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Exclusive! Nikita Tanwani: Model, Miss India, & Pageant Coach's Inspiring Journey

The remarkable journey of Nikita Tanwani, as she shares her insights on beauty standards, self-acceptance, and her mission to normalize mental health conversations.

Nikita Tanwani,Nikita Tanwani  insights on beauty

Nikita Tanwani: Model, Miss India, & Pageant Coach's Inspiring Journey

Photo Credit: Nikita Tanwani

  • Nikita Tanwani: From IT to Miss India
  • Nikita reflecting on her inspiring journey
  • Empowering women beyond pageantry

Nikita Tanwani, a model, former Miss India Andhra Pradesh, content creator, and pageant coach, is a versatile personality whose career spans various domains. With a passion for modeling and a dedication to empowering others in the pageant world, Nikita has carved a unique path for herself. In this exclusive conversation, she talks about her remarkable journey, sharing insights into her experiences, challenges, and aspirations. From her mission to normalize conversations around mental health to her determination to uplift aspiring models, Nikita's story is one of determination, inspiration, and making a lasting impact.

Your journey from a BITS Pilani graduate with a stable IT job to Miss India Andhra Pradesh is inspiring. Can you share the moment that made you decide to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?

As a teenager, and probably even before that, I was always fascinated by the pictures of supermodels and actresses. I suppose it stemmed from the desire to be everything that I felt I wasn't - which was both glamorous and self-assured. However, the turning point when all of these dreams started to seem like a realistic possibility was when I came across a picture of a college senior of mine walking in a fashion show in Pune. I was under the impression that 23 was too late to begin, but that one post was all I needed to get going - a sign that it's possible. And that's why I encourage so many women to this date - get started - no matter where you are.

When you didn't make it to the top 15 during the pageant, I remember you being so disappointed but look at you now!! You turned that setback into motivation. When you look back at that day, what's the first thought that comes to your mind? And how did you find the strength to keep pushing forward in your journey?

It was a tough day, that one. The disappointment was even more because my parents were there to see me on stage for the first time as they hadn't been able to come for the zonal crowning, and I felt like I'd failed them. My first thought, now in hindsight - I'm glad it happened. I've always bounced back stronger from rejections - I guess that's what the innate need to be the best does to you. Not getting a chance to speak that day on stage is what fueled me to begin a YouTube channel - so that nobody could take away the power of my voice from me again, and it's that self-reliance that has been the foundation of who I am today.

Being a Miss India finalist is a remarkable achievement in itself. How did this experience shape your perspective on beauty standards and self-acceptance?

Being able to witness and be among the decision-makers of the fate of so many young women representing beauty in diverse forms definitely opened up my eyes to both - how far we've come in accepting beauty - but also that we have scope for progress. And it's up to us to bring that change rather than rely on anybody else to do it for us. Being a Miss India finalist gave me a platform that only made me more responsible for what I put out on social media. I grew up feeling less about myself because of the perfection I saw on glossy papers, and I didn't want another young girl to feel that way because of me now. So I try my best to share my vulnerabilities, lessons I've learned along the way, and how self-acceptance is a journey that has its ups and downs.

Congratulations on your marriage and the move to New York! Tell us how married life is treating you. What's the biggest change you have witnessed after marriage?

Thank you so much! Married life has been a completely new experience, and as much as I thought I could have prepared for it - I guess life has a way of teaching you the lessons you need the most. For me, it's the acceptance that it's okay to not be entirely self-sufficient. I've struggled with leaning on people and asking for help, and marriage is a lot of codependency that I wasn't prepared for. Fortunately, I'm married to someone who understands my independent streak, and we fuel each other's ambitions.

In addition to your modeling career, you now run a successful pageant training academy. Could you share some valuable tips for aspiring pageant contestants on confidence, presence, and self-expression?

What I've learned from my experiences in modeling and pageantry is that confidence is 90% preparation and 10% perception. Know yourself very well, know your value, and know the difference between people-pleasing and adapting to the situation. Practice this consistently, and I believe you'll have a stronger sense of self and a stronger presence in every room.

As a pageant coach, what qualities do you believe are essential for success in the pageant world, beyond just physical appearance?

In my opinion, it's crucial for a pageant contestant to know her purpose and what her end goal is when she steps into pageantry. Success can mean different things to different people, but if you haven't defined it before you compete in a pageant, it's possible the pageant will start defining you. So, self-awareness and a strategic plan for what you're about to do during your reign are essential for success in the pageant world - and that can happen with or without the crown.

Starting a YouTube channel is a bold move. How do you balance sharing your personal journey while maintaining privacy and authenticity?

I never really thought too much about either of those things, to be honest - all of my content has come quite organically depending on what phase of life I'm in. Authenticity has never been something I had to consciously work on - maybe because I don't know any other way. The same goes for privacy. For me, YT has always been about building a community and not about hitting a certain number of subscribers. If faster growth comes at the cost of a balance of those things, I'd rather go slow and steady than burn out because I really love what I do and I want to be able to do it for as long as I can.

You discuss mental health on your channel. How has your own journey influenced your advocacy for mental well-being within the entertainment industry?

Having struggled with mental health since before it was even a term, it is something I understood was important to talk about when I had a platform. The entertainment industry, where you are judged every single day and face rejection for reasons beyond your control, only highlighted the need for the conversation around it to be normalized. Through my content, I aim to give people hope, and a sense of belonging, and, lastly, I do believe that the most genuine motivational words are the ones that you need to hear yourself that day.

Your journey involves both glitz and grit. Can you tell us about a moment of vulnerability or doubt you've faced and how you overcame it?

There have been so many moments of doubt. It's been a roller coaster of a ride with how life has un for me over the last unfolded of years. I suppose one such moment was when I decided to quit my corporate job during the lockdown to dedicate all of my time to YouTube. But I still think - the doubt wasn't inside me - it was only outside of me, and it's like they say - you know what your heart truly desires when the coin is mid-air. That and the belief that I can make every decision a good one, no matter what - that's how I overcome every doubt.

What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the fashion and entertainment industry, particularly those who may not conform to traditional beauty norms?

Don't listen to the external noise. The entertainment industry is looking for anything but traditional - so own your uniqueness. When you know what you bring to the table, you'll stand taller, and that confidence will open doors that you didn't even know existed. Also, you're not meant to fit in everywhere, so you should find where you fit best because modeling is such a diverse field.

Running your academy is impressive. Could you share a memorable success story of one of your students and the impact your coaching had on their journey?

I've been fortunate to have played a role in several success stories. One that is closest to my heart is that of a girl who lost both her parents at a young age and grew up with her relatives. She had spent her entire life trying not to burden them with her big dreams because it'd be an additional expense. She took online training sessions with me eventually, but she put in the work day in and day out. She's accomplished so much in the last year or so. Now every time she walks the ramp, I feel like such a proud parent, and these stories are what drive me to get up and coach and keep giving back. (Not naming her for her privacy).

Beyond the glamour, what are some challenges you've faced in the industry that people might not be aware of? How did you overcome them?

There are a lot of challenges that come with the profession. As a model, I have struggled with fair pay, transparency with agents, and a lot more. As a bootstrapped entrepreneur, there are innumerable questions and fires to put out almost every single day. When you're giving constantly, people often misconstrue your intentions, and sometimes even try to take advantage of it. Some obstacles I deal with and some are lessons for the future. If you're not failing at something, you're not moving forward, right?

Having achieved so much, what's a long-term goal you're currently working towards that you're most excited about?

Ummm - this gets me all giddy! There are so many goals! I'm such a list-maker and goal-oriented person - I want to start a product line, I want to become an author, I want to do a Conquer Tour someday, and I want to walk in NYFW soon. Having just one goal is not my style, haha!

Your journey is quite inspiring! Can you share a mantra or philosophy that keeps you motivated during challenging times?

I'm an INFJ personality type, and a lot of decisions I make are intuitive, followed through with sheer willpower. My mantra is ‘minimize regret,' and that answers every question I face during challenging times.

With your diverse experiences, what legacy do you hope to leave in both the entertainment industry and your role as a mentor and coach?

I've always been a huge bookworm, so inevitably, I look at life through a writer's lens. And because I want to be an author someday, I guess I am working on creating a life worth writing about someday. I suppose that's what leaving a legacy means to me. It's what you leave for future generations to get inspired by and create their destinies and ultimately, their legacies! Mine will stay with the women who come after me, and they will forge their paths - with or without a crown.

Also Read: Ankush Bahuguna Reveals How to Apply Makeup without the Use of Many Makeup Brushes

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