Miss India wins Nuestra Belleza title for 2009

At RPI, greek life is present in students’ lives in several forms, one of them being philanthropy. Last Friday night in the McNeil Room, Sigma Delta, a Latin ethnicity-based sorority, hosted the second annual Nuestra Belleza—or “Our Beauty” in English—pageant. This event was a beauty pageant with contestants from the Philippines (Leilani Cruz ’11), Mexico (Ruby Ramirez ’10), Peru (Carmen Santos ’11), India (Anubha Bhargava ’12), China (Jeanne Chau ’11), and Iran (Sara Sass ’12).

The event had a bit of the American Idol feel as the panel of judges were sitting across a long table facing the stage. The judges were President of the Interfraternity Council Jesse Barr ’10, President of the Panhellenic Council Amelia Folkins ’10, Director of Student Activities Cameron McLean, and the winner of the previous Nuestra Belleza Diane Perdomo ’11.

The event started off with a hip-hop performance by the newly formed Street Dance Club. Four of its members danced in popping style and breakdance (or, as the M.C. of the event so eloquently phrased, “b-boying”). The dance routines were somewhat discontinuous, but each different segment displayed varying types of dance forms within the popping style of dancing.

As the main event commenced, the contestants were introduced one by one. After a brief introduction, the show started to pick up as each of the contestants dressed in formal wear from their respective countries. These outfits were all spectacular and distinguished from each other, varying from a very colorful and vibrant Mexican dress to a rather quaint-looking wooden hat from Peru.

The contestants quickly changed out of this attire for the talent exhibition of the event. While some danced, one boasted her passion for cooking, and another performed a violin piece. Each of the contestants brought her own flavor to this portion of the event—I think this was the only part that allowed a chance to show the contestants’ inner beauty.

The pageant came to a momentary halt as homemade food and drink was served during the intermission. The intermission was followed by a brief Q&A session in which each of the contestants was asked the question, “What do you think is the major problem in your country?” The contestants were asked before the pageant to research this question. Answers varied from a cultural issue of history and language being lost in Mexico to natural disasters in the Philippines to government corruption in Iran.

Then came the finale—who won? Well, the audience was given the chance to declare the third place contestant after the second and first were announced. The crowd called for Miss Iran. Second place went to Miss Philippines, and the first went to Miss India.

The event wasn’t smooth sailing throughout, but the profits do go to a good cause—an immigrant outreach program—and there were aspects of this program that were highly enjoyable. It was a great kick-off to my weekend, and I guess I’ll see you at next Nuestra Belleza, Miss India!