Bhushita Ahuja: Cameras, Crowns, Charisma

Bhushita Ahuja, 17-year-old Delhi girl from The Shri Ram School, Moulsari, shares her journey in the pageant world and how she overcame her challenges to become 2nd runners up of Alee Club 23rd Miss Teen India 2021.

Bhushita Ahuja
Bhushita Ahuja

When did you decide to take part in a pageant and how did you get interested in this field?

Bhushita: It was my grandmother’s dream to see me as a pageant queen and she often encouraged me to give this line a shot. She always believed in me and called me ‘beauty with brains,’ convincing me to embrace my true potential. I too had a strong inclination towards the world of glitz and glamour since I was a young girl and dressing up to make a statement as well as voicing out my opinions boldly was something that came to me naturally. My family members really appreciated my fashion sense and how I carefully matched all my outfits. They applauded my confidence and communication skills and this really motivated me to get into this field. In 2020, when I was 15, I found out on social media that there were official pageants being run for teenagers! I came across Alee Club and registered myself for their upcoming edition. Unaware and clueless about modelling and ramp walk, I decided to give my debut nevertheless because after all life is nothing but a bouquet of experiences.

What rounds did you have to cross before reaching the finals?

Bhushita: There were two rounds, first the intra-state auditions (took place in 24 states across the country) and then the national-level semi-finale which had to be successfully cleared before reaching the finale. The Delhi auditions took place in Shah Auditorium and there were 1000+ participants who had arrived from all across NCR. It was the first time I ramp walked on stage and especially in front of such a large audience. I introduced myself and was inquired by judges on personality-based questions. Nervous at first, my honest responses led me to semifinals. Second step, the interview round, was challenging as it implored us to speak spontaneously for 30 seconds on any topic the judges proposed on the spot. I was asked to talk about HIV AIDS for which I had previously read up well and therefore I gave a confident and well thought out response. Weeks later I got a call from Alee Club confirming my seat in the forthcoming finals! Out of thousands of participants from across the nation I was among the top 40 girls who was shortlisted.

What was the training experience like?

Bhushita: We had to go for 10 days of rigorous training before the final event and stay there for the entire duration. I was quite nervous to leave my comfort zone and share a room with unfamiliar mates. Would I be able to make friends? How small would the washroom be? Will the mentors be very strict with us? There were so many questions looming my in mind. With the pandemic, I had barely stepped outside the four walls of my house and therefore the thought of leaving behind my shell made me a little anxious. I was also feeling giddy about what to expect. When I went there, I met fellow participants from various states across the country and had the opportunity to have a positive cultural exchange with them. Our training was quite hardcore and we were expected to wear 6 inch heels for 10 hours a day during practice. We woke up as early as 7am and got free at 3am! With a no phone policy during coaching time, we led highly disciplined lives there with every minute of our day planned as per schedule. I faced a huge change in my lifestyle and during the first 2 days I was finding it very hard to adjust and adapt but with my eyes on the crown and the zeal to make my grandmother and well-wishers proud, I decided not to give up and face my insecurities in order to emerge stronger. We learnt ramp walk, got 3 portfolio shoots done and worked on our communication and public-speaking skills. The training really helped build my confidence and made me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

What are some of your best memories from there?

Bhushita: I believe my favourite memories include being surrounded by cameras 24/7 and have the time of my life with my roomies and other friends. The portfolio shoots were definitely a unique experience for me as we were taught how to pose and form 100 different types of expressions on spot. The entire duration of our training time we were being recorded in order to form a reality series. I still remember, on my first day I was having dinner and the cameraman began recording me while I ate… I felt so embarrassed because I usually forget about the world when I have my meals and it was the first time I was being so carefully observed! I remember we used to be called for emergency meetings in the middle of the night even after we had slept… and now that I look back, those were some of the most thrilling times I’ve had. Sitting for 3 hours getting make-up done by professional artists, feeling that great sense of relief after taking off the painful heels and finally getting to wear the gorgeous crowned that I had longed for… my memories from here will be cherished beyond a lifetime.

What all did you do that paved your way to the crown?

Bhushita: For a pageant, you cannot really prepare in a week or two… it is a process and you have to work on yourself everyday. Keep enhancing your personality, keep building on your strengths and continue to overcome your weaknesses. To give context, I am an international chess player and the Author of the book ‘Open Your Wardrobe for Answers’ which is based on Clothing Psychology. Moreover, I run my foundation, Samvedna, through which I teach 400+ underprivileged kids chess from across 7 states in the country and due to this I’ve previously been a motivational speaker and have also been invited by TEDx. Having had this background, I had already got a lot of preparation indirectly over the year to support me on this pageant stage- the question and answer round was sorted. To polish this even further, I watched a lot of previous pageants and observed how top contenders reciprocated to the questions and in addition to this I read up on motivational content. But I had no prior experience with ramp walk and in that sector I was very grateful to have mentors like the MTV Supermodel Ms. Swapna Priyadarsini who literally corrected my every step and taught me necessary techniques. My friend, Khushi, grilled me with toughest pageants questions the night before the final event and I was showered with blessings and prayers of all my family and friends which got me to where I stand today. Lastly, I feel winning a pageant is not just about external beauty, it is significantly about your inner beauty and how compassionate, empathetic and confident you are.

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