This time I am with Aliza Rajan who represented Kenya in the Miss India Worldwide Beauty Pageant in 2015. Born in Mombasa, grew up in Tanzania and then went back to Nairobi, this beautiful soul has graduated with a major in Psychology and a minor in International Relations. She also has her very own clothing line and recently co-founded an event company. She is a firm believer in charity as it is salient to give back to the less fortunate. From a girl-next-door to an international beauty pageant, Aliza Rajan shares with us all her experiences in this exclusive interview with her.
So here we start:
Jessica: How was your life before entering the Miss India Worldwide contest and how is it now?
Aliza: Wow. Just the other day, I was thinking of how much my life has changed since the Miss India Worldwide contest. Before the contest, I lived a pretty simple life and I was only focused on graduating and staying within the field of psychology and possibly venturing into child psychology. No one really knew who I was apart from the people within my social circle. However, after the contest, I was presented with countless offers and opportunities. I grew as an individual; I became a lot more confident and vocal. I was presented with the opportunity for self-growth and above all, self-love. I realized that I am capable of making a difference with or without a crown. Although, I wouldn’t say that it’s all been a smooth journey after gaining the title. It also came with hardships. You tend to be judged and criticized for everything you do. I also lost a lot of relationships along the way and at times, I wouldn’t even know who my real friends were anymore.
Jessica: Your education is completely different from what you are doing now. How did you decide that modelling is for you?
Aliza: When I was in school, my sister encouraged me to do a photo shoot for fun and so I did with Riz Mehar who is now my mentor and close friend. I never took it seriously though until after the Miss India Worldwide contest, that’s when I started to realize that this is what I love to do.
Jessica: As you represented Kenya in a Miss India contest, describe the India you know.
Aliza: The India I know is a beautiful and vibrant country. A place full of happiness, love and a burst of culture and religions. The people of India stay strong and rooted in their culture and heritage despite westernization.
Jessica: Describe your Miss India Worldwide journey.
Aliza: The journey was incredible. It started off with a cocktail meet and greet for all the contestants where we were presented with our sashes, gifts and schedules. The next few days entailed hours of intense training. We learnt the choreography for the finale and we were coached on all aspects of pageantry in less than one week. One day, we spent 12 hours rehearsing followed by fittings for an Africa night fashion show! Competing in a pageant takes so much energy and dedication. One of the most important things I learnt through it all is that human beings put so much stress on winning and losing that we fail to recognize the lesson in everything. The lesson is what matters; it is how you win after a loss and how you will keep winning despite a loss.
Jessica: Who motivated you to enter this international contest?
Aliza: My family. Even at times when I felt doubtful, they stuck by my side and encouraged me to give it my best. My family held my hand throughout this journey.
Jessica: Your modelling photo shoots are sensual, amazing, exceptional, marvelous and the finest. How much hard work does it take to complete one project? Which photo shoot was the hardest?
Aliza: Thank you so much! Most people fail to realize that modeling is a job and it does require hard work. It isn’t just standing around looking glamorous; it requires a lot of strength, coordination and the ability to handle working under pressure. Some projects take hours whereas some are short and sweet; it all depends on the type of project. The hardest one so far was wearing a dress in really cold water and trying to maintain poses with a calm facial expression. And trust me, it’s hard to look composed when your teeth are chattering!
Jessica: At the contest, Indians from all over the globe came in to give their best. Did you have any nervous moments?
Aliza: Definitely. I was most nervous on the cocktail meet and greet when I first met all the contestants, they were all so gorgeous and poised! Although, it ended up being a good evening as we all came together as a family. I also recall being so nervous before getting on stage for the introduction round during the finale and one of the contestants hugged me so tight and told me to go give it my best.
Jessica: How would you re-act is you are approached for a Bollywood movie opposite Siddharth Malhotra?
Aliza: I’m head over heels for Siddharth Malhotra! The first thing I’d do is call my best friend in Vancouver so we could do our happy dance! I’d be thrilled to work with someone so charming.
Jessica: Will you re-locate to India if you get any projects in the television industry/Bollywood?
Aliza: Most definitely. Especially now that I’m done with my undergrad. India is one of my favorite places and I would love to stay there doing what I love to do!
Jessica: When was the last time you visited India?
Aliza: Just a few months before the contest. I hope to be visiting sometime this year too. I absolutely love everything about the India; the atmosphere, the shopping, the food and the people!
Jessica: You have a healthy and fit body. What exercise regime and diet plan do you follow?
Aliza: In all honesty, I don’t follow a diet plan nor do I have an exercise regime. I believe in balance when it comes to eating the right and wrong foods and I keep fit with activities that I enjoy such as Zumba or walks with my dog, Paris.
Jessica: Have you ever had a celebrity-fan moment where your fan approached you for an autograph/selfie? How did you feel about yourself that time?
Aliza: I’ve had lots of selfie moments! Once in a while, even at times when I’m just running errands. It feels ecstatic knowing someone wants to take a selfie with me.
Jessica: There are many people you inspire. What message would you like to give them?
Aliza: Never be afraid to dream a little bigger. Thank you so much for all your love and support, sending hugs from Kenya!
– Jessica Pancholi