Aim for the stars, they say! And that’s exactly what city girl Manika Sheokand did. Now that she has become the Miss Grand India, she says the feeling is more overwhelming than she perceived it to be. She says, “It was a random move to fill an online form, as there was excessive time in hand due to the pandemic, and as the beauty pageant was going to be predominately virtual. I have been modelling apart from doing a job as a chemical engineer at Gujarat Fluorochemicals Ltd. My sister, Kanika Sheokand pushed me as if she believed that I could swing it.”
Ask her if she is starting to feel the weight of the crown with back-to-back media interactions and facilitation events at her school and university, and she rather calls it, “a meetha pressure which should be there when you are representing India at an international event. It will help me train for what’s coming. If this was a national event with limited people due to the pandemic, I am sure by the end of this year, when the international contest will happen, the pressure would be immense because not only the world will be watching your every move but there will be best contenders for each country.” The key to counter the pressure of a competition is just to enjoy the success, Manika believes.
Though stepping on the stage makes her feel that she owns the stage now, it wasn’t the same in the beginning. The first time she felt confident on stage was at an annual fest which she hosted at the Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology in Panjab University, Chandigarh. “I could never mustered the courage to speak on stage during the school time. The realisation made me push myself and work on those things and it all started during graduation years. Apart from working on fitness, health, beauty for the competition ahead of me, I think the focus would be to become a good orator.”
Before the preparation and grooming for Miss Grand International begins, Manika is savouring all her favourite desserts and just had a cheesecake minutes before her media interaction in Chandigarh as she was back home after her big win.
If carbon footprint is what worries Manika as a climate activist, it is also her wish to complete the circle that former Miss World Manushi Chillar had initiated with Project Shakti to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene. “I just want to add to it that switching to biodegradable napkins, menstrual cup or tampons will help reduce the carbon footprints. Also, disposing off pads is a bigger issue at hand, which I talked about with the Chief Minister of Haryana and shared my ideas and vision for the same.”