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University junior to participate in pageant

Sept. 13, 1996

Namrata Sharma, a Sugar Land junior, will compete Saturday at the Miss India-USA pageant in Dallas. She was first runner up in the Miss India-Houston pageant.

By Sarah Hunter

Lariat Reporter

A Baylor junior will be walking down the runway Saturday at the Miss India-USA Pageant in Dallas.

Namrata Sharma, a Sugar Land biology/pre-med major, will travel to the Sheraton Park Central hotel for the pageant which lasts from 6-11 p.m.

Sharma won first runner-up June 8 in the Miss India-Houston pageant that earned her a spot in the pageant this weekend. She is the only woman representing Texas in this national pageant for women with Indian backgrounds.

When she heard about the pageant in Houston, Sharma said she was 'ecstatic' about participating.

'Since I've been interested in the modeling field, I didn't have to think twice about doing it,' Sharma said.

The Houston pageant was the first one in which Sharma competed. She received $300 in prize money and $30 in gift certificates. Sharma's mother had participated and won a pageant crown in India years ago, Sharma said, and was so excited for her. She said she enjoyed the experience.

'I got to meet so many girls,' Sharma said. 'I had so much confidence.'

The Dallas competition is composed of several different categories. The pageant begins with an evening gown competition. Next, there is a critique of women's talent. There is also an Indian dress segment where the contestants model original Indian clothing. Five finalists are then chosen and asked one question each.

For her talent portion, Sharma performs an Indian classical dance.

'I haven't had formal training but I have done cultural folk dances,' Sharma said.

For the Indian dress segment, Sharma said she wears a sari, which is a traditional wrap-around dress, with a blouse.

As a finalist in the Houston competition, she was asked what American custom she would change.

'I said that I don't want to change anything, but if I had to I would change the prejudices in America because we are supposed to be a melting pot,' Sharma said.

She said she is not as nervous this time around.

'I am still very nervous because it is so big,' Sharma said. 'I don't know anything about the girls.'

Sharma has emceed cultural shows in the past and does an Indian radio program for Houston's 1180 AM radio on the Saturdays that she is home. Yet despite her entertainment interests, she said she wants to go to medical school to become a cardiologist.

'Modeling is just a hobby,' Sharma said. 'I have wanted to be a cardiologist for a long time.'

If she wins in this pageant, she will compete in the world-wide pageant. The winner at the world-wide pageant receives an all-expense paid trip to India and tickets to the Miss India pageant there.

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