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Sun, 08 Dec 2019

Northeast Today

Imlibenla Wati- Meet the Naga Beauty who have represented India at the International platform

Imlibenla Wati- Meet the Naga Beauty who have represented India at the International platform
November 12
12:11 2019

Coming from a small town called Mokokchung in Nagaland, Imlibenla Wati was least aware of the fact that one day she would rule the ramp. As a teenager who loved to kick, bounce and curve a football turned up winning beauty pageants at both national and international platforms. She is a person with strong social values and this also led her to take up politics to serve the people of her community. Being the first woman of Naga origin who has represented India at an international platform her transformation has been an inspiring one. Mumeninaz Zaman explores her journey of transformation.

 

The inceptive

Being the most notorious amongst all her siblings, Imlibenla was a tomboy at heart and never dreamt of crowns or gowns. She has been the type of girl who can stand up for herself and hit back if anyone tried to mess with her. Her love for adventures is manifold; she aspired to be a pilot, soccer player, musician or a drummer. A bright and confident person since childhood, she is steadfast about her purpose in life. However, destiny has something else in store for her. She was just a teenager when her school authorities and well wishers expected her to participate in a district level modelling contest. Even though modelling was not her forte she bagged the Miss Mokokchung first runners up title in 2012. Then to complete her studies, she came to Guwahati and joined NEF Law College, but due to social and professional obligations she could not complete her studies. Later she did her graduation and MA in Political Science from The Global Open University, Nagaland, where she is also the brand ambassador for the year 2019-20

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The turning point

Imlibenla was headstrong about all her endeavours, it was her strong will and determination that paved her way to beauty pageants. Her achievement in the Miss Mokokchung beauty contest opened up the world of glitz and glamour for her. It needs to be mentioned here that only a district level winner can go for the state level contest. Hence there was no looking back and she moved ahead while achieving titles for herself from district to state level, national and then international level. It was her confidence and self-belief that she garnered a position for herself in the fashion world within a short period.

Beauty Pageants

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In 2012, she was just 17, when she was crowned with the Miss Nagaland title, which is a state level beauty pageant held annually by the Beauty Aesthetics Society of Nagaland (BASN) and powered by Department of Tourism, Government of Nagaland. BASN has been organising the beauty pageant since 1991. She also represented the region in the Ru-Ba-Ru Miss India Elite, contest in 2015. This was followed by the Miss Asia Pacific India, title in 2016 (presently known as the Miss Super talent World) which was held in Korea. She competed with contestants from around 40+ countries and bagged the first runner up title. She is also currently appointed as the global ambassador of the Miss Super Talent World for 2019. Miss Asia Pacific is the same contest where Bollywood stalwarts like Zeenat Aman in 1970 and Dia Mirza in 2000 have already made their mark.

 

Politics

Coming from a humble background her predecessor, including her father, were politically active people. The urge to help people and do something for the society has driven her to join politics. As such, she joined a party which she believes was eager to work for the society and decided to contest for the town council election. However, the election was boycotted. Due to her inclination towards a certain party people could not take it and started criticizing her for supporting a particular party. Later, because of her social obligations, she left the party. It was then that she realized that life itself is full of politics where you cannot even choose what you want to do. However, at the end of the day, politics is something that Imlibenla would return to. Meanwhile, she constructed roads, organized medical camps and always strived for the greater good of her community.

Ebbs and flows

From facing discrimination to being criticised, Imlibenla has shunned it all. Be it her modelling career or politics, she has been targeted personally, politically and professionally, but it did not deter her from her commitment towards her work and society.

One major challenge that she faced was her transition from being a clumsy tomboy to a gracious lady. However, with the help of her mentors, she pushed and groomed herself into a gorgeous damsel. Racial discrimination was something that people from Northeast has often experienced in mainland India, however, she never paid heed to the stares and talks. At a point where Northeasterns are often doubted about their identities, it was Imlibenla from Nagaland who represented India at an international pageant.

As her list of achievements broadened, the minds of a certain section started narrowing down to a level where she was targeted personally for her relationship as well as her interest in politics. It was her diligent nature that she has been able to conquer the most difficult terrain. One thing that she stands by is – “no matter what people say, grow up wiser and stronger”.

Imlibenla’s Venture

At present Imlibenla is an entrepreneur specialising in the field of cosmetics and beauty line where she deals in imported cosmetics and authentic perfumes. Even though it is a part time job for her, she feels contented to be an independent woman.

 

Future endeavour

Of late, Imlibenla has been invited as the only official jury from India to judge the finale of Miss Super Talent World Season-3 which is going to be held in Rome, Italy. Apart from that, she wanted to be a state person and engage in various social activities.

Imlibenla’s journey- in her words

When it comes to beauty queens people are very stereotypical with their thoughts and expect them to behave in a certain way like- they should be very soft spoken, ladylike, etc. But the only thing I believe in is spontaneity. I enjoy being myself. People will criticize you no matter what you do. Be it good or bad they have something to say, and those people have nothing to do at all.

Life was not an easy route; all the phases in my journey have given me valuable lessons in life which no universities can teach me. It has encouraged me and motivated me to become wiser and stronger. No doubt life was bitter, sweet, crunchy, but being positive in such situations is what I learned.

My mother has been my greatest source of inspiration, apart from that, I look up to three women – Angelina Jolie, Priyanka Chopra and Smriti Irani, whose work and stories have inspired me a lot.

A note to the aspiring one’s

One needs to dream big and believe in what they dream. Moreover, we need to set an example that we celebrate unity and diversity in India. It’s high time that the universe also acknowledges that the northeast is also the face of India.

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