Bangalore girl Noyonita Lodh has her eyes set on the Miss Universe crown this year. Aiming to represent India in "the best way" at the global event in Miami later this month, she hopes to break the over decade-long dry spell for Indian beauty queens at the pageant.
Noyonita was crowned Yamaha Fascino Miss Diva Universe 2014 in October 2014, and will now compete with women from across the world at the Miss Universe 2015 event Jan 25 in Miami. It will be the 63rd edition of the competition.
Talking about her preparations for the D-day, Noyonita told IANS: "I have been working and training very hard. Every aspect is important; so I have been training for the catwalk, diction, hair and make-up and camera angles."
As far as her personal preparations are concerned, she said, "I believe in being myself as that's when a person's true personality and confidence come out. I am just focussing on representing India in the best possible way."
Only two Indian women have won the Miss Universe crown in the past. Sushmita Sen won the title in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.
Interestingly, both the winners made their way into Hindi cinema - much like other beauty pageant winners such as Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Yukta Mookhey and Dia Mirza.
But for now, Noyonita's focus is purely on the Miss Universe 2015 contest, which will feature nearly 90 contestants from across the globe.
"Currently, the pageant is my sole focus and I want to give it all my attention. It has been my goal since I was a little girl. Of course, if I get an opportunity in Bollywood, I would like to try out for it, but I don't have any specific film-related plans," said the 21-year-old.
A student of Business Management at the St. Joseph's College of Commerce in Bangalore, Noyonita had won two local pageants at the age of 16 and 18 before she won Miss Diva Universe 2014.
With a passion for the cause of women's empowerment, Noyonita had earlier shared that she wishes to rid society of "gender discrimination".
"Pageants are not only about beauty but also about brains and your role in social awareness," she had said.