In common parlance, a pageant is simply a “beauty contest”. That’s what the Oxford dictionary, that holy grail of the English language tells us. But the reality is far removed from that.
The road to being crowned the winner in a pageant is paved with many obstacles, the last being a single question, which can make or break entire careers.
The question-answer round is what the audience hold their breath for. After an evening of carefully orchestrated routines practised for months, this final answer tests the contestant’s spontaneity, poise and most importantly, their emotional fabric. The wind blows hardest close to the mountaintop. And not everyone can make it.
Many answers are thinly veiled attempts at flattery; But what the judges are looking for is credibility. And that’s exactly what Manushi’s final round answer had. She not just called motherhood the most respectable profession, but she related as to how pivotal her mother’s role has been in her life.
And when the audience nodded in agreement with smiles all around, we knew she had their hearts. And the judges’ too.
And if memory serves right, we had similar reactions to Sushmita Sen and Priyanka Chopra’s answers. Remember?