You should love what you do and do what you love. Aayushi Dholakia is a person who believes in doing what she loves. She is the winner of ‘Miss Teen International 2019‘. She is an inspiration to many teenagers. Aayushi has made our country proud by winning the title after 27 years. I interviewed her to know about her journey and how she is influencing the lives of several others, who want to live their dreams.
Talking about her motivation and inspiration, Aayushi mentioned that her mother has been very particular about her modeling career. Aayushi said,
“My mom has introduced me to this whole journey. She always wanted me to be on the stage. She used to take me to those locals pageants which happen in our city like Princess Vadodra, princess Gujrat. Because I was very small, I was 7”. Aayushi started the journey when she was a kid. And, at the time she only knew that she had to look good while performing on the stage. Aayushi mentioned “From that age, there was no looking back. I fell in love with the stage, I fell in love with the field of performing arts. And I have just been into it at all times.”
Aayushi got really inspired when Navneet Kaur Dhillon won the title of Miss India 2013. She decided at that time that she has to go on stage. But did not have an idea about the amount of hard work it needs. Also, what background work goes into reaching that point. Aayushi came across the ‘Miss Teen India’ beauty pageant when she was in her 10th standard. She quoted,
“I have taken smaller steps to climb that ladder, and I have finally reached there. I came across Miss teen India in 2018, but I was in my 10th grade at that time. Also, I decided to keep a follow-up on the pageant and next year I will give a shot.”
She said that it has been an incredible journey so far. However, she takes inspiration from former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen. Talking about Sushmita, Aayushi elaborated,
“I have grown up watching her. I have prepared myself by watching her video, I have prepared myself just by looking at the way she talks. The way she conducts herself, there is a particular kind of aura that she carries. And I feel that is the true epitome of women because she just sticks to her words, whatever she has said, whatever she has committed, she had made it a point that she does. So yeah, she has been a person that I always look up to.”
Therefore, Aayushi is really thankful to her mother for introducing her to this place.
Aayushi however feels lucky that her parents have always supported and encouraged her. She proudly talks about how her father is a doctor and she should be studying medicine. But her father has always taught her to follow her heart. Aayushi feels that if one wants to inspire, he/she should be inspired first. She is inspired by her father. Aayushi said that the best thing her father told her was ‘The Three Ps’. The most important Ps of life – Persistence, Perseverance, and Patience. Aayushi quoted,
“One thing he has taught me is that, you should do what you actually love. When you do something you love, it just comes to you naturally, without extra efforts. You do it at an automatic pace. This is the lesson he has taught me. And I feel really grateful to him.”
When asked about how she prepared herself for the pageant, Aayushi explained,
“The beauty pageant is the whole culmination of everything, it is whole personality development. It starts from the way you talk, from the way you walk, the way you eat, the way you dress, the way you conduct yourself, and everything.”
She was a very chubby kid, and when she decided that she has to go for modeling she decided to get into shape. So she invested time in her body. Therefore, she decided to stay fit.
While describing her training before winning the pageant, Aayushi said that she has traveled to different cities to brush up on her skills. Also told how she has to meet all the requirements and live up to the expectations of the previous winner who has already secured a place. Aayushi stated,
“All I was thinking is that I have to put my best foot forward. Then there was training in Mumbai, another training in Pune so there was a lot of training for brushing up, getting better, trained, groomed, being ready for the pageant and of course, that time, fitness went hand in hand”.
Aayushi explained about the experience in Delhi where she met 22 other contestants who were competing for the crown. She also explained about her winning moment which is the most cherished moment of her life. Aayushi expressed,
“When India was announced and we got the first crown, I still get goosebumps at times thinking about it”.
While talking about her academics, She told me how she had to miss her school and examinations. And, she did not go to school for 2-3 months. She feels one should just prioritize their work and things become easier. However, she praised her school for being cooperative and supporting her.
“So that way help and support of everyone and the prioritizing formula helped me to juggle between the studies and beauty pageant”.
This lockdown has been tough for everyone all around the world. While discussing how Aayushi spent her lockdown, she mentioned that just after she won the title the lockdown happened. She told me her reigning period is the longest and still has her reigning period on. During this lockdown, she realized that people will remember you for your actions and words and not because of which clothes you wore at an event. So this lockdown helped her connect to people with the help of her social media handle, and she made it a point to help in every smallest way she could.
Aayushi also mentioned the workshop she conducted during the lockdown for all the aspiring pageants and tried sharing her knowledge with those girls.
Everyone has a passion for something in their life which they really love to do. Aayushi is a trained Indian classical dancer. Moreover, she started dancing at the age of 5 years – 6 years. And, from then it has been an amazing part of Aayushi’s life. Aayushi shared that she shares a long 13 years of relationship with dancing. She loves expressing herself through dancing. Aayushi told that she resonates with the dance form Kathak,
“It helps me to be calm in a very tough situation and always take decisions effectively.” Therefore, she has not boxed herself with one dance form.”
Asking about her plans Aayushi told that her next target is Femina Miss India and has been her childhood dream. But for now, she just wants to focus on her graduation. She wants to pursue Mass Communication. Also, she wants to take modeling and dancing side by side as this is where her heart lies. However, she is open to all the opportunities which come in her life and wants to enjoy life to the fullest.
Telling about her Podcast “Curly Tales with Aayushi Dholakia” told her that it was her 18th birthday gift to herself. Also, the first episode talks about the number 18. However, she wanted to start a blog but when she spoke the write-up in front of her parents that’s when she realized her impactful voice. Aayushi said,
“I knew if I speak it in front of people it gonna hit differently. So I decided why not venture into something different”.
However, she knew that starting a podcast would be completely different from her league but she gave it a try and got a really good response. The podcast helps Aayushi to channelize her love for writing as well as speaking. Moreover, she keeps experimenting with different topics.
Being an extroverted kid, Aayushi wanted to try everything new in her life. Aayushi expressed that there is nothing that has changed but matured from childhood to adulthood. She mentioned that the kind of Aayushi you have met three years ago and the way she is today is just that she has improved herself with every passing day and has gotten better. She quoted, “Nothing changes it just improves with every passing day”.
Aayushi also runs an NGO from the age of 14. The NGO “Happy Go, Happy Club” initially aimed at spending time with old age people. She said that during festivals when there is a sense of togetherness, people living in Old Age homes miss their families. So Aayushi and her friends decided on Diwali to spend time with them, play games and just be there for them. Later, she expanded the NGO and more people joined in. And, started to address different issues in society.
Concluding the interview, Aayushi said,
“The only message I would like to give is to just be yourself at all times.”