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Updated: October 7, 2011 18:52 IST

‘You win and you lose…'

Prabalika M. Borah
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Vasuki Sunkavalli in Hyderabad.
Vasuki Sunkavalli in Hyderabad.

Vasuki Sunkavalli on making it to the Miss Universe Pageant but still not being able to compete, her plans for the future, Prabalika M. Borah discovers more

Her smile doesn't wear off despite long power cuts interrupting the photo shoot. She's a picture of poise and prettiness. It's been two weeks since her return from Brazil where she went to compete for the coveted title of Miss Universe. Things didn't quite go right for Vasuki but she doesn't want to say ‘she lost.' “Winning and losing happens when you compete. One fails when they appear for the test. In my case it was like I reached the examination centre but did not take the test.” Vasuki explains, “My costumes didn't arrive so I couldn't compete. I entered the contest thinking I should give it a try, since I was modelling and didn't want to regret not having tried the pageant at all later. I made it to the pageant but couldn't represent myself and my country with the other contestants. I still don't know where I stand with the other contestants,” she laments.

Dressed casually in a pair of denims and a strappy frilly top, Vasuki says she is staying in her parents' apartment in Banjara Hills because it is closer to the city. “My parents stay in Kondapur but they keep shuttling between both houses and that gives us the family time,” she says.

Right now Vasuki is undecided and plans to be in the country till the end of the year. “In the past 10 years I haven't really stayed in Hyderabad for a longer time. This visit of mine is after two years so I'm making the most of it,” she says.

Vasuki says over the years the city looks new to her but is happy that the people she is close to, haven't changed with the city. “Nevertheless, Hyderabad is home so I would never stop loving my city. It grows into you,” she smiles.

A student of law, Vasuki went to Symbiosis International University in Pune, to do her masters and then went on to do a two-year course in Intellectual Property Rights in Delhi. “After which I was sure I wanted to do international law and human rights and that took me to New York University,” she says. A serious student of law, Vasuki nurtured a secret dream. “I studied for the longest time of my life and didn't want to regret not having given my other dream a shot. When I was in Delhi I had a chance meeting with Sushma Purie and Tarun Tahiliani. We met at a party and Sushma and Tarun made an offer for me to model. I didn't take up the offer then as I was yet to complete my law studies. But Sushma kept in touch and made sure I had a contract in my hand the moment I was done with my studies,” recollects Vasuki.

But has she been able to do justice to both her passions? “Absolutely. I don't think it is impossible for a person to do two different things,” she says.

Recollecting her first stint at modelling and her first experience of walking the ramp she says, “My first show was for Rajesh Pratap Singh at the fashion week. Ours was the opening show and to my horror there was no music. The music we had to follow was the sound of breathing. I was nervous but I pulled it off.”

What about parents' reaction to their daughter wanting to walk the ramp? “My parents always wanted me to follow my heart. At times such suggestion doesn't help much,” she laughs.

Is the break relaxing? “I like to live in a time crunch situation. I do not like the feeling of waking up in the morning and not rushing to work or going to school (as I feel I have studied for the longest time). Right now I haven't been doing anything except go out meet friends and since we have a huge extended family I am meeting my family as well. But I don't think I will enjoy this for a long. My ideal day is when I am busy at work.” Vasuki worked with the Human Rights Watch in New York for a month and then worked with the External Affairs Ministry. But had to give up her job to be a part of the ‘Wadhawan I am she' in India.

“The organisers of ‘Wadhavan I am she' approached me last year. But I was still studying so had to refuse the offer, this year they approached me again and since I had completed my studies I took it up and had to forego my job,” says Vasuki. When asked about her fitness routine Vasuki says she has been an athlete and also played basketball, “I have been blessed with good genes I must say,” she smiles.

After having lost the title what was Vasuki's first thoughts. Was she nervous about returning without the crown and being under the scanner? “I would have lost had I walked the ramp. Like I said, my national costume by Neeta Lulla was stuck at the customs. And that was the first to be ready in my wardrobe. All I did was introduce myself to the judges but not compete for the crown,” she reiterates. Did the instance make her cry? “I was livid, at the point of time I was angry and yet helpless,” she says.

What is her take on beauty pageants now that she went for Miss Universe, “With so many reality shows on beauty pageants aren't as popular as they used to be. Especially with India having such a large Bollywood following. But I seriously feel there is no point crying over spilt milk.”

And what about settling down? “You mean marriage right?” she laughs. “I am settled, I like to believe. But marriage isn't on the cards right now. I plan to work for some more time and then do my Ph.D,” says Vasuki.

Right now Vasuki is catching up on a lot of reading which she hasn't done for a while. “I love reading history and world affairs. Right now I am reading the autobiography of a Holocaust Survivor,” she smiles.

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