A short introduction about what #VeetBeTheDiva is all about.
( This is going to be a long one i.e. hold on for the photographs to load – there’s lots of those. )
The journey of Veet Be The Diva Contest 2013 began with the Registrations where 4,000 girls from all over India sent in their entries, 430 of those were selected & they then had a one-to-one with the jury in regional rounds. These 430 girls were then whittled down to a smaller group size of 50 where the jury selected the smartest and the most confident ones. There were wildcard entries and the final selection of the Top 10 Divas was ascertained from a combination of jury points and online voting.
The event I was invited to cover was the Veet Be The Diva 2013 Grand Finale where three girls would be picked as final winners. So, technically, the Veet Be The Diva Contest is a talent hunt for sexy and confident girls who believe in themselves, and brings with it a grand opportunity where the top 3 winners will be the Covergirls of Femina for the March Edition.
I got in just when things were starting to warm up!
The audience was eagerly awaiting the crowning of the winner and for the rest of the day to unfold. We’d been told it would be unexpectedly exciting and while I knew what the plan was, a part of me wasn’t quite certain they would pull it off without a hitch. I’ve said this a number of times : it amazes me no end how so many agencies come together to seamlessly create and execute an event like this.
The jury included Nitish Kapoor GM India Reckitt Benckiser, Anindita Ghosh Delhi features editor of Femina magazine and Nargis Fakhri, the actress. They had some short questions to ask the finalists and a couple of questions and the answers they received were really good. Especially for these finalist, all new to the ramp, one would think that the limelight would make them nervous but to my very pleasant surprise, I found that they were probably more confident and calm than I would have been had I been in their shoes. Good stuff.
The girls sashayed down the ramp and the girl above right ( Shree Radhe Khanduja ) caught my eye. I thought “Wow. Maybe she will win this.” She’s cute and looked at ease with herself. I was a little shocked when she did indeed win the crown and the cover of Femina! Maybe I should apply for judge and jury selections as well. One of the other finalists that I really liked was Audrey D’Silva – so much spunk! You go girl!
The winner, above, is crowned. Isn’t she cute? I really liked how smartly she carried herself – her confidence shone through. I was the only photographer standing this close to the ramp, which she realized and looked straight into my lens. I was taken aback for a split second before I hit the shutter button. You GO GIRL. Shree Radhe Khanduja.
The three Divas sashay down the ramp for a photo op and are joined by the three judges. The “V” is for “Veet” here. Nice touch.
There were media interviews and lots more photo opportunities before we peeled away for lunch. The event took place at Kitty Su at The Lalit Hotel on Barakhamba Road, New Delhi. once lunch had been devoured, the Veet team had a few other things up their sleeves. They called it The Walk Of Confidence. The idea was to get a ride on the Delhi Metro and then go up till Chandni Chowk, disembark, head to Red Fort and do a short walk at the Red Fort grounds.
The first time I’d heard that plan, my brain broke. It was one thing to talk about things like these and quite another to execute it. There were a thousand issues to be addressed and a gazillion permissions would have been needed. And they did it. Without a single hitch. Amazeballs.
Awaiting the Divas at the Patel Chowk Metro Station.
The bus arrives and the Divas disembark.
Above, more delightful posing once inside the Metro Station.
Below, security checks for the girls and their bags.
Before we could get onto our “special” train, we had to wait out a few “packed to the gills” trains. It was unnerving watching the girls walk past with people staring from inside. The doors of the train were open yet no one stepped out – obviously their destination was different. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why are they not getting off?” as if all the men in the trains are animals. Well India hasn’t been particularly safe for women ever and the news items have lately only being getting ghastlier and sinister. Which I think was one of the things that was the idea behind this walk. It IS our country too and we must reclaim it. Smart and confident and beautiful Divas FTW.
Above, Audrey in the center of the frame. She rocks. Look at that attitude, that body language. It was almost as if the people in the train would melt with her stare on them.
We all wait. Nargis is in conversation with the head of the DMRC and the other girls take selfies and generally watch each passing train with anticipation.
Cute, short, pink skirts. Or longish shorts. Comfortable and not blowing away in the breeze.
Above, model @SonalikaSahay in the jostling Delhi Metro crowds as we waited for our special Metro express.
While we waited at the platform for our special ride, a young girl walked up to me, nudged my elbow and asked, “Didi, yeh kya Miss India hai?” ( Is this Miss India? ) The voices in my head of course had a field day with that query but I didn’t really have time to respond to her and she walked away sullenly when I responded with a terse “No.”
Above, model @ChandniNasir returning the favor *wink* by taking a photo of me and tagging me on Instagram. Thank you Chandni!
The winners and the rest of the girls, alongwith @NargisFakhri got onto the Metro for a short ride to the Red Fort. More photo ops and a slightly jolting ride. There were lots of policewomen and policemen and other armed guards and about a double dozen bouncers.
Above, Nargis, hanging on to the hand-holds on the Metro posing with a few of the policewomen who couldn’t resist the photo op. Cute.
Above, Sonalika found a tiny spot for herself and caught up on the news. It was a mad rush inside the Metro even though the ENTIRE crowd was “ours”.
Above right, Nargis poses with her Metro Card.
I was hired by Veet India to do a blog story for this event and it was a blast. If there was one thing I could change about the experience, it would be the absolutely mad crowd. Pushing, jostling, stepping on each others toes. And the very hostile male photographers. One of them was on a mission to shove me and bump into me every chance he got – till he got an earful from me. By the end of the day, he’d even apologized to me once. It was like the Sun rose in the West.
Regardless, I will never understand what the shoving accomplishes. Thankfully a minor blip in the entire, otherwise lovely day.
The girls exit the Delhi Metro station and we emerge onto the “Town Hall” at Chandni Chowk.
Above, model Sapna Kumar looking uber-hot smack in the middle of the bustling crowd.
And we had these – below – waiting for us when we got out of the Chandni Chowk Metro Station. Pink cycle rickshaws with pink balloons! The blue sky was there to complement the colors I’m certain.
The girls set off in their cars and I ( alongwith member of various other teams ) got onto the rickshaws and followed them. It was a fun ride. The last time I traveled in a cycle rickshaw was this one particular night when I thought I’d walk back home but gave up half-way through because my shoes were uncomfortable. Luckily, even at almost midnight, this rickshaw cyclist pulled up and offered me a ride. And I lived to tell this tale.
Below, our very special Police protection on our ride till the Red Fort.
Above, Reckitt & Benckiser bosses in one of the rickshaws. It was a fun ride. Too short if you ask me. I could have gone for another ten minutes easily.
And the beautiful Red Fort below! We had arrived! It looked so stunning – not that I’d expected it to change but I got really lucky with the weather.
And pink balloons juxtaposed with the Red Fort. What more can one possibly ask for!
The girls posed for the press, answered questions from the media, did a round of interviews and generally kept up the interest of the crowd that started collecting once they saw the ring of bouncers. Everything went well without a hitch.
Nargis with the one rickshaw that was allowed beyond the barricade point at the Red Fort.
Love those pink balloons. Could not get enough of the blue sky, the Red Fort in the background and the pink pink balloons. It was a great day to be out and about. Not too hot, not too cold. Just perfect. The balloons were released, the girls did a short walk and it was a WRAP!
The Veet team stuck with two hashtags : one was #VeetBeTheDiva that identifies their brand-specific contest and the other one #FREE2BEME was more specific to the Walk Of Confidence and the Metro ride. I think both hashtags worked really well together.
The video of the finale and the crowning of the Veet Be The Diva winner below :
And here’s the video of the Metro ride:
This was Season 03 of the Veet Be The Diva Contest – they have one each year – keep track of their updates if you’re interested in applying or know someone who fits the profile. You can find out more and keep track of all things Veet on their Twitter | Facebook | Instagram