Meet, Mauna Shah, Miss Universe Asia, Actress, Supermodel and rated “Most Beautiful Smile of India”.
By Bobby Leigh
Hello Mauna. Welcome and thank you for taking the time to talk to us. I think our readers are really going to benefit from your international model and beauty pageant knowledge and professional acting experience.
Q: Can you start us off and tell us where did you grow up, and what were you like as a child?
A: I was born in a middle class family. My Father signed the contract as builder on the same day of my birth & hence I was always as a lucky charm baby for him. Born in Surat city Gujarat India. Which is famous for diamonds & textile all over the globe.
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Q: So, your family saw that you were a dancer, were they also into modelling and film? And what was it that made you think that you wanted to be a model and an actress and how old were you when you made that decision?
A: Not at all from my whole family was never intereststed in films. My parents always wanted me to learn different things & I started learning Indian classical dance bharat natyam at the age of 7. I acted in a movie at the age of 5 as lead actress child character of Radha in movie “Shree Chaitanya maha prabhu” I was always loved to get dressed up.
Q: What were some of your first or favorite movies or shows that you saw?
A: Oh i have a sweet story behind it. I remember we had only one television at our neighbours home on the whole street & all the kids if they wish to go their home & watch any show they have to sit at floor was their rule. I was so excited the first time I went at neighbours home & when they told me “baby you have to sit at floor if you wish to watch TV” I came back home and told my father that I wanted to watch TV with dignity not like this. Guess what? we got TV on next day at our home & I saw first show Tom & Jerry. Which is still my favourite one.
Q1: What do you remember about your first modelling jobs or your beauty pageant?
A: Yes, when I was 16, I participated in a local event. We got to change dresses after catwalk. I enjoyed trying different clothes, doing different make up and showing your beautiful side to the audience. That’s when I started to be more curios. Like what is a model? How would life be like if I were?
Q: What or who are some of your major acting influences?
A: In Bollywood I would have to say: Madhuri dixit, Akshay kumar, Salman khan.
But in Hollywood, most definitly: Tom Cruise, Salma Hayek, Meryle Streep, Angelina Jolie.
Q1: I heard you were a Guinness Records holder for Dance. Can you tell us about that?
A1: The record i made was under Guru Shree Pandit Birju Maharaj, that was held in Delhi with the presence of Sri Sri Ravishankar Ji as a chief guest where I performed Classical Kathak Dancing. It’s an Indian Guinness Record thing.
Q: What does the Best Smile in India? How did that title come about that?
A: I was standing on my stage with the other contestants and we were all waiting so desperately to hear the result. First name was announced was mine as gold, Mauna Shah the most beautiful smile of India. Honestly that moment was so emotional my name got announced as the most beautiful smile of India & I went ahead on catwalk with full smile. Received beautiful crown & i was just kept smiling ever after.
Q: I also know that you do a lot of beauty pageants, How did it come about you that you entered the Miss Universe pageant?
A: I was finalist of Miss India and I received confirmation letter at the same time as I got selected for Mrs Universe Asia contest. I was so exited & felt pride to represent my concerns country on Asia zone.
Q: Do you have any screenings, events or any projects/films coming up?
A: Actually, yes I do. I would like to grow more into modelling as well as an actress. Also coming up soon with some more movies of Gujarati, Bollywood as well as I have some cool stuff in the works in Hollywood. Also coming up soon with the tele talk show The Mauna Shah show on USA Garth TV. Which is about the inspirational story of real life heros. The show will be telecasts in USA & India together soon.
Q: How did the pandemic affect you, your acting and your modelling?
A: After I won my crowns in 2019, the pandemic came but it didn't effect me personally as I have mentioned i am very balanced spiritually too. I used my whole pandemic time in social work teaching sufi dancing to women’s on Zoom with free work shops. I believe in giving back and helping people. As well as I kept some sweet online laughing contest with good prises for new born babies to any age & I have received so many entries. This contest was purposely designed by me cause in 30 sec video every one sent was started with some artificial laugh & somehow they start laughing naturally. This is the way I share little smile and happiness during pandemic to each family to worth my tag winning beautiful smile of India.
Q1: Can you tell our readers about your upcoming show “International Indian Icon” and what is your role on it?
A: International Indian icon is a wonderful platform for Fashion enthusiasts, Dancers, Singers, Actors, and Musicians to showcase their talent globally. I am proud that I am a National & international Judge and Fashion categories.
Q2: What does it mean to be on the jury?
A: It mean's a lot to be as on the Jury. It carries a big responsibility. So the Jury select's the finalists and the Judge’s select for winners. When a contestants performs not only they but their whole family & audience have complete faith in the Jury and we have to accomplishment it with full responsibility.
Q: I also heard that you are also a Judge of the finalists in the competition in the Fashion, Dance and I Got Talent categories. Are there other Judges on the show, and who are they?
A: OK, There are four Judges total; I’m judging “Fashion”, and “Dance” of course and also I’m Judging the “I Got Talent” categories. Arko Pravo is a famous Indian signer and songwriter, he is judging “Singing”, Longinus is a Choreographer, he worked on the famous Indian movie “Slumdog Millionaire” He is also judging “Dance” with me. I think Simran, she was Miss India in 2019 and is also coming to Chicago.
We are taping the show LIVE from Chicago at the end of December.
Q: If you could make a movie with anyone who would that be?
A: If I would make a movie I would love to make a movie with Indian director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, as he exactly knows how to get the best out of the actor and he or she makes the movie come alive.
Q: What advice would you give other actors wanting to follow your footsteps?
A: Well I think, everyone should take their own path of life but the only advice is from my own life would love to share is to work hard, 24/7 and passionately keep balanced between the public life & Spiritualism.
Q: What’s next for Mauna Shah?
A: I, hope to win the hearts and minds of people who need a special lift. You’re worth it. Go for it,
Q: Thank you so much for a wonderful and meaningful discussion. Do you want to add anything that we haven’t covered?
A: Indeed I am very thankful to you so much for an awesome conversation. Honestly through this interview I am feeling i am in heart of Hollywood right now. So Just believe in Love, Passion, Karma & most importantly, KEEP SMILING
Mauna Shah and “International Indian Icon” Links:
3iii Website: https://www.internationalindianicon.com/
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Bobby Leigh is Multi-Platinum, Award-Winning Actor, Filmmaker and Music Manager. He has produced and been on the management teams for such major rock-n-roll legends as “Aerosmith,” “Guns-N-Roses,” “Red Hot Chili Peppers,” “KISS,” “Lynyrd Skynyrd,” “Prince,” “Quiet Riot,” “Night Ranger,” “Joan Jett,” “The Specials,” “Social Distortion,” “The Offspring,” and “Staind.” Leigh also served as the producer for three “MTV (VMA’s) Video Music Awards” Television Award shows.
Other notable acting roles; Leigh appeared in “The Flight Attendant”, “Midnight Mass”, “London Fields,” “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “Creatures Of White Chapel,” “British Style,” “Cruel,” “Dracula Untold,” “Golgotha,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Childlike Violence,” as well as many other independent films.
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