New Delhi, June 20 : The newly crowned Miss India World Anukreethy Vas -- who works for transgenders' education -- feels a smile keeps everyone going, something she has learnt this quality from her mother, who rose her single-handedly.
The 19-year-old feels that being raised by a single mother was challenging, but being strong in every situtation kept them going.
"The challenges were there forever starting from school because I am not from a city-based place.
I studied in Trichy (Tiruchirappalli) which is not really a city but I was very strong enough because my mother didn't let me down at any point.
She used to say, 'You are a strong person. How can you cry?' and that's how she brought me up," Anukreethy told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
"I have never seen her low.
She has a lot of problems herself but she never showed that to me and that is how I was brought up. Even if I had something inside me, I never expressed it to other person because I feel that a smile is one thing that keeps the other person going.
And this is what I learnt from her.
"She inspired me in every way and she has been a great role model," added the beauty queen, whose mother is an IT professional named Seleena.
Anukreethy is currently pursuing Bachelor of Arts in French at Chennai's Loyola College to become an interpreter.
She is also a state-level athlete, whose aspiration is to become a supermodel. Her faith in destiny keeps her confident at all times and this reflected well while she was announced the winner on Tuesday night.
Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar crowned Anukreethy at the gala, where Meenakshi Chaudhary from Haryana was adjudged first runner-up and second runner-up was Shreya Rao from Andhra Pradesh.
Anukreethy calls herself a tomboy, loves to ride a bike, but more than that she is actively involved in giving education to transgenders.
"I work for the transgender education.
There was one of my friends who was transgender in school and her family abandoned her. That struck me about this topic. I was helping an orphanage and NGO with the education of their children.
"In 2015, I associated with an NGO, and the main area of work was education of transgender children.
We are now being able to adopt 30 transgenders and educate them," she told IANS.
As of now, she is "really happy" about her victory at the Miss India contest.
"I will put my best to get the crown again," she said, referring to the Miss World crown which Manushi brought back to India long after Priyanka Chopra won it in 2000.
So after the sudden fame, is she going to miss all the normal things that she enjoys doing?
I still have a normal life. My friends back home are supportive. Yes, just the responsibilities have been added, but rest is normal," said Anukreethy, who is currently not focussed on Bollywood.
(Nivedita can be contacted at email@example.com)