HAVING successfully won the Zee TV Miss India NKZN (northern KwaZulu-Natal) Miss Entrepreneur pageant, University of KZN honours graduate Shanice Naidoo is now on the lookout for a successor. Naidoo hopes that one of the two selected finalists from Pietermaritzburg can win the title and keep it in our city for another year. Speaking on her year as Miss India NKZN, Naidoo said that it has been an amazing year of adventure where she got to see a different side of herself. “The whole journey building up to the pageant and the year of having this platform to be better and help people has been an exciting one. Through having this platform, I got to speak and inspire others everywhere I went,” said Naidoo. According to Naidoo, the pageant is not just a beauty contest but is a way for young women to empower themselves and the community in general. Pietermaritzburg finalist Mikara Singh said that she never was one for pageants, as she feels that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but she was convinced to participate in the pageant after being informed that it was more of an initiative to help young women and the community through charitable work. “Since embarking on this journey I have done things I never thought I would do before.”“I want to be a beacon for other young women and show them that anything is possible for us,” said Singh, who added that the support she has received on her journey throughout the pageant from her family, friends and the community has been incredible.Finalist Diyaajal Ramchurran noted that the pageant was a great way to boost her confidence and that, as a brown girl, it was all she could ask for. “The fact is that the Miss India SA NKZN platform has allowed me to raise awareness for the love of dark-skinned girls and big girls.”The winner of the regional section of the pageant will be announced on July 20 at the Richview Civic Centre in Newcastle and thereafter the overall winner will be announced in December.