‘When there is a will, there becomes a way!’ A firm believer of this quotation Sonia Ahmed is the president of Miss Pakistan World. A Kuwaiti born Pakistani woman who move to Canada from Kuwait and completed the degree of Bachelors in Business from the University of Ottawa, Canada.
After the studies she moved to the Miss Pakistan World project as a full time job and moved it in Canada’s Metropolitan city – Toronto!
Here is an interview with Sonia Ahmed, President of Miss Pakistan World & Mrs. Pakistan World:
Q: Word controversy is not new for you and while research I figure out that you kind of like this word. Is that so?
A: Hi Moosa, first of all thank you for having me be a part of your research! Yes, you are absolutely right, and I not just like but “love” the word “controversy.” The reason why I love it so much is because after almost 8 years in this business, I have grown a thick skin for news and controversies. There is one thing I learnt and that is that there is no use crying over split milk. And these controversies make you grow as a person and shape you up for tougher challenges ahead. We had a lot of controversies in the past and I guarantee that we will have a lot of controversies in the future. The main reason for the word controversy is because of the situation of Pakistan, and the religious and political environment creates this. We have been in the news for the swimwear round in international pageant, giving a love message to the ex-President of Pakistan- Pervez Musharraf, for the Sania Mirza-Shaoib Malik Marriage, for supporting Veena Malik and for winning international titles. Hence this is an ongoing saga, which may never end. So instead of hating it, I have embraced it and enjoy it! And I have been always frank about it!
Q: (Sorry for being direct) but born in Kuwait and then moved to Canada and after that working for Pakistani women’s through your project Miss Pakistan World, Isn’t patriotism a business for you?
Being born in Kuwait, never gave me the Kuwaiti citizenship, as we were just expatriates. Yes, I was blessed to be born in one of the world’s richest country, I got an amazing education and for my University and higher education, I came to Canada to pursue it. Pakistan has always been a part of my life. My Urdu is fluent, my love for my nationality is always going to be there, and as my saying goes, people can take us out of Pakistan, but there is no body that can take Pakistan out of me! I have proved more love for my country by keeping it alive in the West as well as around the world with the title, “Miss Pakistan World,” as well as “Mrs. Pakistan World.” I have shown people around the world that being Pakistani is a celebration and Miss Pakistan World celebrates being Pakistani!
Q: The more I dig the more questions came in my mind, and out of them here is another one for you! Don’t you think that This Miss Pakistan World competition is more about beauty and less about country’s representation! As everyone knows the famous icons in Pakistan that may contain beauty but no brains (I hope you know whom I am targeting).
See, when beauty is being talked about, it means a smart woman who is a daredevil! A woman who is bold and strong and can grow a thick skin! Pakistan has the most beautiful women in the world, more than all the South Asian nations put together. But there is no platform to promote beauty. So Miss Pakistan World promotes the celebration of beauty, the celebration of being a woman and the celebration of being Pakistani. Brains come in, when the Miss Pakistan World opens her mouth for anything public. For that we need a strong individual who can speak well, and for her to speak well, she needs to be educated. Here education plays a vital part in grooming her in terms of knowledge about different subjects as well as Pakistan in general. So whether she wears a swimwear or a traditional Pakistani dress, she has to be educated. So the perception of the person, who likes to judge a book by its cover, is his or her choice. And people do this all the time, as when they see a girl in a short skirt, they will jump to assumptions and will not give her a chance to explain, that besides her dressing she can be much more educated than most Pakistanis. To judge someone on the basis of her being a model or a beauty queen and to jump to conclusions that she has no brains, cannot be determined by just a photo seen somewhere. I think every woman should be given a chance to speak and to be heard. Then if people judge, it’s called the right judgement.
Q: I was looking into some competition pictures and encounter some pictures that I personally think should be reconsidered (there is a fine line between beauty contest and exposing) what is your take on that?
That is purely your perception and as an educated person, I will respect that. But what is my perception has to be tolerated and respected by you and the rest as well. Now besides saying that, I want to bring to your attention that beauty contests were started in the United States of America as a woman’s rights movement. The swimwear was a part of judging how good the figure of a contestant is. Obviously, you cannot have a 200 pounds Miss Pakistan World and make her a role model and promote her as a healthy individual for all young girls to follow. These rules were made by international beauty pageants based on international standards. These international standards have to be respected no matter what. For pageants like Miss Pakistan World, they play the role of the United Nations, which means that their word is final in all the rules and regulations. This is a beauty pageant, and beauty of the face, and beauty of the body is the dominant factor that makes it an eligible “beauty pageant.” Pakistan is no one to come and change this 100 plus year tradition. I am a firm believer that beauty means 50% brains which includes, achievements, education, talent, speaking abilities, confidence and 50% overall looks, which has the face body, skin & proportionality.
Q: What is the real exposure of Miss Pakistan World, this project is just an entertainment or you think the beauty queen have some responsibilities as well! Would love to hear some details on this!
The real exposure of Miss Pakistan World is the name of my country, “Pakistan.” Just the fact that Pakistan is associated with a beauty pageant, projects a very soft image of Pakistan! A Miss Pakistan World or a Mrs. Pakistan World takes part in international pageants representing her country in the world on an international platform and educating hundreds of other nations about how moderate and great Pakistan is. This is a charity done by these beauty queens, who go around the world educating people about themselves and their country who they represent. Besides that, a Miss Pakistan World or a Mrs. Pakistan World has raised over $50,000 dollars for various charities. The good stuff is never asked and I’m glad that you have asked us that. There are times when these Pakistani beauty queens have visited orphanages, old age homes, and collected money for various charities, spending hours and hours standing in heels and sweating to make sure that each child or an elderly person has a smile on their face. People see Pakistan and are intrigued about it. They talk about their perceptions and tell us how they have changed their minds after meeting us. This is the main responsibility that we have, and that as Pakistanis we all have a duty to change people around us, and create tolerance amongst people of Pakistan and people of the world about Pakistan.
Q: Beauty with Brain and this is what you are looking for! Right? Why didn’t you ever try as you are the prime example of beauty with brain yourself? (Honest Answer please)
I am 5 feet 9 inches and used to model in high school. I always wanted to become a Miss Pakistan in my life, in fact I even got the title of Miss Catwalk in high school. Little did I know that I would become the only Miss Pakistan in the world! Eight years ago there was no Miss Pakistan and that was when I tried to apply to enter into a nonexistent pageant for Pakistan when I was in high school in Canada. When I Googled Miss Pakistan, no link existed. Upset with that, I started a pageant that became the most controversial pageant in the world, as well as brought Pakistan the enlightened moderation title. Today with one click, there are over a million articles about us. So yes, I am the true and original Miss Pakistan forever and will always be remembered!
Q: (This question may help the beauties in Pakistan who wants to compete) How important is for a pageant queen to socialize or it is not at all important?
A beauty queen needs to socialize and meet thousands of people during her tenure. She needs to spread the fact that she is a Miss Pakistan World or Mrs. Pakistan World as much as she can. She has to socialize. We don’t want someone who cannot speak, or cannot socialize. These women are supposed to role models, spokeswomen, so they need to be proactive. The world cannot exist without humans conversing with each other and if she cannot converse with people then that is not the Miss Pakistan World or Mrs. Pakistan World we are looking for!
Q: How important is education (is there any certain limit) for the participants or beauty is the only selection criteria?
As mentioned earlier, education plays an important part in our pageant. We need a contestant who can speak well about Pakistan and to be updated on the latest news about Pakistan. Pakistan is a country that is in the news all the time for the wrong reasons, and we as ambassadors have to be ready for any subject. Whether it is the India-Pakistan relationship issues, or Kashmir issue, or the Mumbai attacks, or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, we are always asked for statements. Only an educated Miss Pakistan World/Mrs. Pakistan World can be able to speak with media and make statements that are crucial to the news around the world. Education pertains to a University degree or a contestant who is enrolled in a university or college.
Q: Sonia, can you give me 3 reasons why Pakistani women should compete and what are their responsibilities after winning the competition?
Pakistani women should complete for the following reasons:
1. The love of their country Pakistan
2. The want to use a platform to promote good causes
3. To become a part of the dying entertainment industry of Pakistan
Their responsibilities would be the following:
1. Take Pakistan to the next level, by becoming a part of international beauty pageants
2. Become a part of various charities and raise funds
3. Take the pageant Miss Pakistan World to the next level by being proactive in life & bringing new opportunities for the pageant.
Thank you very much Sonia for your time and responding to my question! I hope this interview will clear the mind of the Pakistani people and they will get the clear picture of what Miss Pakistan World Competition is all about.
We wish you all the best for your coming projects and also hope to see Miss Pakistan World competition in Pakistan.
Interview by Moosa Hemani