Shelly Maheshwari Gupta was in her mid-40s when she decided she was longer content with being a famous astrologer! Embarking on the path of becoming a beauty queen helped her discover many hidden talents.
Born into a business class family, influenced by her parent’s faith in astrologers, she grew up as a staunch believer in the ‘greater power’ that runs our lives. After getting married to an industrialist, she began studying astrology. “As a Marwari bahu in an affluent family, you either run a big business or are a homemaker; you aren’t supposed to take up other jobs. So, I started studying astrology, vaastu, feng shui, tarot card reading primarily to help my husband’s business, bring happiness in our lives, and also engage myself in something interesting,” says the Delhi-based Shelly Maheshwari Gupta, who was born in Kanpur and raised in Lucknow.
Today, people prefer a modern woman over a traditional priest while seeking advice regarding star positions and sun signs thus she soon became a mini celebrity and could be seen on news channels as an expert.
But by 2011, she got tired of the routine, and wanted to learn something new. She found novelty in her interest in occult sciences, spirituality and yoga. This became the turning point in her life. “In the rat race, we forget about ourselves but discovering yourself gives you a lot of happiness. The joy was also because I was getting fitter. I had lost about 16 kg, and was looking younger. Suddenly, I became a role model for people in my age group,” says the mother of a 20-year-old.
Her cousin suggested that she participate in a beauty pageant and Shelly had her YOLO moment. “Women who come from my kind of family background, don’t really go for all these contests. But I had the confidence to pull it off, and the maturity to not get awed by the glamour. I had always been glamourous, and now the suppressed desire to walk the ramp rose like a phoenix. I took my husband and my son into confidence and went ahead,” says the 46-year-old.
From winning Mrs India North and qualifying for the Asian round and then finally being the second runner-up at Mrs Universal pageant in London, she has lived her dream. “I realised that there was much more than a ramp walk and enjoyed the process. I made many friends as well,” she says, adding that having no or an optional bikini round made things easier. “I don’t mind wearing one (bikini) but only outside India for obvious reasons. Back home, things are changing for married women. They are dressing up more boldly,” she adds.
She also discovered her hidden talents for dancing and singing and today, she is open to acting roles, if something good comes along. Shelly also has a larger goal at hand.
“Irrespective of the results, I felt these pageants are so beneficial for overall personality development that I will now groom other women,” she says, all the while crediting ‘God’s will’ for her achievements....