"I was questioned by my own community"
A 27-year-old ex-police officer from New Zealand has been chosen to compete in the upcoming Miss World beauty pageant in India.
Navjot Kaur, who served for two years in South Auckland, emerged victorious in a swift selection process held in Auckland at the start of February 2024.
She is set to join approximately 90 other contestants in Delhi and Mumbai for the 2024 Miss World competition in March.
Kaur, who is Sikh, sees her involvement as a way to promote multiculturalism in New Zealand internationally.
Before she was born, in the early 90s, her family moved to New Zealand from India.
Having been raised by a single mother, Kaur hopes to have a good impact on society and she sees the Miss World competition as a chance to achieve this goal.
Kaur’s sister, Isha, was also going for a place alongside her. However, she explained to Radio New Zealand that this was a blessing instead of a competition:
“I’m very overwhelmed and thankful for the opportunity.
“It was not a competition between us.
“We both had the same mindset that whoever wins between us will have the same morals and values that we learned from our mum.”
She also dived into her motivation for that has led to this historic moment:
“Growing up in a state house in Manurewa, I witnessed many young people struggling and I wanted to change that.
“That’s why I joined the police.
“What we witnessed on the frontlines was different from what we learned at Police College.
“There’s family harm, there’s child abuse and when I got onto the frontlines it emotionally drained me because I used to be very connected to the victims.
“I left (the force) after my last suicide (case), which was very intense.”
“I really wanted to help people get into the best shape, look and feel confident again, making a difference in people’s lives.”
Kaur highlights that community service and charity are more important aspects of the Miss World competition than just physical appearance.
It is now mandatory for contestants to demonstrate their skills and commitment to fundraising and philanthropic activities.
She claims that the Miss World stage unites beauty with a purposeful goal, enabling participants to serve their communities and promote worthy causes.
Additionally, she will be aiming to use her newfound platform to inspire the next generation of Punjabi women:
“There’s always giving back to the community, a charity aspect and there’s always something to do with helping people.
“They’re not doing the swim rounds at Miss World, so it doesn’t objectify women.”
“There are norms in my Punjabi community, where women are seen in a certain way like they can’t do this and they can’t do that.
“When I became a police officer, I was questioned by my own community.
“So, I think this platform will allow me to inspire others and tell them, ‘If I can do it, you can do it too’.
“Just dare to dream big.”