Tashi Choden, 19, bagged the first runners up in the renowned Citadel Extravaganza personality contest held in Pune, India on August 19.

After contesting for an audition that had about 1500 participants, Tashi Choden made it to the top seven. These participants were again trained for a week in Pune before the grand finals.

Citadel Extravaganza is a Bollywood Personality contest where the panel of judges are from the Bollywood fraternity.

The class XI student of Utpal Academy, Tashi Choden, said she wants to change the perception of people on modelling. “People think that modelling will get you nowhere but modelling is much more than walking the ramps with high heels.”

She said that modelling for Project Bhutan and competing in Citadel Extravaganza was the proudest moment in her life.

Managing director of Project Bhutan, Paljor Gyabak, said that the contest was not on the basis of countries. “This is on an individual basis and she was the only participant from Bhutan. The other contestants were from India.”

He said that for Citadel Extravaganza, Project Bhutan was in search for a new face. “Tashi Choden has a gift and an international face,” he said. “She wasn’t trained but the way carried herself and the way she walked showed that she had the talent.”

The managing director said that the main criterion was intelligence quotient (IQ), physical outlook, height and overall presentation. “Judges were also observing if the contestants could have a career in Bollywood.”

Tashi Choden said that she wants to pursue this career and be someone that people would look up to. “I feel that Bhutanese youth have the potential to compete and even win international titles.”

She said that Project Bhutan helped her with exposure and growth. “When I started modelling, my parents didn’t support me full heartedly. They were doubtful and wanted me to complete my studies first. After I returned from the competition, they support me.”

Paljor Gyabak said that the main motive is grooming the youth who are inclined to fashion. “We want to make their dreams a reality.”

He also said that their responsibility, as an organisation, is to lay down the canvas for these models to walk on. “We show them the way.”

Rinchen Zangmo