After Miss World, Miss Earth, Miss International, and Miss Asia Pacific World, Nepal will now also be represented at the Miss Universe pageant, and the statuesque Nagma Shrestha will be the one to do so. To find the answers to many curious questions, Fr!day spoke with her about this. Let’s have a look what she has to say.

Miss Universe came as a surprise to many, how did it happen?

It just happened, though it took a lot of time. I always wanted to represent Nepal in Miss Universe. If I remember, it’s from the last five years that I wanted to be the representative for the Miss Universe pageant, but Nepal didn’t have the franchise for Miss Universe. So, since the last five years, I’ve been asking people about the ownership of this franchise in Nepal and the things related to this.

I also personally used to send lots of emails and messages to the organizers of Miss Universe, asking them to send details about the process to participate in this international pageant. Finally, when I went to the U.S. last year, I also went to meet the people at the Miss Universe organization and finished the first phase of talks, after which I spoke to The Hidden Treasure, since it’s the only organization which has the required standard of conducting beauty pageants in Nepal. They were also trying to get this franchise from a very long time; Prabhat Sir often told me about this. Our thinking matched, and this is how it officially started. We sent the proposal, and finally this year, we got the franchise and I’m participating.

This is the first time that Nepal will be participating in the Miss Universe pageant. How are you feeling about it? What is making you confident and what is making you nervous?

I’m realizing that dreams do come true, because I’d been visualizing about this very moment since so long, and I’ve realized that if you really work hard, your hard work surely pays off. So, I’m happy. I’m motivated to work even harder, since it’s because of the hard work that we got this franchise. And, now, if I put in extra hard work, we might get the crown, as well, and this is what I’m working on right now.

Nervousness ….umm ... Yes, I’m a little nervous, which is very normal, because it’s our first time and we have very little experience about what will happen there. But, nonetheless, though it’s our first time, I’m quite prepared, because there are so many people like my trainers, the designers, The Hidden Treasure, and my family, who all have been so supportive. It’s because of their moral support that I’m feeling quite excited at the moment.

Talking about my confidence, it’s because of the people behind me. I’d rather say, besides me. The Hidden Treasure itself has been super positive and supportive. Motivation from my trainers, my parents, and everyone else is really making me energetic. And, not only this, but I’ve also been receiving personal messages from young aspiring beauty queens saying that ‘Nagma di, you can do this’, and from the youngsters, not only in Nepal, but residing outside Nepal, as well. So, I guess this is not just for me I’m doing this, but I’m doing this for the whole Nepalese fraternity.

How do you plan to represent Nepal’s culture, landscape, and people on such a big platform?

Well, we’ve got a national costume round there. So, in that particular round, I along with my team will be trying our best to represent our culture through our costume. Besides that, since I was born and brought up in Nepal (including completion of my education), the culture, the religion, the principles that I got from my parents and from the society itself is inbuilt in me. So, of course, when I talk to people there and the contenders from 90 different parts of the world, I’ll be representing my country and my culture.

Tell us about your preparations. How is it going?

Right now, it’s going really crazy because of the last-minute preparations. I’ve got a really tight schedule. I wake up early in the morning, go for fitness training, then fittings, designers, then fashion trainers, for which I’ve got Sakil Kunwar as my trainer, with him, the make-up and hair for beauty pageants, walking, talking, training, everything. Then, during the evenings, I work out with my personal trainer, and then do exercise on questions and answers. There are lots of things going on. So, I’d say my training is going in a full-fledged manner.

Why should you be the next Miss Universe?

(Laughs). I feel like I’m in Miss Universe’s arena. Miss Universe is a woman who has substance, who knows what she wants in her life, who has visions in her life, and who equally works super hard to get what she envisions in her life. I believe that I have that quality to be and do my best in whatever way I can. I know I have that potential, and if I work hard, then I can meet that potential as well. Other than this, since it’s the first time in Miss Universe, I also want to show them that first timers are also strong contenders. Being a representative from Nepal, maybe pageant fans won’t be expecting too much, but considering the amount of preparation and the time I’ve put in … I’ve put my mind, my body, my soul everything in Miss Universe since so long … So, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be Miss Universe. So, I hope everything works out well.

You always look amazing in your photos, both professional and on social media. Any tips you’ve learned to take a good selfie?

I guess it’s a whole lot of practice. And you know, as people say, “Practice makes a person perfect”. Maybe the practice is shown in the photos (laughs). I guess that’s the reason.

What message would you give to the aspiring women out there, who dream to become Miss Nepal someday?

I would just tell them to keep dreaming high, to exceed their dreams, not to limit themselves to their self-boundaries. If you dream high and you work equally hard, everything is possible. But just don’t give up on yourself.

If not you, who would you say amongst all the Miss Nepal’s so far would be perfect to be crowned Miss Nepal Universe? Why?

I would say Ishani Shrestha. It’s because I see passion in her about beauty pageants, as the one who participates in it should have that passion about participating, and I see that passion in her.