Thursday, July 25, 2024

‘I’m laser-focused on bringing Miss Supranational crown back to India’

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Sonal Kukreja, the LIVA Miss Diva Supranational 2023, is giddy with anticipation at her recent crowning as Miss Supranational 2024. The Pioneer welcomes the diva aboard for an exclusive conversation in which she shares her sentiments and journey to the pageant, her heart pounding with excitement and hope.

Tejal Sinha
With the courage, determination and values imparted by her parents, the not-long-ago Miss Supranational India-2024 Sonal Kukreja is a blend of tradition and modernity, much like the cities she cherishes. Envisioning a world where women break the chain of societal norms and embrace financial independence, standing here, she embodies the spirit of empowered women who carve their destinies while inspiring countless others to do the same.
The LIVA Miss Diva Supranational 2023 is now in the scenic natural landscapes of Poland, representing the nation at the Miss Supranational. Just before she could head for the pageant, The Pioneer rang a call to her for a quick chat and she’s all ready. “It’s that feeling where I just want to go and say that it is showtime. Right now, all my energy is laser-focused on bringing the Miss Supranational crown back to India!” enthuses the diva, who shares that with all the preps done for so many months, there’s excitement, nervousness and a feeling of pride because she’s taking India with her.
Born in the bustling heart of Delhi and nurtured in the cultural tapestry of Jaipur, she embodies the spirit of these two vibrant cities. Her roots run deep in Jaipur, the place that has witnessed her transformation into the remarkable woman she is today. Coming from Delhi, she enunciates, “I’ve always been independent and it has also taught me to operate from my heart, just like how to live like the ‘Dilwalon ki Delhi’. Of course, in Jaipur, things were a little bit different. In Jaipur, I learned grace and how to be there for someone. People in Jaipur, I feel, are very genuine and kind. I also went to a girls’ school called Maharani Gayatri Devi School. That school really taught me to be a strong woman and still be kind. I think I’m a blend between the two cities in a way. I’m now ready to represent India and take all of India with me.”
Entering the pageant world, the most interesting part of it, she says, was to get acknowledged and rewarded for who you are and that journey was something she couldn’t have experienced otherwise. Back then, she had no idea that there was so much for her to put forward! The journey, she shares, “has taught me that we have so much in us. Sometimes we don’t see it, but somebody else could see that in you and that is so beautiful. In the pageant industry, I could see how so many people could see that. They saw my strength and pushed me to go further, which honestly makes me want to give back, do more and be more. In the journey, I’ve always tried to push my limit and beyond so that I can be that person and do justice to that representation for India.”
There’s always pressure when one tries out to do something and now, representing the nation, she says, “I do feel immense pressure, but along with the pressure, there’s also a belief, the belief that people have put in me. I want to take that forward and make everyone proud.”
She also shines as the founder of Unicas, a startup redefining India’s financial landscape through innovative crypto financial services. On managing dual roles as the reigning winner and founder of her venture, she gleefully shares, “I believe that you can do everything and you can do it all. You can have a career or have a passion that is different from that. Honestly, when I think about it, it’s like hustle for money vs. hustle for meaning. I try to manage and maintain a balance, but what I’ve also learned about balance is that it’s never 50-50. I feel sometimes you need to give more to your priority first and then go back to the other task. Right now, the pageant is at the forefront and I want to give it my all. Once I’m done with this, then I’ll figure it out. Over the years, my sister has been my pillar of support and she has taken over my company. She’s helping me out with that. I’m really lucky to have people who are supporting me in this journey.”
But again, there was a time in her journey when different insecurities held her back. For instance, she recalls, “I was so scared of speaking in front of a large audience. I always liked the audience, but there was something in me that gave me stage fright, so I’ve learned to overcome that. I’ve learned to overcome my physical attributes, beauty and work more on my strength.”
Sonal is a curious person who loves life and wants to do it all! She loves taking strolls across the city and catching sunrises and sunsets because she has never met a sunset that did not make her smile. Every Tuesday, you can find her on the football turf, kicking around with her football crew. You’ll often find her lost in the pages of self-help books, thinking it’s a blessing to be able to learn from someone else’s journey in life. But that’s not all—she’s also a self-proclaimed foodie who loves to go on culinary adventures. In India, they say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach and Sonal takes that saying very seriously. She also enjoys soaring through the skies with adventure sports. Whether it’s skydiving, scuba diving, or cliff jumping, she thrives on the thrill of new experiences.
“I like to do it all and that’s how I like to say it,” gushes Sonal, whose From the Ground Up Project revolves around the initiative Pockets of Joy, which aims to encourage one to step back and savour the truly meaningful moments in life. It strives to create a safe space where individuals can share and appreciate significant moments, fostering mental health awareness by celebrating the small joys and happiness in life.
To sum it up about the project, she says, it’s all about ‘living life’, highlighting day-to-day beauty and embracing it. For example, she says, “Playing football brings me so much confidence and I feel connected with my football group. It’s such a good detox, which I feel the world today needs. It’s the little things and these are the moments of joy that make up life. The initiative highlights finding those things in life that bring joy and make you happy. I know we are going through so much around the globe. It’s more important now than ever to hold on to those moments that bring joy.”
Pretty complexion, large eyes, a strong jawline, a pointed nose, full lips, a trim build and so on. People’s fear of being evaluated is the reason they fail to recognise themselves in all the areas they work so hard for. And guess what? Above all, society is judgmental. So does she feel too that society has basically flawed the definition of beauty? She lightheartedly enunciates her thoughts, sharing, “I think beauty has always been subjective. You will not find two people talking the same thing about beauty in the exact same way. That is very important, as society obviously tries to make a mould of it. I’ve learned how beauty goes way beyond that mould and it also reflects how you think and grow up! I want people to stay true to their inner beauty because that stands stronger.”

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