We tried to strain our ears. Did we hear it right, the woman greeting us on a lazy Sunday afternoon is the founder of Miss Pakistan World beauty pageant. It is bad manners to stare at someone blatantly but we couldn’t help scanning her. While we are lost imagining how a beauty pageant in Pakistan is practically possible, what do they ask in question answer round (What do you have to say about Kashmir?), the pretty looking woman in question approaches us in a sweet and sophisticated voice, “Hello, I am Sonia Ahmed founder of Miss Pakistan World beauty pageant, which has now entered its ninth year,” she smiles wondering when will we get that “what are you saying’ look of our face. Yes, we are curious right away. And Sonia has loads to tell. After finishing studies, Sonia moved out to Canada for further studies where she started the Miss Pakistan contest. “Whenever I would Google Miss Pakistan, the search engine would dish out hundred results on Miss India but nothing on Pakistan. That’s when I thought that I should do something for Pakistani modeling,” she says. A beauty contest in Pakistan, models walking the ramp, unbelievable.
Sonia smiles. She is soon going to clear our doubts. “No, the Miss Pakistan contest is being held in Canada for last nine years now. I can’t think of doing something like this is Pakistan, not in another twenty years.” Go on, this is interesting. “I have faced tough resistance from Pakistani people, the government and the embassy. They have even stopped visas of some contestants going to Japan for the contest. They cannot tolerate anything like a beauty contest,” Sonia adds. Despite the backlash Sonia has been successfully organising the contest for Pakistani girls from around the world. “I am doing this thing outside Pakistan so I am safe,” she can probably read our mind. “My parents were initially skeptical with this idea. Now after nine years they feel okay about it. These pageants help Pakistani girls get work in television shows and dramas across European countries and elsewhere,” she proudly states. So, what is the Miss Pakistani World pageant like? Sonia cracks, giving a deep smile, “It is like any other pageant like Miss India or Miss USA. We have all kinds of rounds including the swim suit round.” This is some show we think.
Well, Sonia has something exciting to add. “Last year we started Mr. Pakistan contest and it has won great response. As long as you have men walking the ramp, men in Pakistan don’t have a problem, but when it is women, it is a taboo,” there is concern and slight anger in her voice. Don’t we have enough Pakistani actresses making it big in Bollywood? You simply can’t ignore Veena Malik these days! “Yes, they are. The modeling industry in Pakistan however is under warps where work is not for public display. I wish to hold a beauty contest in Pakistan someday. I hope to see it happening someday, maybe when I get old,” she smiles. Tim Robbins said something interesting in the movie Shawshank Redemption- Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies!