Hey, I am Shaan Suhas Kumar from India. I am Miss Earth India 2017 and represented my country at one of the biggest pageants in the World – Miss Earth in October last year in the Philippines. I come from a small city in central India called Bhopal. I had a very simple upbringing, but I was always encouraged to do what I love, by my parents. After my school, I studied filmmaking during college and then went on to work in the social development sector in India. My first job was to teach children from underprivileged backgrounds in one of the biggest slums in Asia, in Mumbai City. I also worked a lot of environmental issues and I joined pageants only after finishing my undergraduate degree and working for 5 years.
I got interested in modeling during my college days when I did a couple of shoots and shows, but did not feel the urge to model full time. I wanted to be in pageants and went for my first auditions much later in life than most people do, around when I was 23-24 years old. I am 27 now.
What inspired you to go for the competition?
Just the fact that pageants were a big platform and an opportunity for me to grow, groom myself and get to represent my country internationally was very inspiring. Of course, a platform like this also puts a person in the public light and helps them be recognized which is something I wanted to be a part of. A lot of what I have learnt comes from my work in the social development sector, so pageantry has helped me to not only, groom myself, but also gave me a platform to be a voice and an influence for the causes I care about which are education and environment.
What have you achieved so far as Miss Earth India?
A lot of things! Thanks to my unique background. I didn’t come into pageants from the modeling world so while I have had to learn aspects of modeling, I have utilized this platform for what I already knew – to spread awareness about environmental issues like plastic pollution, air pollution and climate change. Being Miss Earth India has given me the opportunity to be an ambassador for various organizations and causes. I’ve also helped raise funds for different educational initiatives and spoken on the radio and TV and been a part of international platforms to make people learn about sustainable development. I’ve taken my time to be a part of various experiences – from ramp shows for various brands including walking the London Fashion week, to being an advocate for environmental causes. Being in Nigeria with the Aurora Foundation was also a culmination of these experiences.
Are you single?
Haha, yes I am!
What do you look out for in a man?
Intelligence, wit, humility and purpose. Brownie points for someone who is tall and wears the right fragrance!
How do you stay beautiful?
By continuously learning, helping when I can, thinking positively and taking care of myself. 🙂
Did your family support you competing in the pageant?
Yes, I am blessed to have a family that supports my decisions wholeheartedly. It is not common for all parents to support modeling and pageantry, but my parents understood and encouraged me to go ahead and follow my dreams. No one in my family had ever modeled before nor have they ever been in pageants. My mother has worked as an educator for more than 2 decades and my father has worked for the government services as an officer of the Indian Forest Services. He has retired now.
Your trip to Nigeria tell us about it?
I was invited by the Aurora International Charity Foundation founder, former beauty queen Ms. Tomi Salami for a humanitarian and tourism event. I was the goodwill and tourism ambassador from India and 7 other beauty queens from across the world had also joined the program. We celebrated the United Nations International Day of Charity together on 5th September by hosting the largest free market in Africa for the needy and underprivileged along with the Foundation. Apart from this I had the opportunity to learn a bit about the history of Nigeria through my visit to Badagri, had a chance to try, Nigerian cuisine and learn the Shaku Shaku and visit different places in Lagos. This was my first time in Africa and I genuinely had a wonderful time.
Share us your experience with Kelechi Amadi Obi?
Absolutely incredible, I don’t think it takes more than a second to realize why he is one of the most celebrated photographers in Nigeria. Not only is he amazingly talented and terrific with his work, he is also very encouraging and humble. He and his team made me feel at ease and I was blown away to see the pictures on his computer immediately after they were clicked. It was an absolute honor and pleasure to work with him and I’d love to work with him again!
The photo shoot put together by Ms. Tomi was definitely one of the biggest highlights for me in Lagos and I loved everything from the designers, make up artist, hair artists, stylists and of course Kelechi sir and his team. I felt completely transformed and the pictures have come out stunning!
What are your future plans?
I plan on working in social development itself in the near future. I enjoy being in front of the camera though and wouldn’t mind continuing with modeling assignments as well, but my main focus would be to work for education, environment and gender issues.
Tell us about world merit org?
I recently became associated with World Merit, and it’s been amazing. is an organization for young people to connect and work on solving issues that the world faces today. They have their flagship event « merit 360 » where young change makers from across the world apply to be a part of it. Once they are selected, they come together under one roof to create project plans to tackle problems to achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals. They are given mentorship and feedback on the projects they design and trained in other aspects too.
We had our last merit 360 event just last week in the UK and we even had a Nigerian delegate virtually join us for it! 🙂
Word of encouragement to upcoming queen?
Always forge ahead to do what you have dreamt of – never look back and think « what if? ». Also, utilize your voice, your platform to be more and do more every time 🙂