Pune girl Varsha Rajkhowa has been crowned the new Miss Scuba International 2016 – a one-of-a-kind global beauty pageant held with the purpose of spreading awareness about ocean protection and marine life. Twenty-five-year-old Varsha was adjudged the winner from among 16 other participants after a glitzy grand finale at the gorgeous Sutera Harbour Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia on November 20, 2016.
What makes it an even more proud moment for the country is that this is the first time ever an Indian has represented at the pageant and won it, too. Varsha impressed with her maturity and intellect during the entire event but her reply in the final question-answer round wowed all judges. On being asked, “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned during the competition?” She said, “The most important thing we learn is that united we stand and divided we fall. We must come together to save our oceans and to [preserve] beautiful marine life. “This is because what we love is what we save, and what we fear to lose is what we have to work for.”
The answer earned Varsha the coveted title while Meryl Angeline King, 27, from Philippines became the first runner-up and Sun Zitong, 24 from China grabbed the second runner-up titles.
Born in Assam and brought up in different parts of the country, Varsha hails from a defence background. She is an environmentalist by profession and wears multiple hats of a model, international-grade dancer, choreographer, national level swimmer and a certified scuba diver.
Varsha’s mother has been instrumental in her becoming a model. “While in college, my mother encouraged me to take part in the RSI May Queen pageant in Pune where I was one of the finalists. I won the title of best smile and talent, and the whole experience made me realise my hidden love for walking the ramp,” says Varsha.
But achieving success at such a young age didn’t come easy. She faced many challenges and had to face a lot of criticism for her looks and language during her school and college days as she belongs to the Northeast. But she overcame every hurdle with her grit and hard work. She has always dreamt of becoming Miss India one day and represent her country on an international platform. “Winning the title of Miss Scuba International 2016 is a dream come true for me. This is my first international pageant and I am extremely glad that I made my country and parents proud,” says an elated Varsha.
The Miss Scuba International pageant has been on since 2011 and is aimed at protecting oceans, something that has always been very close to Varsha’s heart. With this glorious win, Varsha has great plans as the ambassador to promote the diving industry and marine conservation globally. “Once back, I want to work closely with the Indian government and NGOs to stop shark finning in the country,” Varsha adds.