Humans of Humanity Project: An interview with Miss India-Holland Candidate 2018

My name is Chandni Khemai, I am 23 years old, was born in Amsterdam and live in the Hague. My parents come from Surinam and my ancestors come from India. Therefore, I feel both connected with Surinam as well as with India, but still, I have a different kind of connection with India. I can speak the original Hindi language that is spoken in India as well as the Sarnami Hindi language that is spoken in Surinam. I love the Indian culture, the food, costumes, celebrations and more importantly the unity. I have been to India and visited many cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Benares, Puna etc. Although there are differences in outer appearance among all the cities and the people who live there, they are the same from inside and there is unity. I can feel that and for me, India is the only and unique country where unity is expressed with joy and where a lot of talent exists.

I have studied Biomedical Sciences at the University of Leiden, because carrying out research and investigating new things fascinates me. After achieving my Bachelor Degree, I decided to study the Master Vitality and Ageing since I found out that I was not interested in lab research but research involving the component communication and research that focusses on the health care sector and specifically the elderly (care). I have carried out research during my Bachelor and Master internship projects. During my bachelor internship, I have do

ne quantitative and qualitative research and investigated the risk factors that are associated with one-year mortality among elderly patients who visited the emergency department. Next to that, during the Master internship, I came up with five recommendations on how to improve the knowledge transfer process within the University Network for Care Sector South Holland (UNC-ZH) to enhance the quality of care for older adults in the care organisations. I believe that from my research experience the most important thing I learned was that you should not only perform research just because it is research but carry it out without feeling that you are actually working. Honestly, I thought that I would like doing lab research but I never liked carrying out lab research when I actually did it. I came to know that I love qualitative research under which doing interviews, surveys, organising focus groups and analysing data. One of my strongest aspects is communication and therefore I believe I feel more attracted to qualitative research. So an important advice to next generation is: Find out yourself what kind of research does not make you feel that you are working, but you are actually just enjoying your time!

At the moment I am working as a program assistant at Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development for the International program Joint Programming Initiative More Years Better Lives (JPI MYBL). Also, I am PR manager, presenter and interviewer of I AM FASHION TV, which is a lifestyle, fashion and business program that promotes everyone and everything and is broadcasted every Saturday night at 22:00 on the Amsterdam SALTO TV channel. The collected money is used to improve the welfare and education status of orphans living in India, South America and Africa. I work together with Dorine Esien (the Head of I AM FASHION TV) and Remco Berendsen (the cameraman and editor of I AM FASHION TV). I am very thankful to them that I got a chance at I AM FASHION TV. Furthermore, I am one of the 16 finalists of the miss contest Miss India Holland 2018.

I have diverse life goals and some of them are also related to the reasons to participate in the miss contest. First of all, I am looking for a PhD project that focusses on qualitative or/and implementation research in the healthcare sector or/and elderly (care). Second, I want to develop myself further in the media industry and grow as presenter. Third, I want to develop as a professional model both on a national and international level. Fourth, I want to make the desi society here in the Netherlands stronger, I think they can do more than they show right now. Fifth, I want to improve the welfare and education status of orphans. I am already working hard on this goal via I AM FASHION TV.

To be very honest, I never thought I could participate in a Miss contest! I always wanted it, but I thought that it was all about the outer beauty and also for me my study was the most important. However one day after my graduation, someone from the miss contest organisation approached me and asked whether I wanted to participate in this contest. I told her about my life goals and she said that the organisation will support me and luckily it is not only about the outer beauty. My reason to participate with Miss India Holland is because it is a platform where I can get the possibility the achieve all my life goals on a much higher level. It is a platform where you not only learn about how to do catwalk, how to dance on a professional level, how to present yourself, how to deal with the media and social media (how to deal with several kinds of reactions) but most importantly you also learn how to network. During the miss contest, you will meet a lot of people from different backgrounds and with divergent specialities. For me it is not just about the title itself because that is only a status or position, but it is about what you can achieve with that title for yourself and the society, whether you can represent your community and can add value to your society as well.

On 22 September 2017 I signed up as one of the contestants and on 5 November I received an invitation to the selection round. I was quite nervous because there were a lot of beautiful contestants there, but I still was self-assured about my goals and really motivated to be part of the contest. I was really happy when I got a call from the organisation afterwards and they told me that I was one of the 16 finalists of Miss India Holland 2018. Till now we received six training sessions in which we had a catwalk training, social media training, workshop make up, workshop pose and a photoshoot. In all those trainings, we not only learned techniques but also how to present yourself and how to deal with the media. We will get training in the future on how to answer questions during the question round on the final day. We get tips and tricks to prepare the question round (know your strengths and goals, look up information about the contest itself, look at how other previous contestants have answered and also look at other contests) and on how to focus on the questions (answers short but direct, take your time, breath well and always stay confident), but your answer needs to be original. The question round is therefore the only round where all contestants can show their intelligence, express their way of thinking and their strength. Our first photoshoot took place in the Holland Photo Studio in Dordrecht in which we had a natural beauty photoshoot (not so heavy make-up). During this photoshoot we also had a Christmas shoot!

In January we will receive choreography trainings for the first time. I am really looking forward to that! I really want to encourage every lady with Indian background who is living in the Netherlands to focus on their life goals, their personal as well as societal goals. Also, I want to pin point that miss contests is not only about the outer appearance, it is also about your way of thinking and your voice which express your life goals! If any lady with Indian background knows that she wants to develop herself and add value to the society, then I want to request her to sign up to the Miss India Holland contest. It is not only just a contest, it is a platform where you can develop yourself, network and grow as a person.

I do not have specifically one mentor that supports or guides me, I have a lot of people who are behind me. The Miss India Holland Team is always behind my back and consists of many persons such as Preety Dhillon, Aniel Kienno, Wishaya Angnoe, Mitch Kanhai, Vidjai Ganpat, Henk Mohabier, Sudhier Nannan, Rajshri Khargi, Sjekiela Ajoeb, Rishma Soedhoe, Krishan Balak ect. The list is too long. Besides the team itself, my family are my biggest support. My parents are always there for me and support me with everything. My aunt by marriage, Concella Anneke Ghurahoo, is a make-up artist and is always there when I need her. Next to my parents and aunt by marriage, my two sweet nephews Yash Arav and Shay Aadi Ghurahoo are my biggest supporters. They are pure, no shadow or ego, just pure nature and they give me energy that is unmeasurable!

My definition of beauty is recognizing the real you, your soul, and being aware of the ego which is visible and which you need to achieve your goals in this material world. Stay confident but never arrogant. Learn things in life, develop up yourself, adapt, grow but do not let your ego become your boss in life, your soul is the real boss.

My favourite motivational quote is: be the real you in life! After Miss India Holland, I also want to focus on the Urban Punjabi Industry and entertainment industry. I would like to try singing in the Urban Punjabi Industry and acting. Those are both future steps of mine. They were always in my head and I want to see how far I could come in Life.

I would like to say a few things to our students of today, tomorrow and the future: In today’s world status matters a lot, whether that is education or a position in society. I want to encourage every student to get the maximum out them self. Studying is number 1 in life and after graduation you can focus on all your other wishes or talents. It is never too late. Work hard in life and never forget the ones who have brought you far in life. They also made you who are you today. For me, those are my parents. Please respect your parents and spend and enjoy time with them when it is possible.

I want to thank Shaaji KanDoMed for providing me this opportunity to express myself. Hopefully, you guys will support me through liking my Facebook Miss Page https://www.facebook.com/MissChandniKhemai/. If you guys are present in the Netherlands on 14 April 2018, then please come to see the final of Miss India Holland 2018 and vote for me, if you feel doing so. Thank you for reading my text, hopefully you liked it.

Be the real you in Life, Miss Chandni Khemai, Miss India Holland 2018