Shillong, Dec 3: For the last 40 years, Fashion Society, Shillong (FSS) has been instrumental in grooming young talents to excel in various beauty pageants.
The Miss Shillong pageant has been a platform for showcasing beauty and talent among the young girls from different parts of Meghalaya. However, funds have been the main impediment for the FSS, which however continues to go beyond the traditional notions of beauty such as looks, weight and the like by providing platforms for women.
The society has also come up with titles Mrs Shillong and Miss Supermom to encourage and inspire single mothers of matrilineal Meghalaya.
On the sidelines of a media interaction with beauty queens groomed by the FSS, its chairman Aldous Mawlong said, “Our journey started in 1983. When we began this, it was more like an informal event, there was no grooming but we found that the girls need grooming because they come from different backgrounds so the level playing field means that everybody should have an opportunity to be groomed, to be taught how to walk, how to talk and even how to get over with stage fear.”
Mawlong said the Fashion Society, Shillong usually offers two months’ grooming sessions to contestants in order to bring them out of their comfort zone. “When they stand on stage they don’t see the crowd as hostile or menacing, they see them as friendly, cheering for them and then they give the best efforts, choosing the best words, framing the best sentences, putting on their best smile and it goes with the costumes, accessories, how they walk.”
“The grooming is not just about talking and walking, it is also about personality development and ultimately they have this leadership quality of how to face an interview when they go for jobs later so that puts them in a good stead and advantage,” Mawlong said.
On the supermom pageant, Mawlong said, “We did a lot of brainstorming. We find that a lot of single mothers, they have the ability to talk, walk, they have the beauty, they have the spirit so why not give them a platform because they are not just single moms, who have been abandoned, they have taken upon themselves to have a career and also maintain a balance with the family in the domestic front so that makes them superheroes. So we titled it as Ms Supermom.”
“From Miss Shillong, we also have Miss Small is beautiful for those who don’t make it, who don’t have the criteria. We’ve had Mrs Shillong, we’ve had plus size for those who are healthy then so on and so forth. We have these titles which are going side by side along with the Miss Shillong to give a platform for everybody. I will not let you know for next year we have a surprise, let it be a surprise and it will be something good”, he said.
“Inside every woman is a queen. So it is upto us to bring out that queen in each woman and stereotypes mean they only look at the skin or just height or the figure but then it goes beyond that, it goes where brain is concerned, where character is concerned, where empathy, sympathy plays a role – so it is an embodiment of a true woman in the true sense,” he said.
Chaivalry Lartang (Miss Shillong 2023)
On winning the prestigious titles, Chaivalry Lartang, who was crowned Miss Shillong 2023 said she was a little bit introvert and shy but after winning the title it has made her to come out of her comfort zone and have been able to inspire youths, who are shy like her. She urged the youth to dare to dream big and achieve it.
Jollyne Lyngdoh (Miss Cherry Blossom)
Happy after being crowned as Miss Cherry Blossom, Jollyne Lyngdoh said, “I want to convey this message to all the youths who doubt themselves and think that they are not good enough because I was in that position and to come out of that it takes a lot but you have to one day just come up and speak for yourself because if you do that I feel like you are going to be happy and you are going to live the life you always wanted to.”
Hazel Mukhim (Best traditional model)
17-year-old Hazel Mukhim says that she was feeling very proud after winning the title Best Traditional Model. “I feel proud because I got the chance to walk wearing the dhara, so I feel proud to walk the ramp and I feel proud to win,” she said.
Genevieve Pala (Ms Supermom)
Genevieve Pala, a mother of three children says being crowned Ms Supermom was a happy and blessed thing for her. “It was overwhelming to win this title and I think Supermom is a title which will inspire a lot of mothers. Being a single parent is not easy. A lot of hardship and obstacles in life I am facing but then yes, I overcome them all,” she said.
Evangel Lartang ( Mrs North East 2023)
Evangel Lartang, a pharmacist by profession and a mother of a two-year-old daughter, was crowned as Mrs Northeast India 2023. She says it was quite tough to compete with women from different states of the region.
“It was quite a journey and I have learnt a lot from my co-contestants,” she said.