Reetika Verma, an English literature student from Hamirpur was declared as Winter Queen 2016 as the Manali Winter Carnival festival concluded here today in this tourist resort.
The contest was a stiff one as there were more than 70 contestants from across the country in the fray for the Winter Queen Beauty Pageant crown.
Besides being crowned with a silver tiara, Reetika as the winner of the pageant was also given Rs 1 lakh as prize money. Payal Thakur from Manali was declared first runner-up and Deepika Sharma from Chandigarh was crowned as second runner-up. Santosh from Hamirpur and Rupakshi from Shimla were chosen most popular faces.
After the early elimination rounds, 25 beauties were picked up for a quarter final round and only 10 of them made it into the semi-final round. For the final round only 6 top beauties were picked and two contestants voted as “most popular faces” by an excited audience were given a card entry into the final round.
In temperatures that hovered around the freezing point, the beautiful girls, late yesterday night, had to participate in a catwalk conducted on an open air ramp To test for intelligence and presence of mind, the panel of three judges at the pageant put up tough questions for the girls.
Reetika was crowned the Winter Queen title for her ramp presentation, IQ level, presence of mind and good performance in social service round.
“I dedicate my win to my parents, my mentors and my loved ones. My mother and sister always supported me in modeling and helped me in achieving this success,” Reetika said, adding that she aims to take part in Miss India contest. Her father Deshveer Verma is a businessman and her mother Kanta Verma runs a boutique.
Talking about the cash prize, she said she will give the money to her father. “I am pursuing MA in English. I had participated in Winter Queen beauty pageant last year too but could not make it to the top position. This time I worked hard. All the contestants worked hard equally. Now that I won the crown, I first visited Hidimba Temple and am now planning to see other popular places around Manali.”
Reetika said Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was her role model and the message she had youngsters was that they should introspect about what they are up to regularly and work hard to achieve their goal. “Women should never be underestimated. They are equal in talent and all they want is an opportunity to bring forth their talent,” she said.
Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice.
He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express.
With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology.
Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.