Representing India on an international platform comes with its own set of challenges. When Adline Castelino auditioned for Miss Diva 2020 in Chennai, she had no idea about what was coming. Before she knew it, she was in the Top 20 delegates and soon after, in the Top 5! The rest is history as Castelino broke the 20-year-old gap of India’s non-placement in the Miss Universe Top 5 competition.
We caught up with the glamorous diva to talk about her journey so far, the most overwhelming moments and what’s in store next.
During your entire time in Miss Diva from the time you auditioned till you won the Miss Universe India title, tell us – what was the most overwhelming moment for you?
Adline: I have never done pageants before, this was my first one. I had zero doubts while applying for it because I was backed by my gut and prepared for 3 years. But the most overwhelming moment was to stand on that stage and represent my country. The hurdles and hustles to get things together was worth it. I felt destiny in my gut for the very first time.
What was the prep process like?
Adline: I had a grand vision not just for the way I wanted to represent my country but wanted to bring change in how people perceived this platform as well as reach the women to bring out their ability to be leaders. Hence, I challenged myself to work from within by reading books and getting to know people from various walks of life. I really wanted to reach the people and serve them by using the platform, so I got myself busy with bettering some of my weaker skills like communication, digitisation and other aspects of presentation such as grooming and curating an individual style.
Representing India on an International level comes with its own set of nervous moments and stress factors; how did you deal and cope with it?
Adline: I was well prepared for the moments, that is what COVID has taught me; Be prepared for the worst and do your best. My desire to make my country proud that alone helped me sustain my motivation to perform my best especially after going through COVID even though I was cut off from the team up till the day I left for the competition. I experienced the importance of the spiritual practices I had for 4 years, which helped me grow through the most difficult phase of my life.
From the outside, the pageant world looks ultra-glamorous; what are some of the lesser-known struggles that models face behind the scenes?
Adline: Every field has its pros and cons, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed and insecure. It becomes very important to work on your inner self when you face a lot of insecurities and people will base your value solely on your looks, well not everyone but this is an industry of beauty so one should be ready and have a defined goal so as to not get lost in the glitz and the glam.
What’s the one thing you wish someone had prepared you for before you won the title?
Adline: I had researched and spoke to many people before I came here but obviously, there are some things that only experience teaches you. I think one thing I wish I would know is how important it is to surround yourself with your loved ones and friends that give you the support and encouragement required to sustain and outgrow in this field.
When you look back, is there something you wish you did differently?
Adline: I honestly wished I was kind to myself. This journey made me realise how important it is, to keep a check on yourself. To strive smartly for your goals but keep yourself happy enough to enjoy it when you reach your destination. No matter what you have been told, there is no competition, don’t chase, work on yourself and attract your destiny.
What’s the most common misconception/stereotype about beauty pageants and their winners?
Adline: The biggest misconception that I know of is that beauty precludes intelligence, some may feel that title holders are entitled but I’ve seen the most hardworking women get misunderstood and taken for granted. That is why I encourage women to stand by each other and not be competitive because we all are trying to break the same invisible glass ceiling that falsely exists in our heads. We need to work together to change that for ourselves and our future generations to ensure the future is filled with more love and consideration that is missing, as one gender is still sidelined.
For the girls who want to be Miss India in the future, what are some tips you can suggest?
Adline: Please do your research thoroughly and talk to as many people as you can, but make sure you listen to your gut at the end of it. I was told many times that I don’t fit the bill but I made sure I worked on myself whether it was my lisp or my grooming. Also, make sure you are comfortable with being vulnerable because then you can bring something unique about yourself in this field. It is about the value you bring that makes you memorable.
What has been the best piece of advice given to you so far and by whom?
Adline: Lara Dutta is someone I look up to and during the most difficult phase, her words brought me a lot of light. She said that we cannot always control the outcome in our lives but we can definitely control how we perform and that makes all the difference.
Tell us a little bit about your upcoming plans?
Adline: I have a vision and I’m filled with passion about it. I want to be someone who moves an audience with stories. I want them to laugh, cry and feel everything in between and that is what I want to bring through my craft when I play a character. I want to play roles that challenge the status and perceptions about women and feel lucky to be there in a time when narratives considering gender and status norms are being challenged.
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