Nandita Banna received pageant judges over together with her grace, poise, and eloquence, which have been undiminished by a couple of haters displeased together with her victory due to her background.
The 21-year-old enterprise administration undergraduate will fly the Singaporean flag excessive come December when she joins dozens of different contestants from around the globe to vie for the Miss Universe crown in Israel. She remembers being inundated with calls congratulating her on being topped Miss Universe Singapore final month, earlier than nasty feedback began streaming in from benighted corners of the web (We see you, HardwareZone), the place individuals labeled her a “new citizen” and doubted her Singaporean-ness.
“I feel they don’t understand that though I’ve immigrant heritage I’ve been right here my complete life and I used to be born and introduced up right here and I can’t think about residing anyplace else aside from Singapore,” she stated in a current interview.
Her mother and father relocated from Andhra Pradesh, India, to Hong Kong, after which Singapore, in quest of a greater life. Most of her relations have additionally discovered new houses in different components of the world, however her aged grandparents stay in India, she stated.
“I did return there yearly earlier than the pandemic, after all. I’ve my grandparents there who’re fairly outdated and we’d wish to maintain them a bit … we’re form of the closest household that they’ve,” she stated, including: “Hopefully, as soon as the pandemic passes, we are able to pay them a go to.”
She has relations in nations together with the USA. Her brother is a college scholar in Canada.
For the subsequent couple of months, Nandita’s schedule is packed. She can be juggling her training, pageant coaching, and most vital of all, weighing in on the nationwide costume. Is Nandita beneath stress to outdo her predecessor? Final yr’s title winner Bernadette Belle Ong made headlines with a cape printed with the phrase “Stop Asian Hate” on the peak of tension over hate crimes towards Asian-People.
“By way of whether or not my nationwide costume could have a really robust political message, that’s one thing I’m nonetheless fascinated by as a result of I don’t need it to be a contest or like a one-up factor the place Belle has accomplished a really political assertion in 2020,” she stated. She thought final yr’s costume was a “daring” transfer that was applicable on a worldwide scale, however when utilized to Singapore, the phrase form of turns into a “blanket assertion.”
“I feel that assertion applies extra on a world stage as a result of there are nations the place Asians are the minorities, so there’s a have to push the message of stopping Asian hate,” she stated.
“I feel we should be a bit extra understanding of the distinctive scenario right here and perceive that we have to cease the hate or racism towards particularly minority teams which can be in Singapore, that are often brown individuals,” she added. Singapore has skilled an increase in racist incidents through the previous yr, together with an Indian girl who was kicked to the ground.
Nandita hopes to eradicate racism in the future and use her time as Miss Universe Singapore to pursue this trigger, though she may not present it on her costume, which she stated would possibly contact on Singapore’s roots and use “sustainable supplies “
“We’re positively taking part in with some concepts referring to Singapore’s historical past, particularly earlier than Sir Stamford Raffles and the entire British, Japanese colonization,” she stated.