Friday, October 14, 2011

A winner all the way

Elizabeth Thadikaran, the reigning Navy Queen, also scooped up the Hairomax Miss Kerala crown, displaying poise and confidence. A bright future beckons

By Shevlin Sebastian

In the Hairomax Miss Kerala competition held at Kochi, recently, Bollywood director Roshan Abbas says, “In a world of lust and greed, what advantage do women have over men?” Elizabeth Thadikaran's reply was immediate: “Women are the epitome of peace and sensitivity as they are love and compassion personified. I believe that women have eyes that can penetrate. We can see deep inside a person and that is their edge over men.”

The moment she said that, Elizabeth felt an inner conviction that she would win. Her sister, Tanya, who was in the audience, concurs. “She spoke very well.”

And so, it was that Elizabeth Thadikaran, all of 19, a second-year student at M. S. Ramaiah Dental College at Bangalore, picked up the Miss Kerala crown. And it is the second big win for her in less than a year. In November, 2010, she had also been crowned the Navy Queen.

“I gained a lot of confidence after I won the Navy Queen title,” she says. “And that helped me in this competition.”

But for Elizabeth, the 10-day grooming sessions which was conducted by well-known pageant coach, Ritika Ramtri, was most helpful. “She taught us how to walk properly on heels and project our personality,” says Elizabeth. “She also suggested that we should look at the audience in the eye and connect with them, so that they would want you to be the winner.”

Ritika, who has trained several Femina Miss India winners, spotted Elizabeth's talent early on. “I knew she would be in the top five because Elizabeth was very good in the question-and-answer sessions,” says Ritika. “But it is always difficult to predict the winner. Usually, the one who has presence of mind during the final rounds will get the crown. Having said that, all the girls were good.”

So, was there a keen competition among them, some of whom came from Dubai, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, and Thiruvananthapuram? “Not at all,” says Elizabeth. “In fact, we felt like sisters and had a lot of fun together. If one girl felt depressed, because she felt that she would not be able to perform well, we would all go and console her.”

At heart, Elizabeth is a girl-woman. In her bedroom, at the family bungalow at Venalla, there are numerous teddy bears, poodles, muppets and cartoon characters. Her mother, Rani, lifts up a bear sleeping in a cradle and says, “This was her favourite when she was a child.”

On the wall, there is a board which contains numerous medals which she won in her school aquatics career. A school captain and award-winning speaker, Elizabeth studied in Choice school.
Meanwhile, she poses with practiced ease before the camera. Sometimes, she looks at the frames and gives her opinions to the photographer on what is good and bad.

Clearly, there has been a sea-change in her personality since last November. Back then, she was shy and hesitant. Now she has a direct gaze, gives an impression of tallness, at 5' 8”, and radiates positive energy.

“Yes, I feel very good now,” says Elizabeth. “I would encourage other girls to take part in beauty pageants, not so much to win the crown, but it does wonders to one’s self-confidence.”

Meanwhile, the win could prove to be a windfall. Ram Menon, executive director of Impresario, the producers of the Miss Kerala pageant, confirms that the modelling offers are coming in, as well as a few feelers for films. “We have to see what will be best for Elizabeth,” he says.

But a practical Elizabeth has already thought out her plan of action. “I will only take a film role if it is suitable,” she says. “I want to concentrate on doing ramp shows and print advertisements. My immediate priority is to take part in the upcoming Femina Miss South India, because I want to represent Kerala and, if I do well, the country, as well. My motto is simple: I want to reach for the stars.”

(The New Indian Express, Kerala)