Often, people think beauty and brains don’t go together, but that’s a thinking the gorgeous Niharika Pathak beautifully crushes.
For her, aspiring to wear a beauty crown doesn’t mean abandoning her engineering degree.
While studying in the prestigious Bits Pilani (Birla Institute of Technology and Science), this 21-year-old Dubai girl is slowly finding a foothold in the glamour world with her first-ever appearance in a beauty pageant, making it to the top 10 at the recently held Miss India Worldwide pageant in Abu Dhabi.
Despite being in her final year in engineering college, she has made remarkable headway on the ramp with her act at the Miss India Worldwide. It isn’t easy to balance books and fashion, she concurs, but one that’s she’s determined to do.“It’s tough, no doubt, but I really want to do both,” stated Niharika, who represented Oman in the pageant.
Niharika represented Oman, while Priya D’Silva was selected to represent Bahrain and Sanna Monga for the UAE at the pageant that saw 40 Indian beauties from across the globe competing for the title.
Although it was engineering that got her from Bhopal to Dubai, it is in this desert city that she discovered her fondness for modelling. What started as a fun way to earn extra pocket money soon turned into a passion of sorts.
“I discovered that I was a natural in front of the camera, and enjoyed being there.”
She’s always had a penchant for dancing, and modelling turned out to be just the obvious next step.
“I had been offered small modelling assignments, and realised that I really enjoyed the spotlight,” she confesses, adding that she’s the face of UAE exchange and has also modelled for other reputable UAE brands like Tia jewellery.
Her parents have backed her wholeheartedly, she says, adding that they’ve never asked her to choose books over the ramp. “My parents have never stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do. Whether it was engineering or sports, or modelling, I was always encouraged to explore my potential.”
This explains how she secured 80% in her Grade 12 exams (in the Indian board exams), while excelling on the athletic field with a silver medal. She’s also a good basketball player, and claims it’s her passion for sports that allows her to maintain her slender figure without compromising her college work for extreme gym regiments.
That’s not all, Niharika also boasts of being able to fly “solo microlight 701 stol”. “I’ve got a pilot licence for it,” she beams.
While academics and fashion require varied skill-sets and training, Niharika reveals she’s gifted to handle both, and wouldn’t want to give up either. And, is determined to work hard towards balancing both.
“Beauty pageant,” she adds, “isn’t about looking thin and pretty. It’s also about the grooming, and that’s what I have been focusing on. The key is to be smart.”
While Niharika did not win the beauty crown this year, she’s not disheartened by it. “I want to attempt it again next year, and rectify all the mistakes I committed this year. Something did go wrong, and I want to set it right.”
The experience, however, is something that she cherishes deeply. “There were girls from all over the world, and it was fun interacting with them and learning about new lifestyles. It gave me memories of a lifetime.”
Though Bollywood is the obvious next destination for most beauty queens, Niharika insists she isn’t heading that way. “I’ve just got an offer through campus placement. And, I’m currently enjoying the fashion world in Dubai.”
She, however, clarifies, “Bollywood is not the inevitable end, but could be the beginning of more opportunities, but nothing’s planned for now.”
And, if she does step into Bollywood, then she’d like to follow in the footsteps of Priyanka Chopra. “She’s my role model. I’m envious of how she balances so many different things. She’s an actor, a singer, and a model.”