Actress and Miss Universe 2000 Lara Dutta has a lot lined up for the third season of ‘Yamaha Fascino Miss Diva 2016’ reality TV series. It’s going to be an exciting journey with the 16 finalists, as they go through gruelling training sessions and innovative challenges. The winner of the pageant will represent India at Miss Universe 2016. Excerpts from an interview with the charming mentor-host Lara.
This year, you’ve added newer elements to the TV series…
Yes. We have tried to bring about changes based on what the international requirements are for the contestant who will represent India. This time, the concepts are different from your typical beauty pageant criteria. We want the girl to not just be a beauty queen, but one who can hold her own on the international fashion scene. We are also partnering with a new channel.
Is there a change in your role as well?
This year, I had the opportunity to pick the 16 finalists. I was probably like this shadow that they followed during their growing up years. Now when they see me standing in front of them, they are gobsmacked and nervous. It’s humbling to be in their presence because I’m transported to the time when I started out. That also brings the responsibility to try and give them as much as I can. I’m also a bit of a life coach to them. They literally become my babies.
Are you a task master?
I remember years ago when I was shooting on a bridge in London and the crew said, ‘change’ and I asked, ‘where?’ It was a rude awakening when I was told, ‘when we say change, you just change regardless of where you are.’ This business is extremely tough and it’s got even harder. You have to turn up the fire because you want to see grace under fire. I want a girl with gumption because I truly believe that’s the only girl who’s going to make it. You need to have a backbone of steel. I have to be taskmaster, but I am a bit of a softie too.
What’s the toughest part of your job?
It’s tough to bid goodbye to a girl. Unfortunately, you are trying to pick the best of the best. But we have a lot of girls who have participated and then come back a year or two later, far more confident, well- groomed, and with better body language.
Do you see a winner already?
It’s too early and you have dark horses. You always have girls who surprise you. I remember I was a dark horse at Miss Universe. No one saw Miss India coming from a mile and suddenly there she was!
Watch the series telecast on Colors Infinity, starting August 27, every Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm.