Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder

Article by Vaibhavi Joshi “Zeal”

Photos By Balzinder Balz

Was it not said, that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder? Beauty pageants are seen at all over the world. “As a little girl, I would look at the pageant girls and wish to be one of them”; said Reny George from Delhi, who will be heading to Surfers Paradise in March to take part in the Grand Finale as the National Finalist from NSW for Mrs Australia Galaxy 2020.

Few years back, society used to hold girls’ appearances at a very high standard, when girls used to look at these pageant queens who had flawless bodies. They used to do extreme dieting and consuming unhealthy diet pills that were terrible for their bodies. Gone are those days, where society used to reject girls for what they look like.

In today’s modern era, society has realised that God made us all unique and the body shaming is no longer tolerated in today’s society. Pageants industry has become equal opportunity ground and players regardless of Women’s status whether married or unmarried, skinny or curvy, teenagers or a mother. Reny; a wonderful mother of 2 kids is a living example of the changed mindset of today’s society.

Pageants industry for married women opened its door back in 1984. Since then, the pageant intends to create awareness on domestic violence, gender inequality, societal oppressions and all forms of social injustices against women. It also provides funding and other structural support systems for humanitarian projects and programmes that can empower women, teenage mothers and children. Reny, strongly believes that the pageant winner has the responsibility towards her community to portray a positive image when visiting other communities . She does this not just when she is there in an official capacity, but 24/7 during her reign.

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Reny, came to Australia in 2005 to work as a Registered Nurse in Sydney. She was not married when she came here. She tied her knot in 2006 and is blessed with two kids (a girl and a boy). She came on work visa and faced all those challenges of being an immigrant and also gone through the tough journey from an Australian Resident to an Australian Citizen.

Fashion has always been her passion and craze. She loves to dress up and keep herself well groomed. She loves to create her own trend rather than following the bandwagon. She strongly believes in herself, body positivity and keeping her head and standards high. She never gets affected by other’s opinions or negative comments. She believes that being optimistic in every situation makes her happy and give it a go person.

Most pageants require a contestant to develop a resume and do interviews. This just helps to improve these life skills for future use when applying for jobs, scholarships, etc. The competition is about physical beauty, marital stability/success, career progression, intellectual agility, social awareness, and humanitarian compassion. She believes that Pageants promote self-confidence, leadership, poise, and strong public speaking skills just to name a few benefits.

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“Being crowned a queen in a local community is an opportunity for a young woman to be a role model for her community and most importantly to younger girls and women, to increase herself confidence and to improve her public speaking skills”, she said. Pageants give all of the contestants a chance to learn about themselves and to branch out of their comfort zones to bring the best out of them.

Did you ever had to give an on-stage speech in front of hundreds of people? Did you had to answer a question about your community and how you can better it, with no preparation and make it cohesive and articulate? These are all things that pageant contestants have to do on stage, said Reny while sharing her experience.

That might seem counterintuitive. Some see pageants as cut-throat competitions designed to reward a very specific look or personality. Contestants, however, say pageants are life-changing experiences that help them achieve academic and professional success. One of the judges Reny met mentioned that “I am not looking for a particular measurement. It’s about how they carry themselves. Are they confident as they walk? Are they enjoying it? Are they comfortable in their skin? Is this somebody that has this ‘it’ factor?”

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Though pageants are increasingly becoming racially and ethnically diverse, they still largely celebrate women whose bodies and identities do not challenge these oppressive standards. Reny turned her revelation into a campaign called Live Beautifully to tell young women that confidence and beauty are linked, you just have to love yourself the way you are and take pride for your individuality.

She said “Mrs Australia Galaxy 2020 happened by chance. It wasn’t a planned decision but just happened. Maybe it was destiny playing it’s part.” The pageant has its international contest in Chicago USA later this year. Now, so that she will be heading to surfers paradise in March to take part in the Grand Finale as the National Finalist from NSW, she will be carrying the best wishes with her from her family, friends and the entire community.

When asked “How do you shine and radiate and make people feel the joy you’re feeling?” She responses, “By embracing yourself and embracing others in my community”. She strongly follows her passion despite being a daughter, a wife, a daughter-in-law , a mum and most importantly being an independent woman. She is really looking forward to represent a true beauty and setting an example for those who says a married woman or a mother can’t excel in their career life. All she wants to say is “Always take care of your heart, and that’s what’s going to translate your beauty.”