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Divali Nagar queen still on high

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Sunday, October 18, 2009
Karissa Mahara.png
Karissa Mahara PHOTO: Edison Boodoosingh

Almost a week after copping the Miss Divali Nagar Queen title last Sunday, Karissa Maharaj, 22, was still on a high.

Almost a week after copping the Miss Divali Nagar Queen title last Sunday, Karissa Maharaj, 22, was still on a high.

The runner up at the Indian Arrival Day Pageant last May, Maharaj still couldn’t believe that she had actually won the title after entering the pageant at the last minute. It was her aunt who, following her niece’s victory at the Indian Arrival Day pageant, encouraged her to enter the competition. Maharaj said she waited until a week before the pageant to enter and only got to attend one rehearsal.

And even though she got some experience at the Arrival Day pageant, Maharaj said she was nervous once she took to the stage at the Divali Nagar site. “This show was so much bigger. And it was being broadcast all over the world.” For the competition, Maharaj modelled a red and gold sari and when asked to select and speak on a Hindu god/goddess she chose Mother Lakshmi. “I really did my research on Mother Lakshmi. We all had one to three minutes to speak but I made mine short and sweet.” Maharaj believes that keeping her presentation brief gave her the edge on the other girls who, either forgot their speech or went over their allotted time.

“I guess the judges were impressed with what I had to say.” She admits that she too even had a favourite to win the competition, so unsure that she was going to take the title. “I was so surprised when they called my name but I was overjoyed.” The Springland, Gasparillo resident who works at the QMS department of the Trinidad Inspections Limited in Marabella is currently pursuing human resource management at the University of the West Indies. She remains thankful for the support that her family and co-workers gave her at the pageant, she said.

“The most memorable thing from the show for me was finally being able to go on stage after a long delay backstage.” Maharaj’s reign as Divali Queen will include appearances on behalf of the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC), the body which organised the pageant. She is looking forward to representing NCIC, she said, particularly at overseas engagements. The outgoing lass who loves to spend time with friends and family and sightseeing across the country said there are benefits to entering beauty pageants contrary to what some people think. “They not only highlight the beauty and intelligence of a young woman but help to mould them into confident, well rounded individuals.”