Lara Dutta, the last Indian lass to bring the Miss Universe crown home in 2000, is mentoring aspiring beauty queens through her TV debut show “Miss Diva Universe”. She says it is time to focus on the new lot, their individualities and train them to be all-rounders.
“Miss Diva Universe 2014”, which premiered Oct 6 on channel Zee Café, is a whole new property and completely re-branded, she said.
"What I like most about it is that with the show, the country will actually get a chance to know the girls who are competing for international crown rather then seeing newspaper one morning and reading about the winner,” Lara told IANS.
Most importantly, the show helps in discovering the 15 contestants' individuality.
"All of them (aspirants) either try to embrace Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka or me, but I think if they can bring their own individuality and personality, it will be more important thing.
"Be yourself. Be totally comfortable and confident in your skin. That's what we are looking at," said the diva when asked about the USP of the TV show.
Srishti Rana bagged the Miss Asia Pacific World title last year, but it has been a dry spell for India at Miss Universe and Miss World contests since 2000.
Lara says there are several reasons behind the contestants not winning the crown.
“The (format of the) contest has changed a lot from the time Priyanka Chopra, Dia Mirza or I won. So, I think it's good step to re-brand the entire thing because internationally too the requirements are changing. The way the contests are conducted is way different from the time we won,” said the 36-year-old.
After winning the title, Lara made her Bollywood debut in 2003 with “Andaaz” and went on to do films like “Masti”, “No Entry”, “Housefull” and “Don 2”.
The actress, who is married to tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi and has daughter Saira with him, says that it is important for the contestants to get the right exposure.
“You need to send somebody who is complete all rounder, just one thing won't work. You are put in various sort of environmental situation where you have to work on your articulation, confidence and be on your feet.
“It is important that girls around the country really know what goes into making a beauty pageant winner. It's not just about girl who looks good in bikini or who has a nice smile or nice body or thing like that.
"It's a lengthy process to select a girl. I think girls should get more exposure before they compete internationally,” she said
Like other sectors, here too social media is playing an important role.
“Today, social media and things like that are so big that these girls are actually getting bigger media reach before they actually occupy a title. I think it's a great concept,” she said.