In their constant attempt to ‘make the youth mingle’, the Zoroastrian community has come up with yet another all-Parsi event- the May Queen Ball, the annual beauty pageant that will be held this Sunday.
Come Sunday night and half the Zoroastrian community will head to Rustam Baug to attend the community’s most famous beauty contest- The May Queen Ball, which is in its 13th year now. It is a beauty pageant for Zoroastrian girls. Funded entirely by the Bombay Parsi Panchayat. Fifteen girls will take the ramp this year and vie for the title of the ‘May Queen 2006’.
Currently the girls are undergoing a grooming course, to prepare them for D-day. Hutoxi Doodhwala, the chief co-ordinator behind the event, is keeping no stone unturned to ensure that the girls put their best step forward, literally! While most girls are from Mumbai, there are contestants from Surat, Navsari and Pune too.
All aged between 17 and 20, the girls have no prior experience in modelling and for many of them, this will be the first time they set foot on stage. Giggling and nudging each other, some were self-conscious, but several moved around with ease and poise.
“Earlier we used to take even on-the-spot entries but since a couple of years we have started 10-day grooming sessions to help the girls be prepared better. They assemble here in the mornings; where everyday they have different sessions. In the afternoon, they head to Mickey Mehta’s, Health Beyond Fitness at Hughes Road, where undergo physical transformation, mind potential development and spiritual empowerment,” said Hutoxi.
Besides the physical training, the girls are also taught how to do their own hair and makeup. Shermeen Jal, a fashion designer, advises the contestants on what they should wear on stage, which colours suit their body types and so on. The contenders have to wear their own clothes but are free to ask for advice from the organisers.
One of the more exciting sessions the contestants had was a ballroom dancing session with Sandip Soparrkar, who taught them how to move elegantly and in style.
“We give the contestants a soup, salad and sandwich lunch everyday and tell them what to eat otherwise. The main purpose of this event is to give Parsi girls a platform to showcase their talents. They can overcome their inhibitions by participating in a contest like this. The first thing I told the girls was to remember the things they learn in these few days for the rest of their life. Here they learn all about finesse, composure and manners,” said Hutoxi.
The judges of the contest haven’t been decided as yet but will comprise of the BPP trustees and some celebrities. The prizes total to more than Rs 50,000 and there all participants will be given attractive gift hampers as well. Sunday night will see the lush lawns of Rustam Baug be transformed into a sea of lights and a huge ramp, erected especially for the competition.
According to Hutoxi, “I would even like to start similar grooming sessions for boys so that we can have a contest for them.” Talking about the contest again, she said, “I keep telling the contestants that it is not about physical attributions. It’s the overall personality that counts.
We have contestants who are short as well as tall. We drill into them that this is not a rat race. A little competitiveness is fine but it shouldn’t turn into bitter rivalry. It beats the very purpose of this competition. It is held to help the youth mingle with each other.”
So if you want to go cheer these beauties, head to the Rustam Baug Pavilion this Sunday. Don’t forget to buy your passes from the venue beforehand though. It’s usually sold out!