Winner of Miss Earth 2010, Nicole Faria takes her title very seriously and is actively involved in many projects for conserving the environment.
India’s first and only Miss Earth at the international level is a supermodel, a Bollywood actress, a budding entrepreneur, a traveller and an environmental activist. After creating waves on the ramp, Nicole Faria showed her ability and her class by partnering with ENO of Finland to plant millions of trees to save the planet, by being the ambassador for the Save the Lakes campaign in Bangalore, and much more. The Mumbai Cyclathon and the Save the Tiger project are some of the other examples of how Nicole uses her celebrity status to influence people to do more for the planet.
1) Breaking the stereotypes – You are the first woman (and only one thus far) from India to win the Miss Earth title. Tell us about that journey and the best part about winning the title.
Nicole: The first step was winning Miss India South, then I won Miss India Earth & then winning India’s first Miss Earth crown in 2010 at the age of 20. I can still remember my journey through Miss Earth and I’m so honoured to be the first and only woman from India to win the title. The best part about winning the Miss Earth title was that my voice would be heard for the betterment of our environment through various activities around the globe.
2) You have championed various eco-friendly causes, often beyond the call of duty as per the Miss Earth organisation. Some of the causes quite close to your heart?
N: If I had to pick the causes closest to my heart it would definitely be (in no particular order):
- Providing for the flood victims in Thailand in 2011.
- I performed a belly dance which was a fusion of classical & Middle-Eastern style in an event that raised VND 100 million which was donated to the HCM City Red Cross in 2010.
- ENO – planting 10 million trees.
- I played a pivotal role in helping restore Bangalore’s lakes which have dwindled in the past 30 years from 280 to now 80.
3) You have travelled all around the country and the world. What do you like most about travelling & how has it impacted you as a person?
N: Let me start off by saying in the year 2011, I visited India for 10 days that year! I’ve been travelling constantly since then and I absolutely love it. I get to experience different cultures, traditions, food, festivals & make friends along the way.
4) What is your typical travel MO when you take time off? (Impulsive, solo, adventure, exploratory, packaged tours….)
N: A bit of everything. Mainly adventure, exploratory & camping. But each experience has been different from the other and that’s what makes it awesome!
5) Few of your favourite travel destinations and what fascinates you about these. Tell us one or two of your ‘Discover the real’ moments.
N: Fiji islands – I got to experience heaven on earth. I also went on my first skydiving adventure on that trip and it’s one of the most memorable holidays of my life.
Maldives- Again, tropical. But very different. I swam with baby sharks. And, was my happiest vacation.
6) Is being a celebrity a boon or a bane, especially when you take time off and travel?
N: A bit of both. I feel sometimes I just want to wear zero makeup and have messy hair & not care. But I also like clicking photos with fans that recognise me in a totally different part of the world. Makes me feel special.
7) What does being a woman mean to you? How does what you do impact the lives of others and especially women?
N: Being a woman to me is being independent, strong and fierce. I feel other women look up to me because I’ve followed my dreams and I’m not scared to walk the road less travelled. And, I hope it gives them the courage to find their own path and do the same.
8) Challenges you faced/face as a woman and overcoming them.
N: Growing up in India, I’ve always heard – boys & girls have different curfews. Boys were allowed to stay out late while girls had to go home early because is not safe for girls.
In my home, both my brother (Craig) and I were brought up as equals. And, I feel that’s what makes a woman strong. Having the backing of her family, no matter what other people say or think. And in turn, both my brother and I would learn the values of being equal and in the future, we’d pass that on to our kids.
9) You were recently recognised as one of the ‘First Ladies’ of India. What does this recognition mean to you? Some of the other recognitions that you cherish.
N: It means the world to me to receive the First Ladies award by the president of India & by MWCD Menaka Gandhiji among the other ladies in their respective fields. Being the first & currently only woman from India to bag the title Miss Earth, is truly memorable.
10) Nicole’s future plans. What can we look forward to?
N: I am very thrilled to share the wonderful news! My Mom and I are opening our own salon called Morph. It’s a wellness centre, beauty bar and a beauty school. We have services like aesthetics, laser, weight loss, hair transplants etc. located at Havanur Circle, Bangalore. Our Moto – Morph into a better version of you.
I’m going to be travelling on a cruise to Italy, Mykonos & Croatia in April. I’m looking forward to visiting some of the most beautiful places on earth.
11) Your words of wisdom for today’s woman.
N: You are beautiful, you are stronger than you know, and you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Dream big always.