Sheena Pradhan formally familiar with giving nutrition advice to clients and blogging about cooking recipes is now transitioning to a career in fashion and was recently crowned Miss East Coast US Supranational 2015. Dygest wanted to follow her journey which lead her to this point and give you a sneak peak at Sheena’s life behind the scenes.
Standing in front of an audience is daunting but it must be especially difficult when the audience along with the judges are evaluating you, your personality, your looks… Everyone has a different reason for competing in pageants, for Sheena it was not what you would expect.
I was raised being told I was smart, learning about math and science…I developed a very low self-esteem…Looking back, I feel like I was encouraged to specifically not feel beautiful. I was told that beauty is inconsequential. In my life, I have found that idea to be untrue.
Generally shyness and low self-esteem would be an understandable reason to not compete in a pageant with thousands upon thousands of eyes looking in your direction. We decided to get to know Sheena a little bit more and share her side of the story. Here in this page you’ll find a piece of this interview…
What made you get into pageantry and modeling? What do you love about it?
“When I was around 16-years-old, I began to embrace being beautiful. That was also when I became interested in competing in a pageant and modeling. I forgot about some of those dreams as I went off to college… But after college, I found myself feeling lost. I had an “Ah-ha moment” while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I saw Olivia Culpo, Miss USA 2012, float down on the Miss USA float.”
I kept my registration in the pageant a secret for several months.
Why had I never competed in a pageant? I asked myself.
From there, I went to my computer and applied for the Miss New Jersey USA Pageant.
I kept my registration in the pageant a secret for several months. After only a little preparation and wardrobe for $500 (which is relatively cheap for a pageant), I competed. Competing in that pageant changed my life. I felt liberated from the expectations of others, empowered, and in charge of my life for the first time.
Pageantry continues to help me feel in control of my life, my dreams, and helps me stay true to myself.
Pageantry also helps with basic everyday skills of public speaking and being able to hold attention through my walk. I like to think of pageantry as a supplement to everything else that I am doing.
You mentioned shyness and also gaining more confidence in relation to modeling. I was wondering if you wanted to speak about that and what you did to overcome your obstacles.
“A lot of my shyness stemmed from low self-esteem. My low self-esteem was related to a discomfort with who I am. I was so afraid of being judged that I didn’t speak up. I have memories of being in elementary school where I was afraid of raising my hand because I was afraid of getting the answer wrong. The funny thing about that is that I usually knew the right answer.
I think I got over that extreme shyness before I got into pageantry and modeling, but pageantry has certainly helped me become more self-assured. I am an independent adult for the first time: financially and emotionally. In order to overcome my past shyness and low self-esteem, I had to address it head on. I had to talk about why I was always so shy and what had caused my low self-esteem. Those things were still plaguing me subconsciously. In order to move on completely, I had to face those problems head on.
There will always be internal battles that each of us have to fight. I’m not going to ever say that I am done learning about myself. There will always be more to learn about myself and the world around me. There will always be more confidence to gain and more growth to be had.”
If there’s one piece of advice you wished you knew about before going into pageantry that you would give to aspiring pageant models what would it be?
“I wish someone had taught me to have faith in myself when I was a kid. My dreams haven’t changed since I was 12 years old, but my confidence in myself has. If someone had just taught me to listen to my heart and to make decisions for myself at a younger age, I think I would have had an easier time at all of this.
But I guess that’s why they call it a journey! There are some things you just have to figure out for yourself”
Sheena goes on to compete for the final Miss US Supranational title on June 25th 6:00 PM Eastern Time – just 21 days away. Follow her here on her Facebook page Miss East Coast US Supranational to get more updates.