UAE to Bollywood: Miss India Worldwide Monica Gill's dream


A week since Indian American Monica Gill was crowned the Miss India Worldwide beauty crown at Al Raha Beach Resort in Abu Dhabi, she’s still getting used to her new title. “It still hasn't hit me yet that I won,” she confesses.

She competed with 40 beauty queens of Indian origin from across the globe to win title.

Miss India Switzerland Cynferth Jezebel Turrian won the first runner-up, while Miss India Bahrain Priya D’Silva won the second runner-up.

In an exclusive e-mail interview with Emirates 24|7, the beauty queen reveals about what lead her to skip a regular biotech job for a glam life on the ramp. And, how Bollywood could just be her next stopover.

“It (all) happened on accident,” she says, about her sudden shift from working in biotech and pharmaceuticals to the beauty industry.

“It all started in 2012, when she took part in the Miss India New England pageant merely for a “fun experience” and stood first-runner up. It was a time when she had just graduated from college and had nothing much to do.

Although she returned to her job in clinical affairs, within a year she was back on the fashion ramp after much coaxing from her “state director Ruchika Arora”.

“She really believed in my potential and usually all it takes is one person who truly believes in you to shake things up. That year I won.”

From then on, there was no looking back. “Then a week later I went to the Miss India USA pageant and won.

“It was a phenomenal experience. I went with two of my very good friends and we had a blast.”

It’s the win that lead her to the Miss India Worldwide title in Abu Dhabi. Although Monica was confident that it was “possible (for her) to win the title”, she clarifies that she didn’t go with “the intention to win”.

“I went because I wanted a good experience. I made friends and hopefully people will remember me as the girl who always made them laugh.”

While Monica doesn’t find “pageantry challenging per se” she did work the little nuances to give her personality the right projection on stage.

“I have a big personality so I needed to understand how to project that properly on stage. I did a lot of research on what type of clothing looks good on stage and which type of clothing was flattering on me.

“This helped me prepare and to come on stage in my full potential.”

Those little pointers obviously helped her win the title. Looking back at the big moment, Monica admits that it was “surreal”.

“My brother came running into my arms. My mom had tears in her eyes and I could see the pride in my dad as he was clicking pictures.

“The feeling of knowing how happy I had made my parents was priceless.

“I replay those images in my head over and over.”

Monica is unsure about where to take her life from here on.

“Well, I'll take it where ever God leads me. I don't plan because I've learned that life will do what it wants and time is a force of nature.”

Bollywood could be a possible step forward (like it has been for most beauty queens), with Monica taking baby steps in that direction by enrolling in an acting school in Mumbai.

“If it (Bollywood) is meant to be it will happen. There’s no point in wondering about it because it really isn’t in my control. If the opportunity arises then I will pounce on it. If it doesn't then I’ll go back home.”

Unlike many aspiring actors, Monica doesn’t have a dream debut, and is waiting for her acting classes to get over and for agency to decide how to move forward.

“I'll place more emphasis on the story and character I’m portraying than my co-star.”

Apart from movies, Monica believes that the beauty title “acts as a microphone and platform. What I have to say is heard.

“This title will help leave a mark in people’s lives. And, I’m looking forward to that.”

Moving base to Mumbai was initially a culture-shock for Monica, but she’s slowly “embracing it wholeheartedly”.

“Mumbai is a phenomenal city. It literally never sleeps. It has so much life and vibrancy. I love it.”

Monica credits much of her success to Ruchika for the initial push, and her father, who has ensured she has everything she could possibly ask for.

“He stands behind me like a rock.”