Jennifer Shaheen Hussain
When it comes to navigating a career and family life, Indian Air Force Wing Commander Shruti Singh Chauhan who had already been trailblazing in military aviation and homemaking has now made her mark into the pageant industry and was adjudged the second runner-up in the recently concluded Mrs. India World.
Chauhan has had a glorious career spanning over fifteen years in military aviation. A mother of a ten-year-old daughter, wife of military aviator Wing Commander Gaurav Singh, Chauhan stepped into her heels, grabbed the centre stage, walked the ramp, and shined in the spotlight to give a larger message to women hustling life every day.
“Well for me life has always been about taking on new challenges. Whether that be high in the skies, out in the field, or in this case up on the ramp. I truly believe that if you are passionate about what you want, not only does the journey become enjoyable but you also find ways around the obstacles and remain confident about achieving beyond your potential,” Shruti said.
Hailing from a family of freedom fighters in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad, Shruti was innately attuned to patriotism and chose to serve the country as a transport pilot. The Wing Commander is presently posted in IAF, Guwahati.
“Patriotism was ingrained deep into my character through a strong core value system. Given this background and the fact that I was always very motivated to take to the skies, donning the Airforce blue uniform was an automatic choice. I must admit I feel very blessed to be living my dream today,” Shruti said.
The pageant industry has grown much beyond just showcasing beauty and glamour. Mrs. India Inc. has opened up a space for aspiring beauty queens to explore and rediscover themselves while exhibiting it through their charm, intelligence, and talent.
Commenting on her decision to explore the glamour industry, the 38-year-old diva said, “With almost 16 long years of tough combat life behind me, I wanted to showcase my feminism in the most beautiful thereby reinforcing the fact that boots, wings, and heels can complement each other against common belief”.
Chauhan also busted several assumptions that are centered on the glamour and pageant industry.
“Beauty pageants have come a long way from the days when they were only about the colour of your skin, the figure you flaunt, or the physical beauty you bring to the fore. If anyone out there thinks that eye candies can win these pageants, that kind of objectification of women is such a thing of the past. Now it’s about showcasing personality, your views and your character in the most graceful manner there can be,” she said.
Reflecting on the journey of preparing and grooming herself for the pageant, Shruti asserted how important it was for her to experience the entire process regardless of the outcome, “Well, right from day one I had vowed to myself that for me the process is very important. Irrespective of the result, I wanted to use this opportunity to take time out from my busy life where I am a combatant, an aviator, a mother, a wife, and a homemaker amongst other hats that a woman has to wear”.
Adding, “I wanted to pause for a bit and use this time to groom my personality from both the inside and the outside. For once in life, this was about I, Me and Myself, and that was something I kept at the foremost during the build-up and preparatory phase”.
As glamorous as the pageant industry may look, the challenges that come along cannot be ignored. Moreover, as both a homemaker and provider, balancing both home and work can be a tough deal to crack.
Braving all odds, Shruti tells, “The number of hats working women and a mother has to wear made it very difficult for me to take out so much time through the auditions, counselling sessions, ramp walk practices, interview rounds, fitness classes, costume designing and lots more”.
Thanking her family, she said, “But I was extremely lucky to have the entire support of my elders at home, my husband, and most of it all my 10-year-old daughter. They have been a huge part of this journey always standing by with me, supporting me, shouldering extra responsibility, and making my belief even stronger. If family supports us, even skies can’t limit what we women can achieve”.
Acknowledging her love for taking up new challenges, Shruti who stands five feet and eight inches tall wants to soar higher and explore other passions including the industry of civil aviation.
“I have served as a military aviator for almost 15 long years in the Indian Air Force, now it’s time for me to hang my uniform come this June and with a Civil Aviation license in my bag, soon I will be venturing into the civil aviation industry,” she said.
On the sidelines of venturing into the glamour industry, she said, “I intend to continue exploring opportunities to pursue my passion to walk the ramp, freelance into personality development consultation, probably volunteer as a fitness enthusiast or even step into the glamour world if the timing is right. Like I said new challenges have always attracted me and continuing to strive harder is what life is for me”.