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Priyanka Chopra | Karolina Bielawska, visited India late last month,t2 caught up with the 24-year-old Polish beauty on her India favourites

Ahead of the 71st Miss World to be held in Kashmir in December, the reigning Miss World, Karolina Bielawska, visited India late last month. t2 caught up with the 24-year-old Polish beauty on her India favourites, Miss World, Priyanka Chopra and Hindi films, while she was in Delhi.

How has your India trip been so far?

It’s been wonderful. This is my third time in India and yesterday I was happy because I had my girlfriends over here and we had a wonderful trip to Kashmir. This was my first time in Kashmir and it is such a beautiful place. We had a lot of fun. We had a boat tour and it was so peaceful on the lake and the scenery, wonderful. We also went to the gardens and we would love to come back with all the contestants and show them this area, and I will have this experience one more time and I am really looking forward to it.

What do you love about India?

Everything you do, you do so well. You are famous for your hospitality and treat your guests like Gods and this is how I am being treated here and that’s the biggest blessing. Wherever we go, you always welcome us with open arms and that is why I believe that the Miss World finals in India would be one of the most spectacular finals.

Where else have you been?

I have also been to Mumbai, Delhi and very briefly to Goa and I would really need to come back with my friends and family and enjoy the beaches and the food over there. If I were preparing the schedule, I would like to be everywhere. I am sure we will see as much as possible.

What do you love most in Indian food?

One thing I love the most are the naan breads and when they have a bit of garlic and butter on it, it’s wonderful. I also love Butter Chicken, but I am always happy because I know you have different cuisines in every region of India and I keep trying new things.

How has life changed since you became Miss World and what is life like now for you?

Life is the most exciting journey for me right now because every single day is different…. That’s the best part. You learn every day from people and I have been blessed enough to work with some of the most wonderful people in the entire world, from different cultures. We travel a lot and I also know that the things we do at Miss World are just good things…. We visit different countries and serve the communities. I learn from the other contestants and the children…. That’s what life is all about, to be able to spend it with people who make you feel loved, welcomed and to have a laugh.

Do you love travelling?

That was always my biggest passion. In total, I have been to around 50 countries and I am only 24, and I am excited because I know there is so much more to come. Since I won Miss World, it’s been 30 countries

What is your definition of a perfect Miss World?

There is nothing like a perfect Miss World because no one is perfect. I believe what makes a Miss World is that what we do, we do it with passion and we do it from our heart. We have different talents and we have had different Miss Worlds in the past. What we have in common is that we treat people with respect. I know this year is not actually about me, but about the people I meet and everything I do, I do it for them and it benefits me. We have this great relationship where both sides are learning something new. I know that what we stand for, our values, will never go out of fashion — kindness, respect, compassion and love.

How has your concept of beauty evolved over the years?

Beauty is very fleeting, at least the one you see on the outside. One day you can look like this and completely different the next day. One cannot compare really. We don’t look alike at all. So, the beauty you have is the one that you have on the inside and if it doesn’t shine from the inside out, there is no beauty at all. If the whole world was blind, what they could see is how you treat them and make them feel.

In the case of taking care of the physical look, I have really learnt a lot from this year… how to keep in shape and how to treat yourself well. I have learnt from different girls, from different parts of the world. It’s been very helpful, to be honest, and I know a happy woman is a beautiful woman.

So, what makes you happy?!

(Laughs) When I do things I love, with the people I love!

There is so much pressure on women to look a certain way. For anyone looking to take part in a pageant now, where should the emphasis be?

I would start with finding the area of your giftedness. Focus on your strength and then show it to the rest of the world. Every one of us has something unique to share and it’s not about how you look, really, and looking perfect all the time. I don’t. I know what’s special about me is that I care about people… and, I try to communicate in a certain way and if I manage to inspire even one person, that’s a win for me.

At the end of the day nobody will remember what kind of dress I was wearing or how my hair and makeup was…. The main focus is what have I done with what I was given.

While preparing for Miss World, I focused on communication because I knew this was something I feel comfortable with, but if you would like to join pageantry, look for your passion and look where your heart goes and try to explore that.

What are your top tips to build confidence?

Know your worth and your worth should never come from superficial things like how you look, dress, earn, how successful you are, how popular you are because all those things can be so easily shaken and you can lose it in one way and in a minute. So, if your confidence comes from that, that’s a wrong place. Also, it doesn’t matter who you know, what is your relationship base or who your boyfriend is or who your parents are. Your confidence is what you have inside, that cannot be taken away from you. It’s how you treat other people, what you do with your time…. Those are the things no one can take away from you. I don’t need to be the most beautiful in the room or the most successful or the richest, but if I know what I do is good, and is consistent, comes from my heart, I am sorted.

What do you do for your mind, body and soul to be in perfect alignment?

When it comes to the mind, I love podcasts, like leadership podcasts… my favourite one is John Maxwell. He is a leadership guru. I recommend his books and teachings to everyone. I am also a business student and just coming back to finish my studies because I took a one-year gap. I also consider learning from the people around me. I have been blessed to travel the world and work with not only highly successful people but from every single one you can learn something new.

For the soul, I am a person of faith. So, I always take time to pray. It really helps you to find peace… just take time to think how blessed I am… what can I do better? A prayer is very powerful.

It is very hard to be on a diet when you are a Miss World and you try all those different cuisines when you are travelling around, but I do like to work out. I started boxing and martial arts two years ago. So, I enjoy it with my wonderful trainer. What you should do for your body is definitely take time to sleep…. And, drink loads of water. I am happy to say that we move a lot.

When I have all those things aligned, time to grow, to connect with my soul and take care of my physique, it makes me very happy.

Priyanka Chopra made us so proud when she won Miss World and then later went on to achieve so much…

I love Priyanka. She is really the icon… so well-spoken. I keep my fingers crossed for her career going forward. What’s special about her is she is doing good around the world, inspiring people.

Do you follow Hindi films?

Of course, I would love to find myself in movies, like working with Shah Rukh Khan or being in an SLB movie (Sanjay Leela Bhansali). There are plenty of people you can work with and Bollywood is such a special place, lots of dancing, singing… very colourful. You are amazing in what you do and it would be a huge honour for me to try it one day.

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