Manya Singh, daughter of an autorickshaw driver, who was crowned Miss India 2020 runner-up, is on the seventh heaven. Following the success, her struggles and the inspiring journey won praise from all over India. However, life has never been a bed of roses. From leaving home at a young age and travelling to Mumbai from UP to pursue graduation, to juggling jobs and auditions, it has been a roller coaster ride for Manya. In an interaction with the Cinema Journal, she spills all the beans! Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us about your experience at Miss India 2020 amid the pandemic?
I had decided that I wanted to become Miss India since I was 16 when I had taken to self-grooming. At the age of 19, after the Covid-19 pandemic hit us, I suddenly felt that all doors have been shut on my face. I was blank, not knowing what to do, as everything literally turned virtual, overnight. I was perplexed as to how I could attend the live sessions. I was all alone till I stepped onto the stage. I did my makeup, hair, and every other tit-bit. Sometimes, I would even be tensed about my attire and jewellery.
No one has ever bothered to compliment me on any front. However, I have always complimented myself. I would look into the mirror, smile and feel beautiful (khud ko rijhane ke liye yeh khayal achcha hai).
What was on your mind before you went on the stage?
I was sitting in one corner and shedding tears when my mother sent me a voice recording. Her voice said that this was an important phase in my life and that I should go onto the stage and perform wholeheartedly. She asked me to give my best and leave the rest to the Almighty. I performed with my heart, following my mom’s advice and I came back with the crown.
How did you keep negativity at bay?
I admit to having negative thoughts because I, too, am human. I never let them affect me because I knew I had what it takes to change my destiny. I knew I would kill it on the stage. I had faith in myself. Everyone needs to have that or else one cannot achieve their goals.
Your advice to aspiring models trying their luck at the Miss India pageant?
Just be yourself and keep going. Have faith in yourself and never get carried away too far being in this industry will benefit you. Always remember that the journey will be extremely tough but you need to move on.
Tell us about your future plans.
I am waiting for opportunities where I can showcase my best skills. I want people to look up to me as a role model and learn from whatever I do. Young girls should feel, ‘If Manya can do why not me?’