Bollywood glamour in Belfast for beauty pageant with an Indian spice
The glamour of Indian cinema has come to Northern Ireland for the first time as photo-shoots begin for the Miss Bollywood beauty pageant.
The event, only the second of its kind in the UK, is open to aspiring models — with a contract at Style Academy Model Agency up for grabs.
Style Academy’s Tracey Hall, recent winner of The Belfast Telegraph’s Business Woman of the Year in Fashion award, will be on the judging panel.
The competition differs from other beauty pageants in Northern Ireland by emphasising Indian culture and clothing.
It also aims to raise money to help destitute young girls in India.
For each heat contestants will receive a makeover and will be styled in Indian jewellery before receiving a professional photo-shoot from Marie Allen.
Nelson Thomas-Raja, founder of the charity Impact India, said: “We are bringing a bit of Indian culture to our contestants. The girls get to dress up in authentic Indian saris with Indian jewellery and bindees and get a glamorous makeover from our talented make-up artists in the Bollywood style.”
The competition is also breaking boundaries by inviting fans to select heat winners online.
Four of the five winners of each heat will be selected by the judges while the fifth will be selected by voters on the Miss Bollywood NI facebook page.
The final will be held next May at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.
Local model and Miss Bollywood contestant Julia Sokele said: “There’s been nothing like this before. You get to dress up in traditional Indian clothes and play a character.
“The competition gives girls the opportunity to get noticed and get a professional photo-shoot, which is hard to come by.” The pageant is the latest event organised by Mr Thomas-Raja to raise funds for the Angel House charity to house abandoned girls in India.