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For Naaz Joshi, change that begins at home holds the power to drive social change. Scripting history, Joshi has become the country's first transgender beauty queen by winning the Empress Earth 2021-22 title.
Initially, the contest was scheduled to be held in Dubai on June 1, 2021, but was cancelled due to the pandemic. After that, the competition was held virtually on the suggestions of various contestants. Valentina from Colombo was the first runners' up while Olivia from Mexico secured the second runner's up position. Columbia, Mexico, Spain, Brazil and India were the top-performing nations in the beauty contest.
The final question to the finalists was, "Do you feel lockdown is the solution to the pandemic?"; Naaz answered, "No, just lockdown can decrease the number of patients. It's also the duty of every human being to take care of the safety measures as recommended by WHO, and we queens should motivate others to stay calm and positive."
She is the winner of eight beauty crowns — one national and seven international. She has held virtual sessions at Lovely Professional University in Punjab and Vellore Institute of Technology focused on sensitizing people about the LGBTQ+ community.
Though Joshi was born as a boy named Aizya in an upper-middle-class family based in Delhi, she identified herself as a girl and loved dressing up, reported The Hindu. "Some of my male teachers would teach me how to walk like a boy," she said. Facing discrimination and abuse at her maternal uncle's house in Mumbai, she was sheltered by a trans woman. She would dance, dressed as a girl, in bars in the evening and attend school in the morning as a boy.
In 2009, she got into the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi. She worked with designers Ritu Kumar and Ritu Beri after college. However, she struggled to get a job, and earn a steady income. I worked as an escort to pay money for my sex reassignment surgery, which I got done in parts, she added.
As a model she now earns ₹5,000 as the showstopper, though at all 25 ramp shows that she has walked, she says people questioned the need for a trans model.
Also Read: Deteriorating Mental Health Amongst LGBTQIA
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