It was an unexpected win for the reigning Miss Cebu 2013. Namrata Neesha Murjani was surprised and elated upon hearing her name especially since her fellow contestants were equally beautiful and smart. But it turned out to be a night that changed her life.
Neesha Murjani, 20 year old Filipina-Indian, has always dreamt of becoming a beauty queen. Her mom even used to call her “Ms. U”. But as a kid, she experienced being on the wrong side of bullying. She openly dreamt of being a beauty queen one day, but was shot down by teasing and naysayers. Despite all some people bringing her down, Neesha continued to reach for her dream.
Last year, she joined Miss Mandaue and bagged the award for Best in Evening Gown, but she failed to impress the crowd during the Q&A. It became another burden on her especially after a few people dubbed her a dimwit. At first, she was greatly discouraged and thought of never joining pageants again. But after gathering her strength and making up her mind, she took another leap of faith by joining Miss Cebu 2013. Neesha proved all the naysayers wrong by winning the prestigious crown. ZeroThreeTwo caught up with her and asked about life after that memorable night.
032: In our previous interview, you told us you were the boyish type. How are you putting up with it now that you’re Miss Cebu?
Neesha: I think I have fully-bloomed and become really girlish. It’s a big transition since I was just used to wearing a loose shirt and shorts on regular days, but now, I have to dress up, wear heels and put a little make-up. It’s a big change from just wearing my uniform and combing my hair.
032: Did you ever have a sense that you were going to win Miss Cebu 2013?
Neesha: It was not even in my mind to be part of the top 5. I just prayed to God that I would be able to answer the Q& A well because that was my weakest point. When I joined Miss Mandaue, I didn’t get to place because of my Q&A. So that’s what I was fighting for during Miss Cebu. I wanted to answer the Q&A to prove to myself that I was capable of answering a question in front of everyone. After the first question, I didn’t think that I would be part of the top 5. I was just really hoping to win the Best in Evening Gown since Cary Santiago’s gown had a winning streak and I didn’t want to cut that. When my name was called as one of the top 5 finalists, I was so grateful and didn’t think of anything at all after that.
Neesha: Yes. I watched videos. My mom would also ask me questions and we had a family friend who helped me prepare. I realized that a lot of people believe in me so I really hoped to answer the question properly. I’m actually very talkative in class and with friends, but it’s just in the pageants that I fall into a blank state. I did plenty of preparation especially after my experience with Miss Mandaue. I took it seriously and I considered it a challenge.
032: How are you adjusting to life as Miss Cebu?
Neesha: I’m learning a lot about time management. I have to do well in school because I’m already in my Third year (Biology) and at the same time; I have to make sure I fulfil my duties as Miss Cebu.
032: Is Namrata Neesha Murjani getting a lot of suitors?
Neesha: None really. People tend to have this impression that I’m hard to reach because I’m Miss Cebu. When I’m in CDU, I’m very plain and simple so people are still surprised when they see me eat street food. I often get teased, “Ahh, Miss Cebu man!”
032: Are you planning to join any other pageants after this?
Neesha: I’m planning to join Binibining Pilipinas next year, but we’ll see. For now, that’s the plan.
032: How does one dream of becoming a beauty queen?
Neesha: When I was young, I was already fond of posing randomly with my yaya/yayo. When I was in highschool, I was challenged because I was always teased that I was the ugliest in class or that I couldn’t join the picture taking because I would destroy the photo. I always ended up being the photographer. On our yearbook we were asked what our ambition was, I said I wanted to be Miss Universe. They would ask me if I was sure because it seemed like an unattainable goal because of how I looked. I usually responded that I was only joking. I couldn’t express my desire because my friends told me I couldn’t become one. When I got in to the modelling industry, that’s when I realized that maybe it was possible.
Neesha: Do not let anyone stop you from reaching your goals because if you really have the will then you will succeed no matter how hard things get along the way. You will succeed if you don’t give up. You just have to keep believing.
After hearing Neesha Murjani’s story, I couldn’t help but compare it to the story of a duckling that got bullied into thinking that it was ugly. Only to prove everyone wrong by blooming into a beautiful swan. Neesha’s story is an inspiration to all the so called ugly ducklings out there.