EXCLUSIVE: Adline Castelino on her Beauty Pageant Moments: I wish I was kinder to myself

Representing India on an international platform has its own set of challenges. When Adline Castelino was auditioning for Miss Diva 2020 in Chennai, she had no idea what was coming. Before she knew it, she was in the Top 20 delegate and shortly after, in the Top 5! The rest is history as Castelino broke the 20-year gap in India’s lack of placement in the Miss Universe Top 5 competition.

We caught up with the glamorous diva to talk about her journey so far, the most overwhelming moments, and what awaits the next.

Tell us all the time in Miss Diva, from the time you auditioned until you won the Miss Universe India title – what was the most overwhelming moment for you?
Adline: I have never participated in competitions before, this was my first. I had no doubt while applying for it because I was supported by my gut and prepared for 3 years. But the most overwhelming moment was to stand on that stage and represent my country. The obstacles to making things work were worth it. I felt fate in my gut for the very first time.

How was the preparation process?
Adline: I had a magnificent vision, not only for the way I wanted to represent my country, but I wanted to bring about changes in how people perceived this platform as well as reach out to women to bring out their ability to be leaders. Therefore, I challenged myself to work from within by reading books and getting to know people from different walks of life. I really wanted to reach people and serve them by using the platform, so I got busy improving some of my weaker skills like communication, digitization and other aspects of presentation like nurturing and curing an individual style.

Representing India internationally comes with its own set of nervous moments and stressors; how did you handle and handled it?
Adline: I was well prepared for the moments, that’s what COVID has taught me; Be prepared for the worst, and do your best. My desire to make my country proud that alone helped me maintain my motivation to perform my best, especially after being through COVID, even though I was cut off from the team until the day I left the competition. I experienced the importance of the spiritual practices I had for 4 years, which helped me grow through the most difficult phase of my life.

From the outside, the competitive world looks ultra-glamorous; what are some of the lesser known battles that models face behind the scenes?
Adline: Each field has its advantages and disadvantages, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed and insecure. It becomes very important to work on your inner self when you are faced with a lot of uncertainty and people will base your value solely on your appearance, well not everyone but it is a beauty industry so you have to be clear and have a defined goal , so as not to get lost in glitter and glamor.

What is the only thing you wish someone had prepared you for before you won the title?
Adline: I had researched and talked to a lot of people before I came here, but of course there are some things that only experience teaches you. I think one thing I wish I would know is how important it is to surround yourself with your loved ones and friends that gives you the support and encouragement needed to sustain and grow on this area.

Looking back, is there anything you wish you did differently?
Adline: I honestly wish I was kind to myself. This journey made me realize how important it is to keep an eye on yourself. To strive smartly for your goals, but stay happy enough to enjoy it when you reach your destination. Whatever you have been told, there is no competition, no hunting, work on yourself and attract your destiny.

What is the most common misconception / stereotype about beauty pageants and their winners?
Adline: The biggest misconception I know of is that beauty excludes intelligence, some may feel that title holders are right, but I have seen the most hardworking women get misunderstood and taken for granted. That is why I urge women to stand next to each other and not be competitive because we are all trying to break the same invisible glass ceiling that is falsely found in our heads. We need to work together to change that for ourselves and our future generations to ensure that the future is filled with more love and care that is lacking as one gender is still on the side.

What are some tips you can suggest for the girls who want to be Miss India in the future?
Adline: Please research thoroughly and talk to as many people as you can, but be sure to listen to your gut at the end of it. I was told many times that I did not fit the bill, but I made sure I worked on myself, whether it was my lisp or my care. Also, make sure that you are comfortable with being vulnerable, because then you can bring something unique about yourself in this area. It’s about the value you bring that makes you memorable.

What has been the best advice for you so far and by whom?
Adline: Lara Dutta is someone I look up to, and in the most difficult phase, her words brought me a lot of light. She said we can not always control the outcome in our lives, but we can definitely control how we cope, and that makes all the difference.

Tell us a little about your upcoming plans?
Adline: I have a vision and I am full of passion for it. I want to be someone who moves an audience with stories. I want them to laugh, cry and feel everything in between, and that’s what I want to bring through my craft when I play a character. I want to play roles that challenge status and perceptions about women and I feel lucky to be there at a time when narratives that consider gender and status norms are being challenged.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Manushi Chhillar at her beauty pageant Moments: Told parents I was missing college for Miss India

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