This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in July-Aug 2012 issue.
It was really nice to have opportunity to interview Samriddhi Rai
We are always very proud when we see the name “Nepal” in any International arena and we felt be a prouder still, when a few months ago as Miss Samriddhi Rai was successful in bringing home the title of Miss Personality from the Miss Tourism Queen International 2011 held in Xi’an, China.
Many of you may already know Samriddhi Rai as Miss Tourism Queen Nepal 2011. She was also a participant in Miss Teen Nepal and in Miss Nepal. Some of you may know her as a writer or an editor for well know publications or even as a national level basketball player, an aspiring singer or a TV anchor or a Voice on RVL Radio.
An intrepid blogger, she is not afraid to express her opinions and feelings instead of writing what is politically correct. It is very heartening to see her speaking her mind about events in Nepal like the Miss Nepal 2012, Bryan Adams’ concert, etc., in her blog samriddhirai.blogspot.com.
Living with her motto, “Laugh.Love. Live.”: Samriddhi has achieved, in a short time frame, what many of us have only dreamed of. Even though she has been in the public eye form her teenage years, she has never forgotten her roots and has always stayed grounded. She is a great inspiration for today’s youth.
A Self-confessed serious Facebooker, she is so loved by the young generation that the number of friends in her Faceebook personal account maxed out, forcing her to create a Facebook Page instead, to keep in touch with her fans. One of the best things about following her on Facebook and Twitter is that she actually responds to the comments, unlike so many celebrities who just post their photos and never bother to respond to the comments people leave for them.
“For some reasons though, I happen to love my struggles. I believe it has made me tough and although it breaks me down from time to time, it has unfailingly pushed me to bring out the best in me.” These are her words describing her experience from Miss Tourism Queen International. When she was picked by Group of Event Entertainers, the team that conducts Miss Tourism Queen Nepal, to represent Nepal in China she was told she had to fund everything on her own. For any other girl it could have been the reason to desist from the journey even before it begun but not for Samriddhi. She was determined to do whatever it would take to reach her goal. She organised a concert to raise money and at the same time looked for sponsors to help fund her trip to Xi’an to represent Nepal. The road to China was bumpy but with courage and determination she was able to bring a second international beauty pageant crown home to Nepal. It was one of the proudest moments for Nepal and all Nepali.
Here is our conversation with the young, talented and beautiful Miss Samriddhi Rai.
You are into so many different fields, how do you want to be known?
Honestly, it would be awesome to be known as Samriddhi Rai – Jack of all trades, Master of some (laughs) but yeah I will forever be a writer at heart. I express myself best when I am writing so that is one thing that will always be with me. Soon though, I am coming out with my album so yeah, the title of Samriddhi Rai- singer, songwriter, blogger would sound perfect to live by for the rest of my life.
When did you think of entering beauty pageants and did you face any difficulties?
It was not a conscious decision, you know. I had just completed my 12th grade and I had some time to spare. I saw an ad calling for Miss Teen Nepal and I just entered it, thinking it would be fun. If you knew me well, you’d know that I am just that kind of a person – spontaneous and extremely random. I managed to discover the singing talent in me, wiped out fear of public-speaking, to that extent, I have pageants to thank for bringing out the writer in me too as everything I was learning was just too difficult to be contained within me, I had to share it with the world. So yeah, I have a lot to thank these pageants. By exploring the many vistas of these hard-core contests, I got a chance to explore the many vistas of me. Those were time well-spent.
Please share your experience from Miss teen Nepal and Miss Nepal.
Miss Teen Nepal and Miss Nepal were two experiences I totally cherish. But I may have enjoyed Miss Teen Nepal more (laughs), considering I had no plans to win anything but came out clinching the 2nd runner up title. On the other hand, I joined Miss Nepal fully knowing that I had to win it. And even though I got nothing from it except for my placement in the top-5, with time I realized that winning a title was not so important after all. That, winning people’s love and earning memories and experiences was more valuable. Soon after my bout at Miss Nepal I was offered a job as an editor for a youth’s magazine, I became a weekly columnist, I was offered the title of Miss Tourism Nepal , hundreds of people showed up at my fund-raising concerts and I came back home winning a title on behalf of my country. So you see, winning or losing is for the mere entertainment of the audience. I may have lost at Miss Nepal, but I never felt defeated. To be in the presence of both success and failure and be equally happy in both experiences- is what these pageants have taught me.
We know that your journey to Miss Tourism Queen International 2011 was not smooth as you had to fund your own way there. Tell us more about your experience from the beginning to winning the crown for Best Personality.
I broke down a few days before I had to leave for my contest. But I can assure you it was only a momentary lapse (lol). But I really couldn’t get my sunny side up when everything came crashing down for a while- when people who promised to sponsor my tickets backed out and my designer friends refused to give their best gowns. It was disheartening and overwhelming. All the while I kept thinking, “Oh my god, I am representing my country here, why isn’t anybody helping me out?” and then, I came back to my senses. I realized people were not helping me because the universe was asking me to help myself and be a strong girl and that is what I became. Oddly enough it was a bunch of strangers who helped me in a big way. Stranger designers, stranger airline officers- to whom by the way I am indebted for life and I still keep in touch with them. And I finally made it to China. The journey thereafter was the most fun I have ever had. Being called out by my country’s name was a thing of immense pride. “Hey! Nepal, come here. Hey! Nepal sings so well.” I am all smiles even as I share these moments with you. When NEPAL was called out to receive the title of Miss Personality, I was so happy. Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks and I couldn’t stop thanking my judges for finding me worthy for the title. Finally, thank you +977 for helping me relive those moments all over again. I’d describe my journey to Miss Tourism Queen International as one of the most beautiful chapters of my life.
There is a term in Australia called Tall Poppy Syndrome which means people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers. Do you think that exists in Nepal as well? Did you ever suffer something similar?
Tall poppy huh! Well I’d say that is true anywhere in the world and honestly, if I tell you that I have in fact been attacked and resented then I would also be calling myself a person with genuine merit – and that my friend, would be fuelling my “resent-ers” to resent me even more (lol). But yeah in all honesty, as the number of people who like you grows, with it grows the number of people who might dislike you as well. When I was collecting my funds for the pageant, there were people making remarks claiming that was acting like a “beggar”, to one paper even publishing that my contest was all fake and I had duped people through my fund-raising concerts. Phew! Initially it hurt a lot, but I started getting used to it. Then I was like, as long as my rumours keep people in Kathmandu entertained, I am up for anything that makes people happy (lol) and I let it go.
For girls planning to join beauty pageants, what do you think are the important preparations that they should make in order to maximize their chances?
Well I feel I very lucky to have gotten in, considering I am only 5’ 6”. My height is not even average in beauty pageant terms; 5’ 6” is very, very short. So yes, my 5 inches heels never came off during my international contest (lol) and that way judges never saw me as someone short. The four crucial preparations for any Nepali beauty pageant representative going for an international pageant, according to me would be: (1) Armed with lots of super-high heels, (2) lots of make-up and hair styling accessories- one must also be well-trained in its application, (3) well thought out wardrobe including several beautiful gowns by designers and (4) ONE significant talent to help one stand out from a batch of hundreds of contestants.
Did you ever feel discouraged in life and if so, what thoughts made you overcome those feelings?
Discouraged? NEVER! If something goes wrong for me, I am quick at moving on and finding something that is right. I don’t believe in dwelling in despair; my god, life is too short for that. To tell you a lesser known secret though, I sometimes consciously drown myself in sadness only at those times when I want to write some hard-core emo songs for my upcoming album (lol) other than that, nah! I just like to see the brighter side in life. That is just who I am.
Who do you admire the most & why?
I admire the values passed down by my parents the most. At the end of the day no matter what you become or where you go, it is the integrity, the teachings that one gets as a child that truly moulds a person. I can’t thank them enough for helping me become the person that I am today.
What does “success” mean to you?
Success is just an illusion. Happiness is the ultimate goal I seek. Pursuing my passion for music and writing makes me happy and that is all I need.
How do you keep fit? Please share with us some of your formula for a healthy lifestyle.
I guess you have come to the right person to ask that, as I only recently shed a good 8 kilos off of me haha. You see, I had always been a fit person, but then one day I watched the movie Step Up 2 and then I had to have those abs that the lead girl flaunted. Next 3 months in the gym and I was doomed. I gained more weight and I had set out to lose them. It took me a whole year of eating the right food and NOT-going to the gym but indulging in my regular games of basketball and a few running drills to get back into shape.
What is the proudest moment or the most memorable day of your life?
“You are only as good as your last achievement”- said a wise man and going by that, it has to be my winning the Miss Personality for Nepal at the Miss Tourism Pageant. Yes it was the proudest I had ever been of myself; a moment I shall cherish until my death.
What are your future plans?
Just continue doing the things I love like baking, playing basketball, singing, writing and joking around with pals and laughing a lot lot lot (lol). On a serious note, immediate plans are for a record album which I hope to release in the year 2013, as I was born on the 13th and my contestant number at Miss Nepal was 13. It’s just an important number for me. Let’s just see how that turns out.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
Ahhh… All that I have been blabbering about is already too much information. If I were the reader, I would be bored by now haha. But yeah, I would really like to say “thank you” for giving your time to read what I had to say. It means a lot. Also, one day I hope to come visit Australia; a huge fan of all Master Chef Australia episodes I wanna come there for the food and the picturesque sea shores that I have only gotten to see in well – pictures (lol). If you’re reading this as a Nepali from Australia, I really appreciate you making an effort to be in touch with updates from back home. Finally, thank you +977 for having me and thank you for hunting me down. Being in the media, not much media likes to cover me – it has to be that Tall poppy thingy eh! (Lol) So, really a genuine thank you to everyone. Wish you all a wonderful life ahead. Cheerio!