Nabina Basnet is a well-known Nepali model and media personality currently living in Virginia. She won the second runner-up title at the Miss Nepal US(A) beauty pageant in 2011. She was co-chair of ANA Fashion Extravaganza 2012 and worked as the Director Of Public Relations at this year’s Miss Nepal US 2013 beauty pageant held in New York.
This year’s Miss Nepal US (third) pageant was a grand success but there were many rumors and controversies surrounding the organizers of the pageant, specially regarding the first and second Miss Nepal US pageant held in 2011 and 2012 respectively. We asked Nabina to share with us her experience as a contestant two years ago and also as one of the organizers of the pageant this year. This is what she had to say.
1. Why did you participate in Miss Nepal US (A) 2011?
– I have always been fascinated by beauty pageant. The contestants and their way of carrying themselves in public with poise, grace and confidence; the way one has to be able to answer any given question on spot challenging their intellectuality and confidence has always attracted me towards beauty pageants. So basically for me it was a challenge/an opportunity to enhance myself. When I heard Miss Nepal US is taking place for the first time in America for Nepali girls residing here, I was more than thrilled to be a part of it, not caring if I would lose or win, I was there to experience it first hand and to be honest the experience wasn’t that great!
2. When you say experience wasn’t that great, what do you exactly mean by that?
– Well, when I was a participant in 2011, I already had an experience of doing various shows or working for an organization. So, there were few things that I raged about, which were: (As a participant view, that very year)
I. Walking everyday from the hotel to the training venue.
II. Unmanaged time schedule of trainings, sometimes it would start at 9 in the morning, and sometimes around 11.
III. We girls were divided into 3 groups to perform a dance, and half of the day would go by dancing in the song which I thought was quite inappropriate since we weren’t there to dance, rather we were there to learn and grow as a person. We were promised an outfit for each performance we had to dance on, but later we had to perform in Miss Nepal US T-shirt & jeans. I thought we were to be chosen based on how we will present ourselves on the Grand Finale Night, not through a group dancing, for god sake, so half of our training was a plain waste of time.
IV. Some nights we had to take the subway to go dine in the restaurant, I didn’t mind taking the subway but it was again the time management. By the time, we would get back to the hotel, it would be midnight or sometimes 1ish, and then we had to wake up early the next morning if not we would be mad scolded by one of the trainer, which I thought was quite disrespectful.
V. The Green Room- It was made like a tent made outside of the hotel where we would have to walk there crossing the backstage, and there were no lights for us to get ready! Rest, you can imagine the chaos!
These are all the important things, I could think of while I write this, but I must say in every field as a human, we make mistakes, and we learn from it. Hence, since it was the very first time the Miss Nepal US pageant was being held, I do not have any complains for the organizing committee of 2011 because at the end this organization has given all the winners a great platform to be the recognized in the Nepali or even the American community, to showcase their talents and to make a difference.
3. One of the rumors entitled to your name was your family member paid the organizers to make you a runner up, how true is that?
– Allow me to smirk; now it surprises me how people can come up with such things? If my family member needed to pay to make me a runner up, I would rather have them give away money to make me the title winner (This is a joke), or some good cause. If I won it, I deserved it with all my passion and backbreaking work. My brother and few friends were there to cheer for me on the finale night, not to replace my name on a piece of paper. Let me clarify this, not a single person who came as a supporter knew any of the organizers. Period!
4. Why is a beauty pageant like Miss Nepal US important for Nepali girls?
– In my personal opinion, I think almost half of the Girl population whether be it a Nepali woman or any other nationalities, they dream to be a beauty Queen (Not speaking for everyone), not meaning one has to participate in pageants such as Miss Nepal US to prove their intellectual ability, but grabbing such opportunities to widen your knowledge on public speaking, personality development, image development, intensifying your ability to talk with confidence, or even walk and sit with the correct posture. These are all the challenges the participant faces, while undergoing the training session. Therefore, for me, pageant like Miss Nepal US is important for all the reasons I mentioned above. Whether you win or lose, you go back home being the better you, you’re taking the memories and new friends home that you’ll cherish forever in your life.
5. You were one of the winners of the pageant in 2011. How did winning the title affect your day-to-day life? Please share with us what you were expecting as a contestant and how things turned out when you won – Good or Bad?
– Winning hasn’t at all affected my daily life back then or even now. Either, you’re a beauty queen or not, every girl has to do their household chores, do laundry, wash dishes, and so on. Being a Beauty Queen shouldn’t be the sole goal for any girl. There are much more things to achieve, bigger ambition to strive for. As a contestant, I was not expecting anything at all, like I said, I took part to experience to feel how it would be like to be a part of such pageant. I had zero expectations from myself or from the organizers, but it feels/felt good to be a winner, when you’re known well in the community, when people acknowledge you with respect. But again, there are some people who will admire you for your achievement and some who would look for every single chance to pull you down, to spread negativity about you. The only bad thing I have experienced, by being a public figure is reading and hearing things which I, myself am not aware about. They make me laugh. They also make me wonder why people can’t utilize their time to do something good, to be a better person. They need to realize that sitting behind the computer to write absurdness, they’re losing their time and energy.
6. You participated as a contestant on the same pageant few years ago and this year you were one of the organizing team member. Why did you join the team? How was your experience different from when you were a contestant v/s now as part of the organizing team?
– When I was called to be a part of the team as a board member, I instantly said yes. There were no backing out, there were no second thoughts. Of course, the experience is a lot more different when you’re just a participant, you only tend to think or prepare yourself at the best to be the winner by beautifying your every gesture or knowledge. But when you’re an organizer, it’s not about you anymore, its about the team work, planning, argument, conclusion, its about the participants, sponsors, venue and much more that goes behind the show. I joined the team for numerous reasons. Few of which were, at first, there was an antagonist (or small number of group), compassing unethical hoax about few of the team members. Second, I needed to make sure that the team including myself do not repeat the same mistakes that were taking place for the last two years. Whether as a participant in 2011, or an ambassador in 2012, I exactly knew what improvement we needed to input. Thus, no matter how many hurdles, We (the team) had to face, we never gave up. Relatively, we took it as a challenge, and yes we got succeeded.
7. Please share with us your overall experience of organizing a grand show like Miss Nepal US 2013? What were your main challenges and how did you overcome them to organize such a successful show?
– Not one, not two, not three, not five, nor there were only ten obstacles. Everything, I mean everything was a challenge for us. There weren’t many who wanted to support us because of the negativity going around. The team members were quitting, god knows for what reasons, and we were only left with few. When I had to make a call at the initial stage to all the finalist, I had to face countless question, which our finalist totally deserved to know. There were rumors much before the show that one of the participant has been selected as the winner already which was a mock. How in the world, can someone win without delivering their talent in front of the judges, or surpassing the training. Although, it was a joke for me, I had hard time convincing the participants, even their parents, I would spend hours talking to them on the phone, promising them a fair and by far the best possible show of Miss Nepal US 2013.
8. There were many controversial stories regarding the pageant and its organizers circulating across various media before the event. What was your personal experience as an organizer regarding those accusations?
– I would want to say, it’s a straight Yellow Journalism without any facts. It was a conspiracy. Sure, it did make quite a news around the globe. But, those who accused us, by mentioning names, it was all due to plain jealousy, that’s all I have to say. If they knew, the sub-titles were promised, and the winners were chosen much ahead of the Grand Finale, what stopped them to wait for one year? What made them still work in the team? The funny thing is, I was not even an organizer last year, I was an ambassador and I went to the event at the middle of the week (training period) to help by whatever means I can. I do not know why my name was being dragged for no particular reason. We have proven all the accusations, by delivering the marvelous show, but I still want to make a statement by writing, “We live in a free country, and anyone can write anything, being an anonymous or with their own identification, if some people, who created a violence about Miss Nepal US thinks, what they wrote was true to every extent, please come with a full-proof, let’s deal it like an adult, we will face it in the court, whether we win or we lose, we will do it legitimately, by law, not through some blogs, remarking the personal harassment, let’s make it a fair deal.”
9. How did your team handle all the accusations?
– Well, we’re all an educated grown-up, it didn’t affect us that much. We believed in a proverb, “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” By Winston Churchill. We were there to support each other at every down phases of our journey. We laughed, we made fun of each other, we worked with our heart and soul, we had sleepless nights, and here we are proving our leadership by being a backbone of one another.
10. How do you deal with all the negative comments about your personal life?
– The easy way to deal with it is to laugh about it, however as a human I do break down when it reaches the point I cannot take it anymore. It does feel horrible and my heart-breaks a little to read or hear things I have never committed. But, I do not need to prove the world, what kind of person I am, what have I done or not. My family, my loved ones, my friends knows the struggles, the initial stage, and my journey, my situations, and that’s all I worry about, to always be person I was yesterday, and that I am today.
11. Do you want to share any words for those people?
– Yes, I want to plead those people who feed in their ego by writing nonsensical issues about someone else’s daughter, sister, or wife. Ponder, how would you feel if you read depressing comments about someone you all love, someone who you cherish to have in your life. We all die one day, the goal isn’t to live forever, but to create something that will. Until we live, let’s live it with love. Love is the only hope that makes us alive, not hate.
[Editor’s Note: The views/answers presented in this post are exact words sent to us by Nabina Basnet via email and do not represent the views of the author or TexasNepal in any way.]