Astha Agarwal

Pellentesque erat arcu

How does it feel to be crowned Gladrags Mrs India, Mumbai - 2014?
Oh it feels absolutely fabulous! In fact right from the moment they announced my name to the time the crown was placed on my head the feeling was awesome. I couldn't believe the fact that it was really me and kept touching the crown on my head throughout the evening. I felt extremely special with strangers coming up, telling me that my confident smile assured them about my victory from the very beginning and requesting me to click pictures with them. It’s a feeling that cannot be described in words.

Can you recollect the moment when you were announced the winner?
I was standing with the 10 short-listed candidates waiting for the winners to be announced; hoping that my name would feature in the first 3. When the second runner up was announced and it was not me, I started praying really hard with my fingers crossed, anticipating that my name would be called as the first runner up but when that too was announced and it was not me, I quite gave up. I thought to myself that now there was no chance considering that I had to pip all the beauties in the fray. Lost in thought with drooping shoulders, I was looking down and so when they announced me as the winner, I did not respond to the call for the first time. When they called my name again I saw my husband telling me that it was indeed me. On the stage Maureen Madam had a quizzical look on her face and wanted to know why I was not coming up to pick up my crown. I was in a state of shock where I could neither laugh nor cry. I wanted to give my best smile to the shutterbugs but just could not bring it on. I was overwhelmed and wanted to burst out crying. Even my victory speech was far from perfect as my mind was not focussed. Honestly I can’t explain the emotion or feeling but whatever it was, it was an incredible moment in my life and I relive every minute of those few minutes every day.

When did the victory start sinking into you?
Frankly speaking I’ve to remind myself everyday that I won the contest though my friends and family were confident about me winning. They thought it was only a formality and I kept telling them that their opinion was biased as they knew me well just the way the family and friends of the other beauties thought likewise about their chances. But my folks said they genuinely thought so. There I got a lot of confidence and somewhere in my heart I thought that I would actually go on to win. But when the names were being announced on the finale, I did not remember anything.

Is there any interesting incident that you would like to narrate?
Yes, on the preliminary judging day when Maureen ma'am introduced the judges i.e. Ms Leena Mogre and Ms Deepali Jain, I was hoping that in Q&A, they would ask me something about my workout... And my dream actually came true when Leena Ma'am herself questioned me about the secret behind my toned body and particularly the flat tummy. It was like “WOW”, that was the greatest compliment coming from the legendary fitness expert and the best possible question for me to answer, as that is my favourite topic to talk. So I delivered my answer with lot of confidence without any fumbles and nervousness which I was dreading so much.

How much has the title changed your life?
I truly thank God for all the blessings he has showered upon me. I feel highly honoured and will try to do full justice to our motto of beauty with brain. It’s truly a priceless experience that I’ll never forget. I have gained a lot from this honour, from colourful experiences to unforgettable memories. I feel immensely motivated towards my workout regime and eating right. One of the sweetest things that I've experienced these days is when a few people from my society and around Powai, come up to me to tell me they feel privileged and proud to know me. Some even tell me they kind of flaunt the fact that they know me and that I live in same society as theirs, this makes me feel so very special and extremely blessed.

What does it take to be a beauty queen after marriage?
You'll be surprised if I'd say not too much, but then that is the truth of the matter. If you are determined to prove to the world that you are still good and if you can plan your day well and take just 30 minutes a day for yourself then you could do wonderfully well. I follow the Bipasha Basu fitness regime through her CDs. They are very easy to follow. Of course I don't stick only to that, I alter it by going for a run or hit the gym, but the best part was that the CDs gave me the confidence that I could be fit in just 25 minutes a day. Here I must thank God for a high metabolic rate so I burn what I eat. I have encountered some people who work really hard and still are unable to lose weight.

Who was responsible for this enormous achievement?
I’d like to credit my husband for the achievement. He was the one who motivated me to discover myself and realise my true potential. He was extremely supportive and confident that I’d win. He was my biggest critic and helped me rectify my shortcomings at every stage of my career. He was truly a pillar of strength during the beauty pageant.

As a child did you ever dream of being a beauty queen?
I was a very shy kid when in school. In fact when the doorbell rang I'd run behind my mom. Being the youngest in the family, I was pampered by my parents and my brother. I'd always try to emulate my brother as he was a perfect role model. When I went to college, I started opening out and participated in plays and got the stage fright out of me. The few apprehensions I had of facing people went away when I started acting. But I never thought of becoming a beauty queen, in fact this is the first time I participated in a beauty pageant.

Tell us a little about your family and your upbringing?
I was born and brought up in Delhi and went to Kendriya Vidyalaya, Delhi. After completing my B.Tech (Electronics & Communication) from Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, I worked for around 3 years with Punj Lloyd. Both my parents are working in the public sector and my brother is a pilot with Air-India. After marriage I relocated to Powai. My husband Harsh Agarwal is working as a Country Manager with a German company. I'm a TV actress and have done cameo roles in "Ye rishta kya kehlata hai", "Mayke se bandhi door", "Amma ji ki gali", "Dil dosti dance" and promos for "UTV Stars" channel. Currently I'm shooting for "Sapne suhane ladakpan ke" on Zee TV as Vidhi (character name).We are blessed with 2 kids – Duksh and Diva aged 6.5 years and 2 years respectively.

Why did you choose Powai and when did you move here?
We moved to Mumbai from Delhi in 2008 and have been living in Powai since then. The reason we opted for Powai over other places was because there was far more greenery here than any other suburb we checked. And I still remember my first day in Mumbai, my husband Harsh, took me for a drive and I was amazed with the splendid view of our locality, Powai. I was fascinated to see Hiranandani where I recalled some scenes being filmed with my favourite actor, Shah Rukh Khan. Surprisingly, the house we live is very spacious compared to other match-box sized houses that you normally get in Mumbai. We don’t regret the decision at all. Besides warm and friendly neighbours, we are blessed with good schools, shopping outlets, eating joints, etc. All in all Powai is a fantastic place that has everything that an up-market locality should have.

Is there anything you’d want to change in Powai?
I would not want to change anything but if I had to improve something, it would be the traffic. My husband works in Vashi but does not mind the drive in traffic because once we get into the complex it is bliss. Surely, everything else is so beautiful that we can turn a blind eye to the traffic. Moreover, I can see changes are being made to improve the present state, there have been a few signals added where they were much needed and there are some traffic police officers available to manage the rush hours as and when needed.

How do you spend a Sunday?
Whatever happens, the weekend is dedicated to the family. On Saturday me and my hubby spend time together by going out for lunch, watch a movie, do some shopping or just chat over coffee and relax. On Sunday we take the kids out to some gaming zone or amusement park, watch a kid friendly movie, eat pizza or burger and relax. More over I try to manage a healthy diet routine on week days, so weekend is the time I give myself some treat and splurge on my favourite food, especially anything to do with chocolate i.e. cakes, brownies, ice creams, etc.

What is the advice you’d give girls who want to pursue a glamorous career?
Even though the people with the power in the glamour industry are accused of asking for evil favours, it is unfair to paint the entire industry with the same brush. There are lots of serious producers and directors who are there to make good work, either serial, movie or commercial not because they get unlimited supply of such luring favours from desperate starlets. And there are women in the industry who made it without the casting couch. Having said that, it cannot be denied that the opportunities for hitting on women or even men are much more in this industry. Still it totally depends on the individual on how she can handle it. If you are mentally strong and do not relent to pressure you can sail without a problem. Maybe it’s easier said than done for someone like me who does not have to support my family as my husband is in a good position. When your existence depends on a role, then maybe it could be different. But my observation is that nothing happens without your consent.