Rafa Nanjeba Torsa shares her experience in participating and winning the Miss World Bangladesh 2019 and talks about the importance of raising one’s voice when needed.
You are from Chattogram, can you please tell us about the place you were born and raised?
Chattogram is uniquely awe-inspiring! That place allows you to enjoy the mountains, lakes and hills in an urban setting. I feel blessed to have grown up in an environment where life is magnificently close to the splendour of nature.
You are currently studying in Chattagram University in International Relations, what aspects of the field entice you?
I have always found diplomacy intriguing. From a very young age, I was drawn into it, so, IR as a subject for higher education was a no brainer for me. However, when you are entering public university, you have no control over the subject you are going to end up with. Thankfully, I was good enough to earn my spot in the department I had always longed for, perhaps, it was my destiny.
What are the aspects of the Miss World Bangladesh competition that convinced you to become a participant?
I was motivated by the idea of “Beauty with a Purpose”. I wanted to do something that was not confined within the borders of my country. I desired to represent my country at an international stage. Most importantly, I have been doing social work from the age of 11 years, and the stage allows analogous to work on a grander scale.
“Beauty with a Purpose”, what is the most beautiful part of your body or what is the most attractive aspect of your personality?
I love myself entirely, but if asked to identify separately, I have been complimented on my eyes and smile numerous times in the past.
The most attractive aspect of my personality is the fact that I am comfortable in my skin, and I believe that it should be true for everyone else.
Is there anything about you that you would like to change?
No, there is nothing that I would want to change, perhaps I might want to improve some aspects of myself, but I love myself the way I am.
Have you ever considered plastic surgery to enhance the appearance of any part of your body?
Not really! I have always believed our body is unique and beautiful the way it is. The endeavour of artificially enhancing your looks seems pointless to me.
You mentioned that you were involved in activism from a very young age, can you please share with us some of the details about that aspect of your life?
I try to portray different social issues through the various forms of art I am involved with. It includes my acting, painting, dance and recitations. So, my work (especially painting) personifies the social issues we currently face.
You have also been involved with the Lions Club for a long time, what kind of activities of the club are you involved with?
I am an LEO (Leadership, Experience and Opportunity), it’s under the Lions Club International. I have been involved with the organisation since the age of 11. They have different projects and stances each year. Currently, I am the youngest running president in the history of the club. Every month, we have twenty days of service activities which are mostly related to health and education. The different stances include, “Education for Excellence”, “In Time in Service” and “Children First”. There are also some typical activities like Tree plantation, Cleanliness, Green City, which takes place all year round. However, October Service Month is pivotal for us, which keeps us engaged throughout the month. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of LEO is the “twinning project” where a project is designed correspondingly across two different countries.
Do you agree with the premise that extracurricular activities negatively affect someone’s educational prospects?
It depends on the individual’s ability to utilise time and the motivation from family members. My family was very supportive of the activities I was involved in. Most importantly, if you want to get involved in multiple extracurricular activities, you cannot afford to procrastinate!
What is the first thing you do after waking up in the morning?
Firstly, I check the time and go through my mail. I’m not particularly eager to wake up in a hurry, after getting awake, I sit up and stretch.
Are you getting a lot of mail recently?
Unfortunately, most of us are not very accumulated in using emails. We are more inclined to use instant messaging platforms like Whatsapp or Viber. And yes, recently, I have been getting a lot of emails.
What is your definition of love for you?
To me, love is universal. It does not particularly have to be romantic; I fall in love with the weather and my surroundings. Most importantly, my first love is myself (laugh)
What was your first performance as an artist?
I started performing at a very young age; my first performance was at a talent show at my school when I was four years old.
When was the first time in life, you had to be bold/ brave?
Unfortunately, young girls in society often face sexual harassment. It had to go through something similar, but I decided to stand my ground and speak up. At a young age, I had to be bold enough to speak up about something that society compels girls to conceal.
Has the incident scarred you?
No, it has not scarred me; instead, it taught me not to compromise with an incident like that and stand up against it.
When was the first time you earned money?
I was four years old when I received my first income. I was a performer at Chittagong Television; it was then I received my honorarium.
Has there ever been an incident where you wanted to do something, but your mother forbade?
I am the kind of person who would go up and inquire about the pros and cons of an instruction I was asked to follow before making my own decision. I don’t remember any such particular incident, but usually, we agree in evaluating the pros and cons of a decision.
Are you a very opinionated person?
I do not believe so, but I prefer to make my own decisions. In that way, you have no one else to blame.
Do you believe that the general indecisiveness among our youth stems from the fact that they (youth) are never allowed to choose the path they prefer?
Absolutely! We have created a mindset that everything our seniors say is correct irrespective of the facts. That should not be the case; the youth should be able to evaluate a decision by themselves and come to a conclusion.
Coming back to your experience in London, you have mentioned about coming back with a reinforced sense of beauty, can you please share that idea with us?
I have always believed that beauty is not all about the good looks. One of the most exciting experiences in England for me was participating in a debate at Oxford University. At the debate, we were asked about the significance of the makeover that one has to maintain to be called beautiful. All of us (participants) shared the same idea of beauty. It’s about feeling comfortable in your skin, be it in makeup, a gown or a pyjama, It’s never about the opinion of the person beside you; instead, it’s about what makes you feel good.