Uttar Pradesh’s Manya Singh won the coveted Miss India 2020 Runner Up crown and while the title itself is prestigious, Manya’s victory is special in more ways than one.
Daughter of a rickshaw driver, Manya wasn’t the conventional beauty pageant contestant. She ran away from home, worked two jobs and simultaneously completed her studies. She couldn’t afford grooming, so she observed other models and walked for hours to save the rickshaw fare. Talking about her journey the beauty queen revealed:
“I’ve spent numerous nights without food and sleep. I’ve spent many afternoons walking for miles on end. My blood, sweat, and tears have amalgamated into courage to pursue my dreams. Being a rickshaw driver’s daughter, I never had the opportunity to attend school as I had to start working in my teens. All the clothes I had were hand-me-downs. I yearned for books, but luck wasn’t in my favour. Eventually, my parents mortgaged whatever little jewellery my mother had to ensure that I paid my exam fees in order to earn a degree. My mother has suffered a lot to provide for me. At 14, I ran away from home. I somehow managed to complete my studies in the day, became a dishwasher in the evening and worked at a call centre at night. I’ve walked hours to reach places so I could save the rickshaw fare. I am here today at the VLCC Femina Miss India 2020 stage to uplift my father, my mother, and my young brother and to show the world that all is possible if you are committed to yourself and your dreams.”
23-year-old Manasa Varanasi from Telangana is Miss India 2021, while Suman Ratan Singh Rao from Rajasthan won the first runner up title.