Say ‘hello’ to the queen within

Say ‘hello’ to the queen within

BEAUTY BASICS No matter what her age, marital status, or life situation is, every woman has what it takes to be a beauty queen, Dr Shivangi Maletia tells Jisha Krishnan

Dr Shivangi Maletia

As a dental surgeon and winner of multiple beauty pageants, Dr Shivangi Maletia is a fine example of beauty and brains not being mutually exclusive. Her powerful training sessions, aptly called ‘Queen in the Making’, have encouraged countless women — hassled mothers, self-doubting wives, acid attack survivors, victims of domestic abuse — to embrace their beauty and pave their own unique paths. Shivangi’s profound belief in the quantum of untapped energy residing within each individual helps her tap into “the inner pool of infinite beauty and wisdom” through a series of everyday practices, rituals and creative ideologies. She speaks from experience — of having survived severe panic attacks and suicidal attempts in the past.

Excerpts from an interaction with the Mrs. India Inc. life coach, founder of Productive Pageantry, grooming expert, TEDx Speaker, and mother of two:

What inspired you to start Productive Pageantry?

As someone who has participated and won an array of beauty pageants, I always sensed a hollowness associated with the term ‘beauty queen’. During my own journey of pageantry and panic attacks, I realised that the basic criterion is really baseless and faulty. That’s how productive pageantry came into being. My aim is to help every woman realise her true worth, like I finally came to realise mine.

How can beauty pageants be made empowering?

Beauty pageants offer a wonderful platform for the evolution of womanhood, provided they cover all aspects of development. A pageant like Mrs India Inc. is changing the face of the industry by discarding shallow definitions of beauty. Inner strength, kindness, love, ability to maintain a work-life balance, understand and live life, not only for one’s own growth, but for the upliftment of society as a whole…these are all beautiful qualities that need to be celebrated. A pageant for acid-burn survivors, for instance, does that so wonderfully.

What does your work with acid attack survivors entail?

I believe in the ‘queen’ residing within each and every woman, the one who is courageous, wise, compassionate, patient yet bold in her approach towards life, filled with overwhelming emotions and daring to expose her vulnerabilities. Because she is free from fear, self-doubt, or self-pity. My job is to make every woman recognise this queen within her, through a set of self-experimenting techniques and strategies, designed to reach out to the most fearful of hearts and battered souls. An acid attack survivor or victim of domestic violence is as much a queen as any of us.

What are the biggest beauty myths?

That beauty is mostly a bunch of genetic traits: complexion, facial features, basic body shape, and the like. This self-derogatory and self-destructive beauty culture needs to make way for a more meaningful, deep-seated and reflective definition of beauty. I think self-love and self-confidence makes one truly beautiful. In the long run, our looks are essentially dependent on the way we feel about ourselves, how comfortable we are with ourselves.

Does style evolve with age?

Age is just a number for those who recognise the queen within. Once you are comfortable in your own skin, you can carry personal style statements confidently, even if they are not in sync with the current fashion trends. There’s no point in wearing the trendiest of clothes and feeling utterly uncomfortable in them! The sense of style is hugely personal. It’s important to keep an open mind and to accept, understand, and adapt to newer ways of life.

How can women learn to prioritise self-care?

Whenever I ask my Queens to lay down five major roles of their lives in the order of decreasing priority, they seldom name their role as ‘self’ anywhere on the list. Usually, their roles as mothers grab the very first position. We need to understand that whatever fills us, fills all our relationships and communication. If we are satisfied, loving, and beautiful inside out, the same will be reflected in all our relationships and vice versa. Hence, we must begin with prioritising our self, as that’s our longest commitment in life.