Parents of Miss India runner-up Rubal Shekhawat opposed modeling, saying father wanted to send in army

Sini Shetty was the winner of Female Miss India in 2022. Rubal Shekhawat of Rajasthan became the first finalist of the contest. The journey here was not easy for Ruble. Rubal has spoken openly with Navbharat Times about his victory, his family and society.

How does it feel to be declared the first finalist of Femina Miss India 2022?
I feel wonderful. Not only was it my dream to become a beauty of India, but also my ambition. Since I was little I wanted to do something to raise the name of my community. I am originally from Rajasthan and have always wanted to impress the society I come from, with my proud journey. I’m glad I was able to do that. My mother and niece were also present at the final and when my name was announced, my mother and niece were jumping for joy and seeing their happiness brought tears to my eyes. However, I could barely hold back those tears, as they were crowning me at the time.
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Belonging to a traditional environment like Rajasthan, what kind of challenges have you faced as a child?
The challenges were many, as I come from a community where gender stereotypes and gender discrimination still exist. In the initial phase, it was difficult for me to choose this profession and move forward. When I started modeling, my family was against me. My dad is an army man, so he wanted me to join the army like him. When I was young, I also wanted to join the Indian army and I thought about serving my country, but when I grew up I realized that I was more passionate about acting and modeling, so I followed this route. Initially the parents were opposed, but when they realized that by following this path, I not only want to make myself proud but of themselves, they supported me despite having a divergent thought. My first beauty contest was in Rajasthan. When my parents felt that my happiness lies in this and that I don’t hurt anyone by choosing this path, they supported me in every way. Other than that, I faced another challenge in my childhood. I was very thin at the time and I was ridiculed a lot, but it was my parents who instilled confidence in me. My parents taught me to have a positive attitude towards life.
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On this journey to becoming an Indian beauty, did you have any doubts about your own talent?
When you are participating in a prestigious contest like Female Miss India 2022 and you have 30 state winners with you, are there times when doubts will come about whether I will be behind? Will I do something wrong somewhere? But then whenever these negative thoughts came, he would look at me in the mirror and ask me why I am here? Right now, I used to talk to my mom and my sister. Both have been pillars of support for me. I felt very positive after seeing him.
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Are you interested in working in the field of maternal and child health? Is there any particular reason behind this?
In Rajasthan, I have seen in many places that women are treated like machines to have children. It was such a bitter truth, that it was always around me. In my house there was a housekeeper, who was the mother of three daughters and was going through a lot of health problems, but despite that she had to conceive for the fourth time because the family wanted a son. At that moment I saw him struggling with his health and his job. They were also financially weak. At that time I felt that if these people give birth to a child like this because of scarcity, that they cannot raise properly, somewhere they will become a responsibility to themselves and to society. Yes, if you can raise a child properly and turn him into a good person, then he is an asset to the country. This is why I want to work for the health of all these women and children. I don’t want people to think of a woman as a child-making machine. Or living with the thought that if there is no child, the family will not be complete. I want to make people aware that having a baby girl is enough for a family. Education will be my next initiative, but my first task will be to look after the health of mother and child.
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You’re three sisters in your family, so did you feel the pressure of “I wish there was a child” in your home?
Yes, I have faced this thought throughout my childhood. I am the youngest of three sisters, so usually when they asked me how many brothers and sisters I have and when they found out I had no brothers, they felt sad and sympathized with me. But when I got home and said this, my father would say to me, “Are you younger than my son? You are my son. My parents never allowed the three sisters to feel like they would want to have a child. This one too is one of the reasons I want to work in the field of maternity and child health.
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What do you think of the anti-abortion law?
I am against this law. A woman’s fundamental right is to make decisions related to her body, it is simple that when a woman becomes a mother, her life is more affected. If you do not have enough mental, physical and financial capacity to raise a child properly, you have no right to bring him into the world.

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