The route to short-list seven finalists for Miss Sahodaran 2010 was filled with fun, glam and guts
The atmosphere is vibrant and cheerful. Contestants of Miss Sahodaran 2010 are all set to vie with each other for the title. Tension mounts high as the first round gets underway.It's a fashion contest for transgenders from Chennai, and is part of the LGBT Pride 2010 celebrations.
The bling quotient of the evening is unabashedly high. Garbed in Kanjivarams, glittery chiffons, salwar kameezes and western outfits, they stylishly sashay in front of the judges — Sarah Clymer, Vice-Consul, U.S. Consulate; Shakti Girish, Editor, Galatta Cinema; and Sahithya Jagannathan, Miss Chennai 2009.
And, while all this takes place we see a very contented Sunil Menon sitting back and encouraging the participants. Founder of Sahodaran (sexual health programme for gay and transgenders), Sunil started Miss Sahodaran in 1999, a year after the organisation was formed. “This is not just entertainment; for me this event is glamour as well as guts,” says Sunil.
It's interesting to note that the contestants have varied backgrounds. While some have a degree in Hotel Management or Engineering, some are commercial sex workers wanting to be free. Sunil feels people should be sensitised to the needs of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community.
End of round one of the pageant, and Sunil springs into action to organise the ‘Question and Answer' round. Nervous giggles precede some of the replies while a few are downright honest. One of the contestants is so nervous she can barely answer.
The crowd's favourite, of course, is Namitha, who keeps everyone in splits with her tongue-in-cheek replies. When asked why she wants to win the title, she replies: “So that Sunil can make me a model!” The questions range from why they want to win the title to what they'll do if they win , and who their dream man is. Malaika, the reigning Miss Sahodaran is present too, giving tips, and cheering for her potential successor.
Of the 18 participants, the judges short-list seven — Shwetha, Sada, Deepika, Ragasya, Priyanka, Kritika and Priya — for the finale, which will take place on June 27. . They are ecstatic. The ones that don't make it, pout a bit, but soon become part of the celebrations, revelling in the bonhomie around. You know what they say about happiness being contagious!
The winner, who will take over the crown and sash from Malaika, will be chosen through voting. . The finalists' profiles will be uploaded on http://orinam.net/Chennaipride/events/ by June 11.
The last date to vote is June 25.
JUNE'S LINE UP
June 11 — Documentary at the U.S. Consulate — Prodigal Sons (6 p.m.)
June12 — Poetry Reading at Madras Terrace House (6.45 p.m.)
June 14 — Web chat with Minal Hajratwala, U.S.-based lesbian writer of Indian origin (10 a.m.)
June 18 — Poster exhibition by Kalki at Alliance Francaise of Madras (5 p.m.)
June 19 and 20 — Cultural Programme at Spaces, Besant Nagar (6.30 p.m.)
June 26 — Finals of Miss Sahodaran at Kipling Café (7 p.m.)
June 27 — Chennai Rainbow Pride March at the Marina beach (4 p.m.)