Her next great adventure - Neha Agarwal

Neha Agarwal is truly a force to be reckoned with. Having travelled across multiple continents over the last few years, she has now embarked on her next great adventure - Miss and Mrs Singapolitan 2017. We sit down with her to find out more about the challenges she’s faced thus far and her experiences living in different countries.

Why don’t you start by telling us how you ended up in this pageant?

I was an HR consultant for 5 years, working a full 9-7 job and was starting to find the whole routine a little hectic and monotonous. I needed a break from the routine so when I left my job last year, I was on the lookout for an exciting opportunity to try something different. That’s when I came across this pageant on Facebook. It’s actually a funny story. I didn’t even go for the auditions. I remember still contemplating whether I should go on the day of the auditions and finally deciding against it. I felt quite apprehensive about it and thought you needed to have the perfect body, the proper look and the right confidence to enter a pageant. I wasn’t completely sure I had all those.

But I guess not going for the auditions still nagged at me from the back of my mind and eventually, I decided to message Vanitha on Facebook. We met on face to face and connected instantly. She told me that there will be lots of professional workshops to prepare us for the pageant and it being my first time was no reason for me not to join. She also disproved my theory that pageants were all about the looks and told me that all you need is the right attitude, the passion and the drive to make it want to happen.  That’s how I ended up joining!

How has the experience been so far?

I’ve actually learnt so much, not just about personal grooming and styling, but also about myself.  The biggest takeaway would have to be becoming more confident of myself, my looks and my body.  You might not have the best body but it's all about the way you carry yourself and believe in your abilities.  Basically having the confidence and self-discipline to know that you're here to learn and continuing to keep an open mind and improve yourself on a daily basis. It’s about competing with yourself and not others. All the other contestants are really amazing and each has something different to offer. Having said that, one should not feel demoralised or feel that they can’t live up to the other contestants.  It’s about shining in your own way.

It's a very healthy competition in fact and the girls have been positive influences on one another. We’re all pretty close knit and I actually consider them my second family now.

What challenges have you faced thus far?

In a pageant, a lot of things take place very spontaneously whereby they just put you in front of a camera and expect you to talk about a particular experience. So initially it was a challenge to get used to talking to a camera and structuring your thoughts as you speak ‘Live'.  But I think I'm becoming more comfortable with it and as I said,  the journey's all about improving and learning so I’m definitely getting there.

Time spent with my family is definitely compromised to a certain extent but my family has been extremely supportive throughout this entire journey. My husband and son, as well as my family back in India, are extremely excited to watch me on TV and see how far I go in the competition.  I’ve a great network of friends over here as well, some of whom I’ve known since my school days, who have watched me grow up and constantly give me feedback on what I can improve on.

What are you passionate about?

I love to travel. I have travelled extensively across Europe, North America, South America, China and Japan. That's actually the reason why I needed a break from my career as well because I missed travelling and was itching for something new. I love to meet and interact with new people from different nationalities and cultures. I actually lived in London for 4 years before moving to Singapore. So I’ve spent my life in 3 countries so far. I have to say that Singapore is a country that really spoils you and the years spent here have been some of the best of my life. It’s so close to home as well and I can travel back and forth to India easily to see my parents.

Regardless of whether you win or not, what would you like to do after the pageant?

I was lucky to grow up in a really supportive and nurturing environment where my parents encouraged me to follow my passion. That has definitely shaped my attitude towards life and made me really confident and assured of my decisions. So if I were to win, I would like to tie up with charitable causes that support underprivileged children and help create a similar environment for them. And of course,  I would like to represent Singapore on an international platform to the best of my abilities and do as much as I can for this society which has given my family and I so much joy and happiness.  

I would still love to stay this industry even without the title. Through this experience, I’ve been trying to establish contacts and built up networks of people whom I can possibly work with after this pageant. I’m actually even looking at a long-term collaboration with Vanitha and her team. I would also like to explore modelling and public speaking assignments further down the road.

What quote or expression would you print on a T-shirt that embodies your values and beliefs?

To make an impact on and inspire people around me while giving back to society at large.

Miss and Mrs Singapolitan Islandwide 2017 will be shown on Vijay TV and Star Plus, starting from 26th May. You can also catch the action on Youtube.

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