Exclusive interview of reigning Miss World Bangladesh Jannatul Ferdous Oishee to Showtime, Dhaka Tribune
Jannatul Ferdous Oishee was crowned as the winner of Miss World Bangladesh 2018, and went to China to compete in the final stages of the competition. In China, she ranked 13 among the top 30. In an exclusive interview with Dhaka Tribune Showtime’s Faruque Ratul, Oishee shares her journey from high school graduate to going on to represent Bangladesh on the global stage of Miss World
How do you feel having represented Bangladesh on such a big platform?
I am feeling very happy. The aim was to get love from Bangladeshis, and that is what I received in great amount. What I wanted to achieve in Miss World’s final stages, was respect for my country. I have also achieved that. The entire experience was very positive.
What did you want to be while growing up?
I finished my HSC in Pirojpur in 2018. Everyone wants to be something as a child, whether knowingly or unknowingly. When I was three or four years old, I did not have much idea about the different professions to pursue in life. At the time I wanted to be a police officer. Somewhere along the road, I began to dream of becoming Miss World someday.
What specifically lead to you going for the first audition of Miss World Bangladesh?
Ever since I was a child, I have always had an interest in the media. My family was always involved in arts and culture, and they are very supportive of my interests. They also encouraged me to be patriotic. I love my country very much. So, I wanted to represent my country. The world of media and patriotism is extraordinarily combined through a venture like Miss World Bangladesh.
To achieve anything, one needs to prepare well for it. Since I was always keen to represent my country from a very young age, I would say some preparations for Miss World happened automatically. So, I decided to audition.
Could you please tell us how things were in your life when you auditioned? Please take us through your journey from the audition to the world stages in China.
I auditioned for Miss World right after completing my HSC. I was preparing for the IELTS in order to go abroad for higher studies. After giving an IELTS mock test, I received the call that I had been selected to audition for Miss World Bangladesh. I had already registered for the competition, and my profile had three photos of mine. They called me for the audition after perusing my profile.
The journey from the audition to the grand finale on December 7, 2018 was very positive. Whatever experience anyone can earn from a beauty pageant, I have earned it, and it was very positive. There are many controversies and assumptions in our country about beauty pageants. But they are not exclusive to our country, they exist all around the world.
To be honest, I was a little nervous about the environment before my audition. However, after the audition, the Miss World Bangladesh team, or Antar Showbiz, ensured that the environment is safe and healthy, so the contestants could participate in a risk-free manner. Whereas the environment was often questioned previously, the Miss World team provided something beyond reproach. To top it off, the camaraderie among the contestants was incredibly beautiful.
After giving a lot of effort, if one succeeds in a venture, the experience of that success becomes the “best” experience. Therefore, winning the crown was one of the highlights of my life.
In beauty pageants, contestants tend to be very competitive. Was there a difference in competitiveness between the Bangladeshi contestants and the international ones?
The difference in competition is poles apart. People compete nationally for themselves. The aim at that time was “I want to be Miss World Bangladesh. I want to be the representative of my country.” On the world stage the contestants compete to gain respect for their country. My aim in the main stage was to take Bangladesh as close as I could to the topmost crown. Since I was representing 170 million people, the pressure to win for all those people was immense. At that time I was driven by a sense of responsibility.
Was there any grooming for the finalists in China?
No, Miss World finalists come to the final stage of competition after they are groomed in their respective countries. There is no additional grooming in the final stage. There are programs in front of camera, for which there are rehearsals, so that the finalists may perform accordingly.
You ranked 13 in the top 30 in the Miss World competition. Two more rounds and you would have won the crown. How much pressure did you feel at that stage?
Well, those who have seen the contestant’s remarks before the final announcement will note that I said I would not be nervous or disappointed. What I felt at the moment was “whether I become Miss World or not is irrelevant, I am confident to have come this far.” However, before the announcement, my confidence was plummeting unexpectedly. Since I took on the mantle of representing my country, my name in the final stages was not Oishee anymore. Everyone called me Miss Bangladesh. The responsibility that came with the title used to drive me all the time. But before the final announcement, I was beginning to feel the weight of the title.
Naturally, a little bit of disappointment came with the top 10 announcement. How did you pick yourself up afterwards?
(Laughing) At the end of the day, we are all human beings. Many of us possess the virtue of becoming happy when we see that other people are happy. Everyone may not share this trait. But, when people can raise themselves above competition with others, then happiness comes automatically. I really liked Vanessa, who went on to become Miss World, because she is a very good person. When I saw the smile of relief on her face, of winning the contest, I was happy at her success. I felt that the most perfect person won the crown.
More importantly, the people of Bangladesh were happy with what I was able to achieve. If I had received severe backlash, then maybe the pressure would have been far greater. (Laughs) Since the people of Bangladesh were happy, I had very little time to be disappointed.
You are probably receiving a lot of casting offers for films, or TV drama or even commercials. How are you handling all these expectations?
As I have mentioned before, I had interest in media well before I signed up for Miss World audition. I love all kinds of work in mainstream media. I obviously feel good when someone calls me for work in the media. I try to give as much time as I can. Since I am a “new celebrity” in the New Year, my schedule is quite packed now. I am slowly getting accustomed to the busy “celebrity lifestyle,” if one were to call it that. I had a little bit of trouble adjusting with a hectic schedule, and I was finding it hard to fulfil commitments. However, now I feel well adjusted. I am enjoying all the work I am receiving now.
Do you want to go towards full time acting, or do you want to explore modelling for a few more years? And what will you do about finishing your studies?
Definitely I want to become an actor. I am already modelling now. Anyone can prove themselves in any kind of work, as long as they work hard. If I get good work opportunities, irrespective of the field, I will try to do the work, provided I feel that I deserve the work and am ready for it. I will make the most of whatever opportunity I get.
As for studies, I became busy with the Miss World competition after completing my HSC. My previous plan was to go abroad for higher studies, but due to Miss World I had to change my plans. Now, I want to enroll in a private university very soon and continue my studies.