The concept of beauty is subjective, depending on cultural and societal norms. The idea of beauty is always shifting and today it's more inclusive than ever.

We had a conversation with Anvita Sudarshan on The Changing Concept of Beauty and what it means for those aspiring to make a mark in fields that recognise grace and poise as the prerequisites to success.

Our Podcast Guest

Anvita Sudarshan is a writer and filmmaker, who spent her early days in pageantry and modelling. She won the ‘Miss India Kuwait’ title in 2011 and was the first runner-up of Miss India Worldwide 2012, besides being a finalist in ‘I Am She: Miss India Universe 2011’ and ‘Femina Miss India South 2010’. She served as a judge for ‘Miss India New York 2013’ and ‘Miss India USA 2013’. She has also modelled extensively in the Mumbai fashion industry.

Anvita hopes to build an institutional framework for pageantry in India, especially for the aspirants to pursue a systematic path. Her recent book Beauty Queen is an important milestone in that direction.

The Changing Concept of Beauty

In our conversation, we discussed what it means to be beautiful. Anvita spoke about the various parameters that define something or someone as beautiful and human beings subconsciously find such people more attractive. Beauty also has an impact on our self-worth.

Mass media may perpetuate one kind of 'acceptable' beauty parameter that may not serve an individual. It is up to us to accept or reject this kind of social conditioning.

Beauty pageants have always been about showcasing beautiful people and they have changed quite a bit since the time they were first conceptualised. In a way, they have brought a platform and many opportunities to young women.

In India, we still require an institutional framework for beauty pageant aspirants to navigate the preparation and their own expectations. Credible and trustworthy information is much needed.

At the same time, we need to remember that the beauty and the fashion industry need to move to a sustainable model. As of now, the huge carbon footprint and the wasteful practices must be swapped for thought-out choices that benefit the planet and our society. People looking for a career in the beauty industry can look at these auxillary opportunities.

To catch the complete conversation, listen to the podcast.

Anvita's recent book Beauty Queen: A Pathway to Pageantry is a one-stop sourcebook on everything you ever wanted to know about pageantry – its meaning, history, inner mechanics, organisation and required preparedness. The book gives a very real account of what to expect at a pageant (the good and the bad). It explains in detail every aspect of pageant preparedness, such as body grooming, nutrition, wardrobe, catwalk, interview and judges’ perspectives, while drawing on a number of examples about what worked for people and what did not. Inspired by the author’s personal experiences, the book is the first of its kind and a unique attempt at presenting pageantry as a composition of science, art, and grace in equal proportions. It’s not just for aspiring beauty queens but also for every individual who wants to look and feel healthy and beautiful.

Read reviews of Beauty Queen: A Pathway to Pageantry from our comunity here.

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