Politics and Teen Feeling: Miss Teen Nepal 2006 Contestants Speak Out

Miss Teen Nepal 2006

Miss Teen Nepal 2006 Khusbu Oli (mid), first runner up Swekshya Adhikary (left) and second runner up Sambriddhi Rai Pic by Michael Copp via Kantipur

By Darshan Karki
(Inside: A Beauty Contest Amidst Maoist Pressure)

“Teenage isn’t an easy thing to define,” 19-year-old Sambriddhi Rai started the conversation. “The simplest way to put it would be we’re neither too old nor too young. And we haven’t been represented in Nepalese politics. We are the marginalized group in politics. Though full of innovative ideas nobody really takes us seriously.” We were in the premises of International Club, Sanepa (Lalitpur) to talk to the contestants of Miss Teen Nepal 2006 about the thrill of being a teenager. But the unexpected jump to politics came as a complete surprise. It seemed as though the beauties had had enough of answering the same old question of their reason of being in the beauty competition.

“Look at the situation of Nepalese politics,” Arpana Rayamajhi joined the conversation. “Leaders who can’t even stand on their own feet properly are fighting for the chair. I wonder why it is so difficult for us to move forward accepting change?”. Clad in a maroon t-shirt with stylish little holes and “Almost Famous” scribbled on it Arpana herself looked as though she wanted to depict a new generation of youths. “Instead someone young and energetic like Mani Kafle who fearlessly sang [pro-democracy] songs in the 19 day April Revolution should represent us,” she continued.

Indeed it is very easy for youths to complain but what about the solutions? We asked the contestants. “What would you do if you were in a political position?” The beauties looked confused and Arpana came up with the answer once again. “If you ask me I can easily say what should have been done but can’t say what exactly needs to be done.” An answer very much depicting the political awareness among teenagers.

Kusum Hachhethu had a different answer. “I guess the main problem is the lack of people who really understand the implications of politics in the field. The so called intellectuals aren’t active in politics. Take my father for instance. He writes articles, analyzes the political happenings but isn’t in active politics himself.”

Miss Teen Nepal Contestants

It is a coincidence that four of the seven girls taking part in this discussion (organized several days before the finale) ended up winning the four titles declared in the show. Pic by Shailendra Kharel

The discussion was gaining momentum and you could easily tell that the beauties were no way going to revert to talking about ‘beauty’ and ‘teenage’. It must have been the 19 day movement effect, with youngsters like them more interested in analyzing political happenings than busy themselves in the traditional teen talk about movies and fashion. “It’s not only with the reporters but we talk about politics some other times too,” one of them informed. They expressed their frustration on not being represented in main stream politics or being taken seriously in any matter but the most interesting part was the debate about 33% reservations for women.

“They say 33%, I just don’t understand it! What right do the males have to determine how much of what we need? And isn’t accepting 33% in itself accepting we aren’t equal to men? 50% is our right already?” Khusbu Oli debated. Sambriddhi had to calm her reasoning Kathmandu isn’t only Nepal and that 33% was only a step in bringing equality. Though you couldn’t tell if she was convinced by that.

However not all of the seven contestants were enjoying the conversation that was dominated by politics. There were some who had barely spoken a word. And Anju Tandukar seemed to lose her cool when the political talk just moved on from one issue to another. Finally she spoke out, “Weren’t we supposed to be discussing Teenage? How the hell did we jump to politics?” Finally there was no way out than to talk about the intended subject of discussion: “Teenage”.

Miss Talent Arpana Rayamajhi

Miss Talent Arpana Rayamajhi

Vicky Hirachan started the Teenage discussion saying “It is a phase when one can easily drift away. You can’t decide all the matters concerning your life on your own either.” “Parents need to be sensitive to the changes in their children and need to understand them,” Simple Thapa finally spoke out. Then it was the “Sweet Sixteen” lady Swekshya Adhikary’s turn to speak out. “Earlier I used to think that I would get a job immediately after my SLC exams. I used to think then I would be economically independent and could make all decisions on my own too. But when I did cross the “iron-gate” I realized that I had no skill for any job! So much for financial independence, I had so much to learn.”

Arpana agreed with her. “It is a learning phase indeed. Every teenager wants to experiment new things, whether it be good or bad. Smoking for instance is something taken up by most in this age. There’s no rule saying one should take up smoking at 30 but as a teenager one should always know one’s limitations.” Kusum saw teenage as the three phased phenomenon. “Early teens or at 13 we are too small to decide on our own. At 16 though limitations exist you are given certain freedoms as well. In my case I was allowed to wear makeup since then. At 18 you can capable of deciding for ourselves. Parents are there only to provide necessary feedbacks and guidance. You grow at a very fast rate both mentally and physically and have a great deal of enthusiasm and passion for life.”

“And because of the enthusiasm and vigor it is very difficult for us to strike a balance between negative and positive choices” Sambriddhi added. “That’s why moral education give to us as youngsters is of utmost importance. Teenagers today value their freedom but are equally determined to fulfill their responsibilities too. ”

This article, originally in Nepali, was first published in Thursday (Aug 31) edition of Kantipur daily. Darshan blogs at Zade Express.

Khusbu Oli..Miss Teen Nepal 2006

Miss Teen Nepal 2006 Khusbu Oli in the attire she conceptualized for the show.

A Beauty Contest Amidst Maoist Pressure

In a country like Nepal where Maoits are effectively controlling (and terrorizing) more than 90 percent rural villages, it is indeed a challenge for organizers to successfully hold a beauty pageant. That is only if you receive permission from the followers of the man who is still remembered for launching a cultural revolution in China. That is exactly what happened in Kathmandu yesterday when a 16-year-old girl Khusbu Oli was declared Miss Teen Nepal 2006 in a program organized to promote culture and talent. After receiving threats from the Maoist sister organization All Nepal Women’s Association (Revolutionary), Kathmandu Jaycees, the organizer of the show, had to cut short the program with some changes. Miss Photogenic, Best Smile and Best Cultural Dress and Miss Congeniality, an award for the person voted most friendly by the other contestants, were thrown out of the program. Claiming that Miss Teen program was a beauty pageant on small scale, Maoists had pressurized the organizers to postpone the competition for the time being. Jaycees, according to its chairman Manil Shrestha, explained that the program wasn’t a beauty pageant and was organized to promote culture and expose talents of the participating girls.

Khusbu talks like a feminist when it comes to issues related to women rights. “We need 50 percent and equal rights,” she had told in a discussion with Kantipur daily a few days ago. “Who are these men to give us 33 percent reserve.” She was commenting on recent decision by the parliament. While introducing herself to the audience present at the grand finale Wednesday evening, Khusbu said that women need to move forward changing themselves first and accepting realities. In a common question asked to all top seven contestants, Khusbu gave priority to education over health and wealth. “What do you think is the most important in life among health, wealth and education?” was the question. Five girls said education tops the list while two opined health was the most important factor with education and wealth following it. “Education gives satisfaction which is the key to healthy and wealthy life,” Khusbu said.

“Health is the most important because if you are healthy, you can have education,” replied Arpana Rayamajhi who was declared Miss Talent in the show. Organizers said that Arpana won the title for her guitar and vocal presentation in the Talent Show organized a few weeks ago. Fluent in political expressions, Arpana introduced herself to the audience with these lines among others, “Real people had to be acknowledged if these (beauty contests) serve purpose.”

It seemed that the program was organized by an inexperienced organization with limited knowledge about the procedure. There were numerous lapses. One of the MCs kept addressing a male judge as Miss and the dance performed in the remix version of Kalkatte Kaiyo was so poorly executed that it was torture for audience than entertainment. Some of the participating girls were either confused or seemed to not to be catching up the questions properly. Program was poorly managed and executed. Audiences were bored as organizers spent most of the time talking about sponsors of the program.

Interestingly, one of the questions asked by a judge to a contestant was related to the future of beauty contests in the backdrop of protests by women rights activists. “Some women and organizations protest these kinds of programs arguing that women are portrayed as object,” women rights activist and advocate Sapana Pradhan Malla asked Sambriddhi Rai. “They are also fighting for women rights. What do you think about such protest and how could, in your opinion, such programs could be taken forward in future?” Rai replied: “This competition provided me a forum to showcase my talent and I have already felt my confidence boosted and personality changed for better. I think these kinds of programs should be continued in future.” Also supportive of the program was a former winner of the title. Before handing over the crown to Khusbu, Priyanka Karki, Miss Teen Nepal 2005, described changed that she experienced herself after winning the crown last year. “After winning the crown, she said, I am not the same ordinary girl. I have felt my personality has become better and confidence level has risen.” By DW. This article is based on DW’s report of the event published in Thursday edition of Kantipur.

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31 thoughts on “Politics and Teen Feeling: Miss Teen Nepal 2006 Contestants Speak Out”

  1. Thanks for giving a break from politics for the moment. It is very pleasing to see these beautiful ladies here. This competition was important for us because Nepal couldn’t organize Miss Nepal pageant this year.

    I just don’t understand why these Maoist brats are disturbing the organizers? What’s wrong with declaring the title Miss Best Photogenic and Miss Best Cultural Dress? Doesn’t Best Cultural Dress title let the girls be more creative and understand their culture? Maoists should stop being our cultural police and let us enjoy our freedom guaranteed by the constitution (yes, even the draft of the interim constitution).

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  2. It is not only encouraging but also inspiring to see that our young women are also thinkers. It is great for us that the future of Nepal is in the hands of thinkers and self starters. Although I am a man myself, I have always had great faith in the women of the world and believe (especially in the case of our nation) that it is most likely the women who will take us to prosperity, but they have to be given equal legal standing. I have no doubt the rest they will achieve themselves.

    In the words of Wangari Mathai:

    “Women in general need to know that it’s OK for them to be the way they are — to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.”

    And from the one and only Gloria Steinem:

    “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”

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  3. Nice girls. Welcome to the era of consumerism where doctrines dont have any place. Thanks at last, its not about politics.

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  4. “Voluntary submission to Cultural and Linguistic Colonization”

    “??????? ??????????? ?? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ???? ??? ?????”

    ? ????? ????, ??? ?

    ????? ?? ?????? ?????, ?????? ?????, ?????? ????????? ?? ????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ?? ????? ????????? ?? “??????? ?? ??????? ????? ???????? ????????” ??? ??? ???? ???? ????? ??? ?????

    ??? ???? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ?????? ????
    ???? ?????? ????? ?????? ???????? ?? ?????; ???? ??????? ??????????? ?? ??????? ????????? ??????? ?? ?????? ?????? ?? ????????

    ??? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ???????? ????? ???? ??? ?????? ???? ??? ??????? ?? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ?? ?????? ? ??? ???? ????? ??? ??????? ??? ??? ????? ???? ?? ????? ???? ????? ?????!

    ???? ????????? ????:, ?????, ??, ????? ??? ???? ???? ?? ??? ????? ?? ? ???? ?????? ????, ???? ?????? ????, ???? “?????? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ???????” ????? ???? ??? ??? ????? ??? ??????? ???????, ?? ???? ??, ?? ???? ?? ?

    ??????? ?????? ????? “??????? ????, ???? ????, ?????? ????, ?????? ????” ???? ??? ????, ?????? ?????? ?? ?? “????” ???????? ??, ??? ??

    ????? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ??????? ????? ???, ???? ??? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ???, ?????? ?????? ?? ????? ? ???? ?? ??? ?? ???? ? ????????? ??? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ????; ?? ????? ?????? ????????? ? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ??????
    ???? ??????? ??????????? ?? ?????, ?????????, ?????, ????? ?? ????, ????, ???? ???? ?? ???? ?????? ???, ??? ????? ??? ?? ??????? ?????? ??? ?????????, ??? ???? ????? ???? ??? ??????? ?? ??????? ? ???? ?? ???? ????????? ????? ?????? ? ????? ?????? ????????? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ??, ?????? ?????? ??????? ????? ???? ????? ?? ? ???? ???? ??????!

    ???? ??????? ??????????? ???? ??? ?? ???? ? ????????-??????, ?????? ???????? ?? ???? ????? ????? ?????? ?

    ???? ???, ?????? ??? ??? ????? ???

    ???? ??????? ????? ???? ?????? ??????? ??? ????? ???? ??, ?????? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ????????? ?? “???????” ??? ??????, ???? ?????, ????? ????? ???? ?????? ??? ???????? ?

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  5. ?????? ???????,
    ????? ?????????????? ??????? ??????? ????? ???????? ??????????????????? ??? ?????? ??? ??? ????? ???? ? ??, ??????? ???? ?????????? ?????? ???? ???? ? ?? ????? ???????? ???? ?????? ????? ?????? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ??????? ??? ?????????????? ???? ?

    Let them speak in the language that they feel comfortable with, Nepali Gharti ji. Oh..yes, talking about the Miss Teen Nepal contest, I would have really appreciated if the contestants were spontaneous in their introduction notes. As you mentioned correctly, a lady missed her script and faced embarrassment because she tried to use the vocabulary that were too difficult for her to use in normal conversation. She could have introduced herself naturally with simple lines.

    Language is a medium of expression and the more languages you learn, the more empowered you feel. Actually, language is symbol of power. You don’t have to rely on others if you understand the particular language. So let’s encourage people to learn more and more language. Lets not discard them as anti-nationals etc.

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  6. What are beauty contests after all? What are they of? Of body? Of brain? Of wisdom or of stupidity? Are the contestant not parallel to Nagarbadhu of by-gone days? Freedom to nakedness is personal right and is so prostitution and gigoloism. Then what is wrong to accept beauty contest as a method of eve’s flesh sale promotiion or just a pretence of flesh exhibition?

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  7. Why so much hue and cry over beauty contest? You have the right not to watch them or not to talk about them if you don’t like them. Most of the girls taking part in beauty contests might be far wise and knowledgeable then you. Let them show their talents and compete with each other. Don’t try to undermine their freedom to do so. They can do so as long as they are not disturbing the society. This is 21 first century and we are a democracy. Hello, are you listening?

    By the way Nepali Gharti ji,

    Nepali pani ali suddha lekheko bhaye hune!

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  8. Someone quoted ‘Gloria Steinem’; beauty pageant must have been Steinem’s last arsenal in the war of genders. but inarguably, ‘it’–the beauty pageant, is an empowering tool in its own way, at least for the Nepali urban women, in this case pre-pubescent women. No doubt, there are better ways to advocate for the women rights, but who are we (men) to say, how it should be done.

    I don’t have any qualms against beauty pageants, but i have some serious issues with the organizers. Why can’t they leave the contest just carnal? After all, that’s what it is about. Why have trouble injecting aura of academics and pseudo-intelligence into it, by asking rather tough questions putting bewildered contestants on spot, which is embarrassing most of the time for the contestant as well as viewers. You want to cower with embarrassment underneath your couch, while listening to their stupid answers.

    So, let’s have these contests be just for carnal beauty, if contestants feel the need to show that there is more to the eyes, and there is a grey matter between theirs’ ears, there are more appropriate outlets to prove that.

    I don’t want to see Jenna Jameson doing Sudoko or musing about the world hunger while I watch her movies.

    Ladies, empowerment one at time, please!!!!

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  9. UWB_Suvchintak ji,

    la tapai pani, Steinem didi ta chinnu vayane, thikai cha, sushri jenna pani na chinne.

    uni chai, asalil cinema ka sarai prativasil avinetri hunu huncha.

    la tapai ajai gayera, uha ko cinema, vada ma liyera heri halnus. uha ko avinaya dekhera, tapai pachutaunu hune chai na!!!

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  10. Mitra ji and Srijan ji,
    I doubt how much the outdated philosophy of breaking loose of one’s cultural heritage and adopting a capitalist dictation when globalisation has crippled poverty-trodden economic territories such as Nepal can make meaning for us so far and so on we want to retain our integrity and remain as Nepalese. But definitely, to represent the rhetoric of
    English in a gathering where there was no Englishman and where each Nepali person present there may have had an estranged feeling of foreignness and awkwardness did sound peculiar to me.

    One of the reasons of my comment was that each time the announcer or the participant was imitating their Englishness, they were struggling, and I was wondering about the rest of the audience and their literacy of English. To add to this tragedy, we Nepalese, unfortunately, feel ashamed of not knowing English, which is again the poverty of our mind (Nepalese feel ashamed of not knowing English because they are afraid of being exposed to their so-called poor educational background or lower economic upbringing. However, to me, literacy of English has NOTHING TO DO with any of these Nepali-created epithets (money, education etc).

    Talking about the Post-Modern 21st century, do we realize it is the century of “cultural colonization” and its resistance by those who can and submission for those who cannot? English or any European language does not have the prestige of the outdated 19th century fever any more, which Nepalese people may not be fully aware of.
    Post-colonial post-modern post-communist 21st century has come with each country in the world ranking its own native language above intruding foreign languages EXCEPT Nepal because of our lack of pride in our own heritage and lack of knowledge of world events. Please talk to any European-French, German, Arab or Japanese to find out more about it. Would Japanese organize a beauty pageant in English? Would Chinese do so? Unless they need some kind of psycho-traumatic mental treatment.

    There are many examples in Nepal that can manifest our poverty of thought and sense.
    We do not like our grand father’s names, such as Dambar Bahadur or Radheshyaam Prasad or female names like Ghan Kumari or Chitra Kumari because such names are outdated to us. But names like John, Mathew, Sarah, or Mary, which are actually two thousand year old names, are new and young names to us. We could proudly adopt them. We respect foreign names, no matter where they come from. Poor Us!

    And no wonder, it is nothing but a denial of our own identity. We do not want to let others know that our parents came from Olangchung Khola, that they came from agrarian profession and that they wore kachhaad and bhoto.
    But I am proud of it, proud of our heritage, our Nepali names and languages because this is a post-modern-post-colonial post-communist era, the new era of cultural representation, resistance to transgressions and reconstruction identities through heritage of the marginalized minorities.
    Mitra ji and Srijan ji, do not you think when Nepalese speak “their Nepali” English, it is nothing but to force rocks into the speakers’ mouths and push rocks into the ears of the audiences. We do it because we love “ADAMBAR”, a lie, a showy cheap business and in its course we are voluntarily colonizing ourselves.

    I pity our so called “adambari” generation!

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  11. To add a few more lines;

    To me, English is associated with the brutality of the colonial period, genocide of the Native Americans, the repression on women until only 1960s, the slavery of the Africans, the class and race discrimination which exists very much today in all capitalist countries. And also this language reminds me Christianity missionaries, the fundamentalist priests of one of the most conservative and uni-directional, autocratic and sprituality-less relious beleifs (although far better than Islam, which is even more horrible).

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  12. Nothing in the world is so good or so bad. Truth we call is just what we want to believe as verified by our personal experience. I believe this.

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  13. A beauty contest like this in a country like Nepal is a big joke. Everyone knows that these girls come from well-off families that reside in Kathmandu. (Maybe a few come from Pokhara, Biratnagar and other cities.) They represent the wealthiest scion of our society. Yet their complaints of underrepresentation are disgusting. How can somebody who is able to participate in contests like this complain in a country where there are farmers being abused, women being trafficked, and children being forced as child soldiers?

    But alas this is the mentality of people in Kathmandu. Attend beauty contests, protest the king so that Girija and Prachanda can take over the country and try to cope with being a “teenager” while other 18-year-olds have gone to India to prevent being kidnapped by the Maoists.

    I have always agreed with 90% of what the Maoists have said. But I deplore 90% of their solutions. They are correct to oppose this kind of contest. But the use of threats to shut it down is vicious. Oh well, maybe these girls will enjoy working in Rukhum once they control the government. By the way don’t try to defend their words and actions by focusing on their age. I’m a teen too.

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  14. Mitra

    I am not making hue and cry. Neither I have objection on flesh market. I am for prostitution and gigoloism if someone likes to take these professions. Just accept the truth. Beauty contest is nothing but just selection of Badhus as in Dabur beauty queen(or Dabar Badhu). Otherwise what benefit these beauty contests bring and whom they bring to?

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  15. see the beautu contest is one of the aspect that helps the beauty to come out and show that one will be able toi do something by their beauty.so its very good and i wish miss khusbu oli best of luck and keep her good work .i wouldbe grateful if someone would tell her that she should persue her this kind of work.

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  16. [icd] it, its total bullshit. People are dying outhere, starving without food, and these [icd], are organising some [icd] miss teen thing, It would be lot better to feed the hungry people in my opinion.

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  17. Khusbu Oli congratulation!

    You are looking so aowsome!!!!

    So keep going……………..

    I wish you all the best!!!!

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  18. Note to Miss Teen nepal: you are irrelevant. no one takes you seriously. the only attention you get is from people who masturbate to your “inner beauty”. In one year’s time, you will be replaced by another doll; and you will probably be in the united states studying in some college worrying about how to pay the next semester’s tuition fees.

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  19. hay dis miss teen nepal is jst to forearn da name in medai.nobudy in miss teen are perfect to represent da nepal.sch lik talkin abt miss teen ayusha karki.she jst cam to earn da name in media.so all neplease had missconcept for goin to miss teen.its should be proper way

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  20. Quoting Pravin:

    “A beauty contest like this in a country like Nepal is a big joke. Everyone knows that these girls come from well-off families that reside in Kathmandu. (Maybe a few come from Pokhara, Biratnagar and other cities.) They represent the wealthiest scion of our society. Yet their complaints of underrepresentation are disgusting. How can somebody who is able to participate in contests like this complain in a country where there are farmers being abused, women being trafficked, and children being forced as child soldiers?

    But alas this is the mentality of people in Kathmandu. Attend beauty contests, protest the king so that Girija and Prachanda can take over the country and try to cope with being a “teenager” while other 18-year-olds have gone to India to prevent being kidnapped by the Maoists.”

    Amen!

    Quoting Kanak:
    “Note to Miss Teen nepal: you are irrelevant. no one takes you seriously. the only attention you get is from people who masturbate to your “inner beauty”. In one year’s time, you will be replaced by another doll; and you will probably be in the united states studying in some college worrying about how to pay the next semester’s tuition fees.”

    Amen Amen.

    Quoting the article:

    “Clad in a maroon t-shirt with stylish little holes and “Almost Famous” scribbled on it Arpana herself looked as though she wanted to depict a new generation of youths.”

    Poor writer!

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  21. one rotten potato!!! u guys give a fuck about these?? Do u know how much confidence these pageants bring to the contestants lives??? Jealous u r people, and grow up!! Only then will you see the best part of going out there and competing…

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  22. can anyone please tell me when is miss teen nepal being held this year and what are the requirements needed for participating in it…

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