An Indian-origin beauty therapist hopes to become the first deaf contestant to be crowned ‘Miss India Worldwide’.
Leicester-based Nehal Bhogaita won the Miss India UK pageant in October last year and is now on her way to Malaysia to represent Britain at Miss India Worldwide 2013 on April 27.
“I want to be a role model for people like me, who are deaf or disabled, and tell them that you can do anything and make your dreams come true,” said the 20-year-old, who can lip read and communicates with the help of her younger sister.
“I can’t believe this is actually coming true. It has been a dream of hers for ages. We are all very excited and hope she wins and brings the crown back home,” said Jayeesha, 19, who will be by her sister’s side throughout the pageant.
Miss India Worldwide, set up in 1990 by US-based organisation IFC, will bring together 40 contestants of Indian origin from across the globe to Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to battle it out across four segments including Evening Gown, Indian Dress, Talent and Question-Answer.
Nehal has been rehearsing a Bollywood dance routine that highlights her own conviction of never giving up for the talent round of the competition. While she is unable to hear the music, she dances using the vibrations of the beats.
Nehal is being sponsored by Action Deafness, a UK-based charity she has been supporting for the past three years.
“Being profoundly deaf herself, Nehal works as a community support worker to help others overcome communication barriers associated with deafness. Although Nehal hopes to come back from the worldwide pageant with the crown, above all she wants to show others that being deaf isn’t a disability,” a spokesperson said.
On her return from Malaysia, Nehal also has a charity sky-dive and a new school workshop programme lined up in aid of the organisation.