Both India and Thailand bagged two of the top spots in the pageant.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
In a bid to celebrate the diversity and inner beauty of women of all ages and nationalities, Breathe Out of the Box PVT LTD, India (Mr Prashant Landge, Dr Aruna Poredi), and Wow Pageantry, Thailand (Ms Siripriya Sirisawangwat), came together to hold an international online pageant, WeQueen Miss & Mrs Diva Worldwide 2021.
The event featured 25 contestants representing a total of 12 countries, and was held completely online, in compliance with COVID-19 travel restrictions. The pageant consisted of a national costume showcase, as well as a talent competition where contestants sent in an array of videos of their dynamic talents, mostly consisting of dances traditional to their countries.
When asked about their vision for the event, the principal organiser, Breathe Out of the Box, gave the following statement: “We assist women to understand their own self and live the ‘out of the box’ life, which promotes both physical and mental betterment. Our vision is to build a community across the world with healthy minds and lifestyles.
“As a platform, we are committed to making all our participants adopt the ‘WeQueen lifestyle,’ where they can express themselves without barriers. The lifestyle focuses on developing insight into your inner self, and converting your energy into creative forms. The virtual pageant was a step towards meeting our objectives for women around the world, and was a great achievement. We’ve received incredible responses from 12 countries: Japan, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Myanmar, Mauritius, South Africa, Thailand, Nepal, Canada, Australia. We at ‘Breathe Out of the Box’ are excited and more motivated than ever to organise similar platforms in the future, such as workshops, training programs, and more pageants.”
There were four different groups that contestants could qualify for: unmarried women aged 20 and above; married women aged 22-35; married women aged 36-50; and married women aged 50 and above; with a winner for each category.
Masala spoke to the winners of the four categories in an exclusive interview below:
Anjana Ghogar, Thailand
The Royal Winner (married women, aged 50 and up)
A 53-year old Thai-Indian, Anjana Ghogar is a high school biology teacher who has a penchant for dance competitions, acting in films, and adventure.
“I have a very diverse personality,” she tells us. “On one side, I love adventure. I love high-adrenaline activities like skydiving and bunny jumping, I love dancing, acting, and taking part in pageants and dance competitions. In 2017, I won the title of Mrs THAI INDIA and now I have been blessed again as the Winner of the Royal age group (50 and up) for the WEQUEEN MISS & MRS DIVA WORLDWIDE 2021 International pageant.
“On the other hand, I love spiritual discussions and being part of life coaching seminars. Whenever I am inspired by some spiritual understanding, I like to illustrate it through paintings as a reminder to ‘walk the talk.’ Lately, I’ve been more interested in finding different techniques to create a still, blissful, and pure state of mind. My goal in life is to balance my extroverted and introverted personalities”
When asked about her thoughts on the pageant, she had the following to say: “I’m very blessed, and I feel responsible to hold the crown with the utmost dignity. It’s not just a pageant title, but a reminder for me to fulfil the moto of the pageant: to ‘breathe out of the box.”
“WeQueen was unique to other pageants as it focused more on grooming us inside and out through amazing introspective, reflective, and transformational techniques. Any woman who follows these techniques can crown herself as the ‘queen’ of her own life, as it will sharpen your awareness, teach you to channel your emotions, and help you to find a spiritual awakening that will clear your mind of negativity, wasteful thoughts, and unfinished commitments. Overall, I would say that this journey was incredibly empowering.”
Dr. Devika Deskhmukh, India
The Pride Winner (married women, aged 22-35)
An Ayurvedic doctor residing in India, Dr. Devika came from a humble background of Ayurvedic doctors and yoga teachers. “Being brought up with holistic healing practices has taught me to address the root cause of any issue, and to always maintain my equilibrium in life,” she tells us.
“I’ve been through major pitfalls in life, and through this, I firmly believe in standing up for yourself and never giving up. It is your hand which must first help yourself up – don’t wait and expect someone else to hold you. I have a four-year-old daughter, and I believe in leading by example.”
It was this idea of leading by example that led her to WeQueen. ““Winning the crown wasn’t my aim,” she recalls. “It was to groom myself to become the best version of myself that I could be. I think all of us are born with unique potential, and we can access that when we focus on becoming our true selves.”
“I was thrilled to be representing my country India at such a huge platform, where there were contestants from Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Mauritius, Canada, South Africa, Italy, Australia, Philippines, Nepal and Malaysia, and I’m thoroughly humbled to have won the crown,” she said, when asked about her participation. “What I loved about the organisation is that they did not see just external beauty, but saw our inner selves – our hearts and mind. There were women from all walks of life there, and we were all welcomed right from the very beginning. They did an excellent job of supporting us throughout this journey.”
We asked her what she would do with the recognition after winning the title, and she said, “I hope that it empowers me to spread the wisdom of health and longevity across the globe. If the young minds of kids are shown healthier lifestyle options, then they will be able to grow free from stress and negativity and lead a life of harmony and equilibrium.”
Yukie Sato, Japan
The Esteem Winner (married women, aged 36-50)
Yukie Sato, from Japan, started dance at just three years old, and has since participated in national and global dance competitions. She also praised the unique focus of the pageant. “This experience was very valuable,” she told us, “and I would like to continue building on this experience in the future.”
When asked about winning her category in the pageant, she spoke about how it was a battle against self-doubt: “Winning is a fight against myself – this is what I’ve always experienced on the dance stage. This tournament through WEQUEEN MISS & MRS DIVA WORLDWIDE 2021, felt like a challenge for me, and it was exactly what I was looking for. I’m full of heartfelt gratitude.”
Jacqueline Ling Tan, Malaysia
The Vista Winner (unmarried women, aged 20 and up)
Jacqueline Ling Tan, a Malaysian-Chinese contestant who was born and raised in West Malaysia, is a professional belly dance instructor and an active participant in various pageants and dance competitions. “I have won numerous titles since 2016, such as Ms Charming Malaysia International Qipao Queen 2nd Runner-Up, Malaysia’s Chinese Qipao Society Best Qipao 2016, the Asian Culture and Arts Ambassador in 2018, Super Queen International Winner and Super Diva in 2021,” she recounts.
When asked about what she got out of this competition, she responded, “It’s enhanced my life and my profession tremendously, which I am humbly grateful for. Through it, I’ve met many international friends around the world who’ve taught me many valuable lessons, such as what it takes to be well prepared, how to expand my creativity and talents, and how to create a wider network of possibilities, amongst many other learnings.”
Below is the full list of contestants that participated in the pageant:
PARIMAL GUNDA (INDIA)
DR DEVIKA DESHMUKH (INDIA)
DR RUPALI RAHANGDALE (INDIA)
MYRENE GOMEZ (PHILIPPINES)
YUIKO TUJI (JAPAN)
HENG KHAI FENG (MALAYSIA)
HNIN WAI SI (MYANMAR)
VANDANA MOHADEB SEEWOOSUNGKUR (MAURITIUS)
KAVITA JAISWAL (AUSTRALIA)
MARIANNA AUDREY (SOUTH AFRICA)
SHIRLEY TAN BOON GEOK (MALAYSIA)
JENNY VI AMINI TEHRANI (PHILIPPINES)
DR RUPALI BHOSALE (INDIA)
YUKIE SATO (JAPAN)
PI PRIYATAMA MUTHE(INDIA)
DR SHEETAL WALTURE (INDIA)
MUNEET NARANG (AUSTRALIA)
RAVINDER KAUR BAGGA (INDIA)
ANJANA GHOGAR (THAILAND)
SABRINA FASANA (ITALY)
SHAMTA SETH (INDIA)
DR JAYASHRI SHRENIK PATIL (INDIA)
VERONICA DONIS (CANADA)
MANISHA RAJBANSHI (NEPAL)
JACQUELINE LING TAN (MALAYSIA)
For more information, visit @wequeeninternationalpageant