Reigning Indian beauties

Reigning Indian beauties

It has been a good year for Indian beauty queens in Singapore, with three of them clinching the titles at high-profile pageants here.

In August, 24-year-old Rathi Menon was crowned Miss Universe Singapore 2014. The following month saw Ms Dalreena Poonam Gill Ganesan, 20, winning the Miss World Singapore 2014 sash. Then last month, The New Paper New Face 2014 title went to 15-year-old Diya Prabhakar.

Judges of the three contests praise the winners not just for their looks but also their intelligence.

Mr Errol Pang, national director of Miss Universe Singapore, who was among the judges at the competition, says Ms Menon, who is a pharmaceutical technician at an animal hospital, had great poise and spoke very well.

Plastic surgeon Woffles Wu, a judge at Miss World Singapore, says Ms Ganesan has a beautiful face. He also likes her intelligent, sincere answers and the fact that she is a football referee.

Ms Ganesan, who was featured in last week's SundayLife!, is the youngest of three qualified female football referees here and has been officiating football matches in schools since she was 17. She plans to join the Singapore Police Force after the Miss World finals in London next month.

Ms Sara Chan, a finalist of The New Paper New Face contest in 2008 and a judge at this year's contest, says it was the 1.83m-tall Ms Prabhakar's physique that made her stand out. "She's the tallest of the contestants and she's very slim. She already has the model package."

While it is a coincidence that three top contests this year have yielded Indian winners, judges say Indian women have features which give them an edge.

Dr Wu says: "The Indian face combines the best of Western and Eastern features and has a pan-global appeal. They have good facial vertical height, high cheekbones and thick lips. That's why they have done so well in beauty pageants through the decades."

Some Indians who did well at global contests include Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai, the 1994 Miss World winner; and Sushimita Sen, who was crowned Miss Universe that same year.

Ms Menon, however, believes it is her personality that worked to her advantage. "It's the entire package that counts," she says.

leawee@sph.com.sg

MISS UNIVERSE SINGAPORE 2014

She may love her dresses and heels but Miss Universe Singapore 2014 Rathi Menon, 24, is most at ease when riding her 400cc Honda Super Four motorcycle in T-shirt and jeans.

The 1.73m-tall beauty, who weighs 53kg, received her motorbike licence when she was 19.

"I love the feeling of being in control of something that some people may see as being tough for a woman to handle," she says of her 170kg bike.

Her dream is to own a 1,340cc Suzuki Hayabusa, which weighs 250kg.

Her father, a 69-year-old security guard, was supportive of her buying a motorbike with her own savings but she took at least three months to convince her mother, "the stricter one". The 62-year-old works as a trainer at a data storage company.

Ms Menon has an older brother, a 30-year-old operations executive, and an older sister, 28, a staff nurse whom she lets ride pillion sometimes.

She says she has never been harassed on the road.

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