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Miss India Middle East 2002

Santripti is Miss India!

Amidst the ripple of the applause Santripti Vellody was crowned Rivoli Miss India Middle East 2002 on October 26. In a night dedicated to elegance, glamour and plenty of surprises the final of Middle East's biggest beauty pageant kicked off at the beautiful Al Zawaraa Ballroom, Ajman Kempinski Hotel, and Resort. Prominent dignitaries from the world of business, marketing, fashion designing and publishing were among the guests. Inside the hall, the atmosphere was electric as Hugo D'Souza and Sonia Sebastian came on stage to host the event. The evening was drawn open at a little after 9pm when the 11 contestants in beautiful sarees made their first appearance on stage and introduced themselves..

They sure had loads of grace, poise and confidence. The eight judges, drawn from the fashion, beauty, lifestyle and media world, and included businessmen M. Bin Hendi and Abdul Aziz Al Zarouni; Viveka Babaji, Miss Mauritius; Steven Pinto, head of retail banking Mashreq Bank; Malini Ohri, beautician; Christina Jabourian, fashion consultant and; Neena Gopal and Vikram Dhar, Gulf News' Asia Editor and Circulation Manager respectively. What was remarkable was there were no swimsuits and questions about hobbies. Instead, there were more sophisticated outfits, searching questions about ways to resolve international issues and a theme that sought to divert attention from the traditional skin-deep nature of the event.

It was a lethal mix of beauty, brain and behaviour. The judges were not on the lookout for charming smiles and impressive looks alone. And the contestants, most of whom were less than 20 years old, showed that they did not lag behind in this realm. A sizable number were MBAs, with interests as wide-ranging as martial arts, travelling and music. The introductory round was followed by a dazzling dance performance by Kurgas and some sizzling numbers by Dream Team from Four Points Sheraton. Of course the sparkling choreography by Shekhar Rahate, National Director Miss India Worldwide/Middle East deserves a special mention. For the second round eight participants were short-listed. This time too the aspirant beauty queens were dressed in beautiful traditional attire designed by Shekhar Rahate and Jenine Murad from Ramiz Haute Couture, Sahara Centre, Sharjah. The crowd was now literally on the edge with excitement. Each one tried to predict the winner to their companion. Samrajnee Pathare, Namrata Kanjani and Santripti Vellody were the three finalists and were given a minute to write the answer to a common question. The 'big' question being: If you were to win tonight what would be your three prime concerns as the brand ambassador of the Middle East title?

And said Santripti, the girl who walked away with the crown, "Firstly, to represent Dubai in the best possible manner. Secondly to ensure I carry myself well because I would represent an Indian woman and thirdly to involve myself in charitable causes so people don't say beauty pageants are just a facade." Well said. She won herself a Givenchy watch, a 22 carat Harmony set from Damas, a stay for two at the Taj Palace Hotel, Dubai, and a return ticket to South Africa where she goes to represent the Middle East in the of Miss India Worldwide 2002 pageant. The first-runner up was Namrata Kanjani while the second-runner up Samrajnee Pathare. There were other subtitles: Miss Beautiful Hair was won by Preeti Darshan; Best Catwalk went to Namrata Hegde; Best Skin was bagged by Namrata Kanjani, Miss Talented went to Santripti Vellody, Miss Photogenic was given to Shweta Pagrani; Miss Graceful was won by Missy Mathews; while a special award Miss Best Attitude was given for exceptional grace and enthusiasm to Namrata Hegde. The contest took a month to organise and was put together by the Dubai-based Modeschauen Events in association with Platinum Spring FZ LLC. Said Rajeshree Iyer from Platinum Spring, "It was a lot of hard work. We plan to have the grand finale of Miss India Middle East 2003 in Dubai in May with finalists from neighbouring countries like Qatar, Oman and Bahrain."

Source: Citytimes BY HINA BAKHT

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