Ever since seasoned model and aspiring actor, Tangia Zaman Methila, was crowned Miss Universe Bangladesh on April 3, social media is brimming with reactions. Some congratulated her while others called her out for knowing the judges a little too well and for posting a private video of a man that was commonly dubbed as sexual harassment. Whether it pleases everyone or not, she will be representing the country at the 69th Miss Universe pageant in the USA this May. In the meantime, Methila talked to Dhaka Tribune Showtime about the competition, her preparation, her charity work and the little 'prank video' that went viral
What was the hardest part of the Miss Universe Bangladesh competition?
Honestly, the hardest part was to see my positive attributes taken negatively by people. I had dreamt of becoming Miss Universe after years of experience. I never thought this grooming would draw so much hate. After entering the competition, I realized that because I worked in front of the camera, participated in pageants, walked the ramp, a lot of people started commenting that this competition is rigged. But no one said that this girl has a strong background, so she deserves to win.
How long have you been modelling?
Is there any regulation in this competition that bars women with such extensive experience?
There are no rules that restrict a professional model from participating in this competition. On the international stage, 95% of the participants come from a modelling background. They already know how to walk, how to dress, how to talk in front of the camera. To win a pageant, you have to be the complete package. Countries keep that in mind when selecting their representatives.
Bangladesh started taking part in Miss universe only from 2019. You are the second Miss Universe Bangladesh. Do you feel you can score a place in the Top 10 because you are more seasoned?
My target is Top 1. I feel if I target Top 1, then I can be in the Top 3 at least. If I target Top 10, then maybe I’ll reach Top 50. There’s nothing wrong with being a big dreamer. I think every one of the contestants dream of winning the crown.
Pageant winners of such competitions have a history of doing significant social work. Are you required to do any such charitable work as Miss Bangladesh in the next one year?
I’m involved with some charities for the last three years. My best friend and I distribute clothes among poor people before Eid. I also work with Star Rising Charity. We distribute food, buy books and stationaries for underprivileged children and orphans. I think every well to do person should help people in need.
Miss Universe 2020 will take place on May 17, 2021. A lot depends on the Covid situation though. How are you preparing?
Before going to the pageant, I have to maintain a strict fitness regiment, pick outfits, attend oral grooming sessions etc. Walking as a model is different from walking as a pageant contestant. Those are the things I’ll be focusing on in the next few weeks.
Your film, Rohingya, is awaiting release. Tell us about the story and your character there.
Rohingya will be released on Netflix in two months. I play the lead. It’s a love story of refugees who fled Myanmar. But it also touches on a lot of other aspects of life in the refugee camps.
Many pageant participants gravitate towards acting. Is that the direction you want your career to head towards?
At the moment, I’m completely focused on acting. I feel it’s time for me to take the next step.
Tell us more about yourself. What did you study, what's your hobby- things that define you as a person?
I’ve completed HSC, then came to Dhaka. I studied at ULAB, but couldn’t finish bachelors because my father passed away leaving me with unforeseen responsibilities. I have been accepted at the LA Academy for acting where I plan to complete undergrad.
Lets talk about the video.
Yes. Some people are calling you a sexual harasser for uploading a video of a man at a urinal, who looked surprised to have been ambushed by you and your friend recording him.
If people want to say such things, I can’t stop them. I’ve been saying this since day one, that it wasn’t harassment, it was a prank video that three of us, friends, made. We posted it on snapchat and had a laugh. Nothing more than that. I never thought in my wildest dreams that people will call this harassment. I’ve apologized on both Facebook and Instagram.
So, the person you taped was your friend and you had consent to upload it?
He’s a very close friend of mine. He knows it and if Miss Universe organizers want a statement from him, he’ll clear things out. It was in Thailand. I didn’t upload it anywhere. My friend shared it on Snapchat.
Alright. Beauty pageants tend to judge based on physical beauty over talent or other aspects of the participants. What do you think the role of such competitions is in the context of Bangladesh?
No one can judge a person’s beauty based on how they look. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. I think every human being is beautiful. I think pageants also don’t look for just physical beauty anymore. Talent and confidence matter a lot… I think your confidence is your beauty.