Anukreethy Vas, 19-year-old second year degree student from Loyola College, Chennai, is Miss India 2018. She won the prestigious title at the 55th edition of the Femina Miss India Pageant held on 19 June 2018, at Sardar Vallabhai Patel Indoor Stadium, Mumbai. Anukreethy was crowned Miss India 2018 by Manushi Chillar, the reigning Miss World. Meenakshi Chowdhary of Haryana and Shreya Rao of Andhra Pradesh were also crowned First and Second Runners Up respectively.
Anukreethy met Joby Mathew and Alfonso Elengikal of THE TEENAGER TODAY for an exclusive interview at Babulnath Times of India Guest House, Mumbai, hardly two weeks after she won the title. Excerpts from the informal interview.
Anukreethy, it is great meeting you just two weeks after you were crowned Miss India. THE TEENAGER TODAY is really grateful to you for giving us this exclusive interview. We are really proud of you and of your great achievement. Please tell us about your journey to the victory stand of Miss India. What made you participate in the Miss India contest?
I am a person who is interested in trying out everything that comes on my way. Even if I do not know anything about it, I will still give it a try to learn about it, and give my best to it. The same is true of the audition for Miss India in Chennai. When I heard about it, I said: “Miss India, can I become Miss India? Why not give it a try?” I applied for it on line and went for the audition. Interestingly, I was selected for the Tamil Nadu Zonals.
I come from Trichy, in Tamil Nadu, where hardly anyone speaks about modelling, Miss India, etc. No one even bothers about make-up, lipstick, or high heels… For me, too, make–up meant only kajal till I went to the College in Chennai! I went for the audition as a second year degree student. Once I was selected for the Zonals, I started preparing seriously, saying: “After all, thousands of girls would have liked to be there. I am now given this opportunity, and so I should give my best to it.”
I did not go for classes or coaching, but watched many YouTube videos of former Miss India, Miss World and Miss Universe events, carefully observing how the participants walked on stage, how they talked, smiled, answered questions, etc. Destiny had it for me that I was crowned Miss India Tamil Nadu, at the Zonals. I would now represent Tamil Nadu in the national event in Mumbai. For me it was a great deal already to be representing Tamil Nadu in the Miss India Final event.
I came to Mumbai for the 30-day preparations. There were 30 of us representing 30 States of India. The training was held at Renaissance, Mumbai. It was a very enriching experience where we learned so much. We had the best trainers who taught us so many things we never knew. We were there not as contestants, but as friends and real sisters, very supportive of each other. At the final event, I was crowned Miss India and will represent India in the Miss World Pageant, scheduled for the first week of December.
Did any of your family members accompany you to Mumbai?
No. My mom is a single parent. Besides, she cannot travel due to some back problem she has since some time. I came to Mumbai alone. In fact, I gave my tickets to the relatives of other participants.
Are you a single child?
No. I have a younger brother who has just completed his 12th Std. this year. He is with my mom in Trichy.
How did he react to your winning the Miss India title?
He is a completely different person, more of conservative nature. I know he was happy that I won the title. But, he just said, “Congrats. I am proud of you!”
You are doing your second year of Degree from Loyola College, Chennai, aren’t you? How did they respond to the news?
The College is happy; they allowed me to take a break for a few months till the Miss World Pageant is over. Then I will come back and write my exams and complete the degree course. I am not pressurised with my studies, for now
What does “Vas” in your name mean?
That’s my surname. My dad’s name is V. Achchyuta Prasad and my mom is Seleena. It is a combination of my parents’ name. My father hails from Palghat, and my mother is from Trichur, both parts of Kerala. But we are settled in Trichy since many years, now.
Where did you do your schooling?
I did my schooling till Std X, at Montfort School, Trichy, and plus II from R.S.K. Higher Secondary School, in Trichy. For my degree I joined the Loyola College, Chennai.
What is your main subject?
I am doing French Literature.
Why did you choose French?
Because I like that language. I wanted to do something different; so I did not go for Commerce, Engineering, etc.
Did it help you in the Contest?
No. It had nothing to do with the contest. I like languages, and that’s why my allied subject is German. When I came to Mumbai, I did not know Hindi at all. I am learning Hindi now, and I can manage it to some extent.
Any other languages that you can speak?
I cannot speak French well, so also German. Other than these I speak English, Tamil and Malayalam, and a bit of Hindi now.
What do you think made you stand out among the top five? Where are they from?
The top five are from Delhi, Jharkand, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Tamil Nadu, that is me. The top three are from Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. All three of us were equally competitive and deserving. But the question answer round changed everything. That is the time pressure builds up. Being on stage with thousands of people cheering you, hopes being raised, pressure mounts up, too; one tends to forget things and mess it up.