Indulge Miss Glam World 2018: The first international beauty pageant in India in 22 years
Through the haze of theatrical smoke, models walked on the runway. As these exquisite contestants from 39* countries posed to showcase their national costumes, thunderous applause rose to a crescendo from a packed audience. It was an evening of elegance and unparalleled beauty. Every rapt face seated at the sold-out venue—be it of royalty, actors, designers, musicians, media personalities, socialites, or politicians was dressed to impress. Thus began the grand finale of this celebration of beauty, sophistication, and intelligence called Indulge Miss Glam World 2018, presented by The New Indian Express.
At the culmination of this seven-day celebration which featured grooming, yoga, fitness, diction, talent, and skin care sessions, these gorgeous women were continuously evaluated by our international panel of judges. This committee included entertainment industry bigwig Marcel Arnolat Salazar (Spain), Slovakian supermodel and Miss Universe contestant Marcela Sevcikova, founder of the World Peace and Diplomacy Organisation Sir GD Singh, Miss India Asia Pacific winner Srishti Rana, and Taiwan-based pageant specialist Christine Huang, who is affectionately known as ‘The Mother of All Pageants’.
The second round of the extravaganza, where the numbers of competitors dwindled from 39 to 15, was the ‘Red Cocktail’ session, where our esteemed panel of experts interacted with the models via a Q&A session. The gorgeous women stunned both the attendees and the panel with their insightful and poignant replies.
The air was rife with anticipation prior to the final round of Indulge Miss Glam World 2018, as seven of the top 15 contestants were about to be knocked off. To mix things up and lighten the mood, the organisational team behind the fete, Pegasus Event Production, interspersed these sessions with a blitzkrieg of cultural performances featuring: Peruvian choreographer Maria Laura Valdez; Kochi’s Volcano Dance Company; and the multi-lingual singer-dancer duo of Saleel Salim and Geo Naz, who left the ‘up-for-it’ audience yearning for more.
Soon, the final eight contestants representing Tajikistan, India, South Africa, Kenya, Venezuela, Philippines, Mexico, and Moldova, donned white designer gowns and took to the ramp for the last round. In a touching move— the young models who had bonded over the past week despite the cultural differences and language barriers, held each other’s hands, to showcase their camaraderie. To initiate the crowning ceremony, the Chief Guest of the evening, model and actor Isha Talwar, who will soon be seen on-screen in National Award-winning director Hardik Pandya’s Kaamyaab, took the stage alongside His Excellency Shaikh Khalifa bin Daij Al Khalifa from the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Finally, under a torrent of confetti, our judges revealed that Mexico’s Estefania Chavez Garcia was to be crowned the winner. Isha Talwar placed the glowing tiara on the beaming Estefania, thereby heralding her as the Indulge Miss Glam World 2018. The first-ever beauty pageant presented by The New Indian Express also witnessed Fahima Kulow Muhumed Abdi from Kenya and Aileena Catherine Amon from India claim the first and second-runner up spots respectively. All three winners were also adjudged World Peace Ambassadors.
*Though originally conceived with 40 models from 40 nations, one of the participants couldn’t gain the necessary visa permit.
The most ambitious pageant yet
"During the past decade, I’ve organised close to four different beauty pageants every year. But, Indulge Miss Glam World presented by The New Indian Express was my most ambitious undertaking yet! The fact that an international celebration of this calibre hasn’t occurred in the country in the past 22 years, is a testament to my team’s hard work and determination."— Ajit Ravi, Pegasus
MEET THE WINNERS...
There’s no rest for the wicked. That phrase struck a chord with us, as all the models packed up right after the event and headed to Courtyard by Marriott Kochi for dinner at a chic after-party, before catching their flights out of the country. We sat down for a quick chat, between the revelry, with the lovely trio who took home the tiaras.
Aileena C Amon (India)
Despite acing top shows like Midukki and acting in films like Tharangam, India’s Aileena Catherin Amon explains that she’d never received this level of international exposure prior to Indulge Miss Glam World 2018. “It was like seeing the whole world at the same time. There were so many instances of cultural exchange, it’s mind-boggling. I realise, at some level, we are all one and the same, and I have made some friends for life at this pageant,” says the 27-year-old. She adds, “I also realise, I live a blessed life after finding out about the hardships that some of the girls had to overcome to participate.”
Estefania C Garcia (Mexico)
Miss Glam World 2018
“I know a title like this comes with a lot of responsibilities. I hail from the coastal state of Sonora and the whole world knows we have our fair share of troubles. So, believe me when I say I’m ready to take on this role of World Peace Ambassador,” stated 24-year-old Estefania Garcia, who began modelling barely six years ago. The Indulge Miss Glam World 2018 title winner and CrossFit enthusiast shares that besides running her own modelling agency, she will continue her work with Mexican NGOs which specialise in helping youngsters from troubled backgrounds.
Fahima K Abdi (Kenya)
Fahima Kulow Muhumed Abdi was one of the youngest girls in Africa to gain a private pilot license, at the age of 18. “A year later, I have become a runner-up at Indulge Miss Glam World 2018. I feel blessed,” beamed the Kenyan, who runs the charity group, Fahima Foundation, to help disabled kids, orphans and refugees. “Despite my orthodox upbringing, my family supported me. Now, I will try and obtain a commercial pilot’s license, to start supporting my family and community. It’s a journey from one runway to another runway,” she says.
MEET THE JUDGES...
Marcel Arnolat Salazar | Spain
From performing live music in the nightclubs of Venezuela in the 1980s to becoming one of the most influential Latin TV programme producers, Marcel Salazar has come a long way. “During this 35-year journey, I have also participated in over 2,000 entertainment and glamour industry events! So yes, you could say I’m something of an expert when it comes to beauty pageants,” said Salazar, who currently works and lives out of Spain. The World Top Model and Miss Bikini Universe organiser added that he was pleasantly surprised at the amount of professionalism and talent showcased by the participants at the debut edition of Indulge Miss Glam World 2018.
Christine Huang | Taiwan
As the CEO of Golden International Corporation, Christine Huang is one of the foremost names in the Asian beauty pageant circles. When asked about being referred to as ‘The Mother of All Pageants’ Huang responded with a smile. “Yes, that’s what they call me. It’s probably because I am a part of at least one pageant every month,” shared Huang, adding that this year alone she’s already had events in China, Singapore, Taiwan, Mexico, and Armenia. “Each pageant is different, but Indulge Miss Glam World 2018 has left a permanent mark on my tour calendar,” she added.
Marcela Sevcikova | Slovakia
A native of Partizanske, supermodel Marcela Sevcikova’s first career milestone was gaining a top spot in the Slovakian edition of the Miss Earth pageant in 2009. After conquering runways in Milan and Paris, the 27-year-old ended up staying in India after marrying Mumbai-based model/actor Shawar Ali. Before participating on the panel for Indulge Miss Glam World 2018, Marcela was seen on-screen in the hit reality TV show, Power Couple.
Shrishti Rana | India
It’s not often that one finds a journalism graduate who found global success on the ramp. However, Faridabad-based Shrishti Rana surprised the modelling industry by winning the title of Miss Asia Pacific at Busan in 2013, beating 49 contestants. As the showstopper for designers including Manish Malhotra, Anju Modi, and Rohit Bal, this 25-year-old University of Delhi alumna brought a wealth of modelling expertise to our judging panel.
Sir GD Singh | India
Sir GD Singh is a global management consultant, author, and a renowned World Peace advocate. “Ajit Ravi, the organiser behind the event, made sure that all the models participating met the selection criteria and industry standards,” claimed Singh, who has been a part of Lakme Fashion Week in the past.