For Anshika Sharma, Miss Universe Nepal 2020, advocating for education in rural areas is more than just a cause that she chose to be associated with for the pageant; it is an issue that is close to her heart and one that she has been working on for two years now.
“I have been able to provide scholarship to 10 underprivileged children in Jumla,” she informs. She says that she has been able to connect with these children because of her father. “My dad has been working with the UN in different remote areas under projects mostly related to women and children. I guess I have learnt this act of giving back to the society from him,” she shares.
Born in Jhapa and brought up in Kathmandu, Anshika moved to Australia for her higher education. She did her Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and was working for an IT firm in Australia. She left her job to become a part of the Miss Universe Nepal.
Anshika is, by her own admission, ‘very normal’. And despite being in the spotlight for some time now, she has managed to remain not just unfazed but even unaffected by the stereotypes around beauty and body. “For me, it’s not about what you are and how you look, it’s about personality,” she says.
From a shy young girl to a self assured woman carving her own niche in the world of pageants, the 24 year old Anshika is determined to represent the country on the international platform with her heart set on bringing the crown home. “I have been busy day-in and day-out with the trainings and coaching,” she says.
Anshika Sharma talks to WOW’s Ankita Jain about all that she is excited about in the moment, her plans for rural education, and her obsession with foot wear.
“There is beauty in discomfort, there is beauty in being fragile and raw and vulnerable. Accepting all that I am and all that someone else is, I am now learning to open my mind and heart to all kinds of people”
What made you want to participate in Miss Universe Nepal?
The motto of Miss Universe “Confidently Beautiful” attracted me to follow Miss Universe since my early teens. Following the pageant closely, I have understood that one can create huge positive impact on people and community just by being your authentic self. I wanted to take the confidently beautiful person I have become today to the Universe stage and represent my cause and my country in the best possible way I can.
The early stages of the pageant were conducted virtually, what was the experience like?
Thanks to technology our hopes and dreams were not paused even during the crisis of Covid 19. There were challenges like network issues, time difference as few contestants were from across the borders nonetheless we were grateful that we still could do what we wanted to. The virtual sessions were fun and informative, and the best part was that we were able to participate from the comfort of our homes.
What was it like to be under the leadership of Nagma Shrestha?
She guided all the contestants so well. From virtual meetings to physical trainings, Nagma Shrestha has been part of everything. She is a charmer. Under her leadership, things have been easy as she knows exactly how a contestant feels in a pageant.
What was that one moment on the finale stage that made you believe that the crown is yours?
When my name was announced! It was a tough competition until the very end, however I was confident the whole time that the amount of work and dedication I have shown will bring me closer to a good result and I will come out of the stage proud of myself.
Why did you choose Jumla for your social advocacy?
Jumla is one of the remote places in Nepal where students are deprived of going to school because of poverty. I wanted to extend my help to a place that truly needed it. I have been able to provide scholarship programs to 10 underprivileged children in Jumla for two years. With the title I have now, I am working on providing support to children in other parts of Nepal. More details will be shared soon.
What has been your greatest take away from your journey of Miss Universe Nepal?
When you come out of your comfort zone, there will the challenges and difficulties that you create for yourself involuntarily because you have not done this before. But if you appreciate growth and gracefully embrace the challenges you will enjoy the journey towards your goal.
How do you use social media?
As a titleholder, my platform to connect with my viewers is social media. I have been using it more than before as I have more updates and stories to share now.
What are your resolutions for 2021?
My resolution for 2021 is to make most out of all the opportunities that I get this year and put in my full effort to make Nepal proud at the Universe stage.
Do you remember the first time you faced the camera?
Yes, I do! I was 19 when I did my first photo shoot for a clothing line in Nepal. It was exciting to dress up and click pictures. But MUN is the first platform where I had to speak and give interviews in front of a camera.
Do you have any hobbies?
I am a travel fanatic so when I have some time, I like to watch travel vlogs and think of where I should travel next. In addition, I love reading self-help books.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
I see exactly who I am: the beautiful me, the imperfect me, the content me, the strong me.
What is the one decision in life that you are most proud of?
One decision that I am most proud of is the decision to support students in Jumla. I feel like the quality education that I have received throughout my life has shaped me to become the person I am today. If I could help someone through education to achieve their dreams and become who they want to be in life, that would be my biggest achievement.
Describe your personal style
My personal style is quite minimalist. My go to attire is tee and jeans, hair bun and minimum makeup. I love wearing heels though. Most of my foot wear have at least two inches of heels.
What is your definition of beauty?
My understanding of beauty and being beautiful has elevated over the time. I once thought being beautiful means being joyful and vibrant. In the process of being joyful, I tried seeing only the positive side of the stories, tried being strong at all times, and started gravitating to like-minded people whom I was comfortable with.
Spending time working internally, I have realised there is beauty in discomfort, there is beauty in being fragile and raw and vulnerable. Accepting all that I am and all that someone else is, I am now learning to open my mind and heart to all kinds of people. I am now allowing myself to see both sides of the story and welcoming both positive and negative thoughts. I am now learning to love unconditionally and becoming more beautiful every day.
What are you like off camera?
I always believe in authenticity and I like to keep it real. So, I am the same person on and off camera.
What gives you strength?
My family and close friends give me strength. They have supported me wholeheartedly in every decision and action that I take in my life. They have helped me to push my boundaries and become a better version of myself.
What are some causes you feel strongly about?
I am passionate about providing quality education to underprivileged children. After talking to experts who are already working in the field of education, I learnt that there are so many factors that are restricting students from going to school. For example: poverty, mobility to reach schools, unavailability of resources, discrimination, lack of family support, etc. With the title and reach that I have now, I want to work not only on providing scholarships, but also to work on eradicating the deterrents to education.
How do the people closest to you describe you?
They would say I am someone who likes to have fun and be around people, but I equally enjoy my solitude too.
Would you call yourself a risk taker or do you make calculated moves?
I have found myself doing both, but I feel like I am more inclined towards taking risks. I mean I left my job in Sydney, travelled during the pandemic to compete in the pageant. This can be counted as a complete risk.
One minute with Anshika
One thing you love to splurge on: Skin care products and treatments
A hidden talent: I am good at making lame jokes. That requires some talent (laughs)
Best relationship advice: Give time and space to yourself too
An absolute no no: Bungee Jumping, sky diving
Qualities you appreciate in men: Every individual is different. For the men around me, I appreciate them for supporting my aspirations and pushing me to do better every time.
Your biggest fear: Fear of not living up to my own expectations
Your current read: Steps to the Top by Zig Ziglar
Makeup hack you swear by: Heat the eyelash curler with hair dryer for few seconds. Its gives a good lift.
What’s always in your bag: Phone, cash, sanitiser
Three must haves in your closet: Jeans, white tee, sneakers
Shopping: I like to spend wisely. I am not a shopaholic.
Holiday destination: Singapore
Fitness routine: I eat healthy and workout as per my body requirement.
Life is: Whatever you want it to be. For me, it is a journey to explore myself every day.
Photographer: Suzan Shrestha
Concept & Coordinated by: Ankita Jain
Stylist: Ariri by Abinash Shrestha
MUA: Bliss by Sakil Kunwar
Wardrobe: Kavya Boutique
Jewelry: Apala Jewels
Location: Kathmandu Marriott Hotel