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miss-tibet-2016-212Dharamshala — Contestants for Miss Tibet Pageant 2016 gathered at McLeod Ganj Tuesday morning to prepare for their upcoming performances and activities in this week. In the afternoon, four contestants of this year and the director of Miss Tibet Lobsang Wangyal attended the press conference at the backyard of Norbu House Hotel, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, on May 31, 2016. More than 20 journalists from media agencies in and outside of Dharamshala came to cover this annual event.

Wangyal introduced four contestants of this year, Dechen Wangmo from Mussoorie, Tenzin Dawa from New York, Tenzing Dickey from Bylakuppe, and Tenzing Sangyi from Manali. The ages of the contestants are from 17 to 24. "All the contestants are bright, beautiful, and enthusiastic, and have strong connection with the Tibetan community and the free Tibet movement," the director he told the press conference.

The candidates expressed their passion and expectations for the coming pageant in the individual introduction session. Dechen Wangmo expressed her wish, "we Tibetans don't have freedom and we don't own our territory. I want to use this platform to explore the opportunity to express Tibet to the world."

Another contestant Tenzin Dawa told the press that, "Miss Tibet is not only a pageant but to raise awareness for our own Tibetan issue. And I believe that this organization can really make a difference. That's why I came all the way from New York."

The third contestant Tenzing Dickey said that, "No matter it's a country or a village, being independent or not, we firstly need confidence. The start point of everyone is to stand on the stage and get confidence, so we can do greater job."

The last contestant Tenzing Sangyi expressed that, "Miss Tibet is a platform to show that Tibetan women not only have physical beauty, but are also highly intellectual and conducting good behaviors. From this platform, I hope I can do something for my community. I am thankful to Lobsang Wangay la for giving us this opportunity."

During the press conference, Tibet Post International (TPI) had a special interview with one of the contestants, Tenzing Sangyi. When asked about how she made the decision to join this event. Sangyi told TPI, "it is not a sudden decision. I have been pondering for about a year now. And it is only my decision. I see how people can see beauty pageants normally, but I know Miss Tibet Pageant, and I have been following it for quite some time. I know it is really more than just simply a beauty pageant. It has much more meaning and a bigger purpose. So, by looking at the bigger picture, I decided on my own to participate. Because I knew this, if I were to win, by using my title and my voice, I can inspire the youth, and do things contributing towards my community."

TPI also asked what kind of voice does Sangyi want to deliver if she were to win the Miss Tibet Pageant. She replied, "Generally I want to inspire the Tibetan youth. Not only the youth actually, it is also Tibetan women that I would like to inspire, both young and old. You never know when talents come up sometime, so I would love to inspire Tibetan women particularly, to come out to show their talents and do anything they can to contribute to our society. And the (Miss Tibet) title is very useful to raise awareness, because people listen to us, and they say, 'she is Miss Tibet and she has something to say, I would like to listen.' So I can talk about HIV, which is really a big concern in our society. We already have so many issues and HIV is the big threat and harms the community in many ways. And there are many issues, I would love to tackle them one by one."

Wangyal further informed the press that there would be seven rounds of competition in three days, from June 3 to 5. These include the Swimsuit Round on the afternoon of June 3 at Bhagsu Waterfall, the Talk and Talent Round on the evening of the 4th at Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) auditorium, and the Grand Finale at TIPA grounds.

The first-ever Miss Tibet Pageant was produced by Lobsang Wangyal in October 2002, and has been hosted annually except for 2012, when it was suspended in solidarity with increasing self-immolations in Tibet.

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