I sat down with reigning Miss Nagaland Vikuonuo Sachü over coffee to talk about the crown and the responsibilities that came along with it, her personal journey from aspiring to become Miss Nagaland to fulfilling her dreams to how she’s shaped it as a platform for empowering the youth.
For someone still in college and so young, she has already accomplished more than most can even begin to imagine. Looking at all the work she has done so far, I am confident that this young friend and role model is on her path to achieve much more.
Deno: Hi Vikuonuo, welcome to R&L! Please introduce yourself.
Vikuonuo: Hi everyone, a pleasure to be having this chat. I am Vikuonuo Sachü, reigning Miss Nagaland 2019. I am from Kohima, and currently pursuing a degree along with various social activities. Personally, I would describe myself as both an introvert and an extrovert. I can be very shy at times, but also equally enjoy traveling and meeting new people, and having conversations with them about their lives and perspectives on various things.
It’s been a year since I have been crowned Miss Nagaland! Been quite lucky to reign for another year – making me the only Miss Nagaland to reign for two years. This excites me so much. Over this time I think we have heard a lot of us saying pageant changes lives, yes it does! My life too changed. Not because it brought me a spotlight in public but rather allowed me to have a stronger voice in society. I get mixed emotions every time I remember the first step I took that brought me this far.
Deno: It must have been quite a ride! Tell me more about how it still started, the challenges you must have encountered, and any memorable events up until the winning moment.
Vikuonuo: As I grew older, my passion to become Miss Nagaland only grew bigger and brighter. Not only was it a childhood dream, but I’ve seen how a platform like this can bring out the woman in you for a cause. So all these things only fueled my desire to participate in this pageant. That said, I must admit that it wasn’t all rosy and cheer from the beginning. I had to walk through alternating voices from around me to come this far.
Looking back, it’s sad how people saw my weakness in my pursuance of this pageant dream; how they thought this pageant will degrade my quality of living. Cried numerous times, had to fall and broke apart – even faced humiliation at times. Scariest thought was that I’d eventually give in to these voices, and give up my dream. But a voice in me kept reminding me to stay committed to that little girl who had an innocent – yet audacious vision to stand up for myself and bring about a positive change through my decisions and actions.
So I finally went for it 🙂 I borrowed Rs. 1500 from my mum to pay for the registration fee. I promised her I’ll return it back right after the contest is over. She asked me “Are you sure about this? Do you think you’ll be able to win?” To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure for a while but somewhere somehow I knew I could. When I could return the money I borrowed to my mum, it felt so rewarding. It felt great to know that I could finally accomplish a vision I had.
Deno: How would your friends describe you?
Vikuonuo: Some of my friends will consider me to be shy, some to be an outgoing person whereas my best friends will consider me to be crazy 😀
Deno: You are now a role model to many young people. Who is your greatest inspiration?
Vikuonuo: There are many incidents/instances/people who have inspired me all along. Not one particular. I think this world is big enough for you to get inspiration from many sources. Although I can say with confidence that my grandparents have had a big role to play in molding my life and my vision. They play an unwavering role in motivating me to pursue my dreams.
Deno: Would you encourage young girls to participate in beauty pageants?
Vikuonuo: Of course! I would encourage our younger generation to go for pageants. Pageants can contribute a lot in molding you and your confidence, your personality and more. I believe it also gives you a purpose as it has given me. So I think this is a platform where you’re able to do a lot for yourself and the people around you.
Deno: Being the reigning Miss Nagaland, I believe you must be engaged in a lot of interesting work and projects. Tell me more about them..
Vikuonuo: I work on various projects assigned to me. I also do some voluntary work along with BASN (Beauty Aesthetic Society Of Nagaland) who would always accompany, guide, and support me. I’ve recently worked as a host for an event of TAFMA Nagaland (𝐓𝐚𝐬𝐤 𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐜𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐜 & 𝐀𝐫𝐭𝐬). It was such a hard task for me yet I enjoyed it. Every work that I do, even though it may be challenging and new, I eventually get to enjoy and learn a lot from it.
In my quest to empower young people, I teamed up with Mr. Kohima – Kevingunyü Mere to form ‘Youth Connect Nagaland’ with the sole vision to uplift the youths in Nagaland. We started off with zero budget and we still run this society with a zero budget but it is so fulfilling to build a platform for young people to do our bit to ensure they never lack opportunities and recognition when needed.
I also recently started my ‘Beauty With A Purpose’ second phase under the theme “Livelihood Generation and Education.” This project’s mission is to visit all the 12 districts of Nagaland with a mission to uplift agriculture in Nagaland and awaken the spirit of being a Naga in each individual. It is indeed a bold mission. So far we have successfully toured 3 districts.
This project is really close to my heart mainly because it allowed my team to reconnect with our roots. We covered some of the most remote villages in our state through this project – witnessing life at its worst to the best. Saddens my heart to see that in some far-flung villages, life out there is so sad.
Lack of proper clean water, lack of medical facilities, lack of proper agricultural materials, lack of shelter and food, lack of education, lack of opportunities, and no access to vital information from state and central sources. There are places where the public can’t even reach government offices and facilities because of poor road conditions.
Covering all this was extremely hard but being able to understand them brought so much learning – and the ultimate takeaway that we can use this exposure and our voices to bring a much-needed change in these neglected areas. I would like to highlight that we have received so much support from partners like BASN, India Trail (travel partner), and BWAP associated with Entrepreneur Associates.
Deno: Would you like to share how a typical day of a reigning Miss Nagaland is like?
Vikuonuo: A day full of phone calls or unending meetings or travels!!! There are plenty of ways to keep myself busy – and thankfully for good reason. I am also much aware that I am thrust with many expectations, which is often coupled with pressure, and sometimes despair. But I am grateful each day; I let my head work instead of letting my heart be troubled 🙂
Deno: Keep going, you are doing an amazing job. Now off to some light, fun chat. What is your favorite leisure activity?
Vikuonuo: I usually find something to do even on my day offs. At the moment, I feel that’s better than laying on my bed and dreaming 😉 But oh! I am currently obsessed with cooking. I love experiementing with new ingredients and making my own recipe! Haha!
Deno: One last Q. What’s on your playlist?
Vikuonuo: “I’m Ready” by Moatoshi Jamir is on repeat at the moment. [Listen on Spotify]
Follow Vikuonuo Sachü on Instagram.
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