The Crowning of Miss Tibet 2002

Dharamsala, 12 October 2002: Ms Dolma Tsering became the first ever Miss Tibet.

At a glittering yet modest event held on Saturday, 12 October 2002, Ama Adhe, a veteran freedom fighter, crowned the winner after three hours of a memorable show at TIPA, Mcleod Ganj.

The event started with fireworks and a fiery speech by Lobsang Wangyal, Director of Free Spirit Festival and Miss Tibet Pageant.

"Miss Tibet is about instilling a sense of nationhood and identity to the nationless," said Lobsang Wangyal.

He went on to explain the objectives behind the whole project and thanked the media for taking a keen interest in the event. He even took the sprinkling of criticism to his stride and hoped that these "came out of genuine concerns" rather than with any other motive.

Youdon Aukatsang, the anchor of the event introduced the judges, Tikkarani Shailja Katoch, Mr. Vijay Kranti, Dr. Kenneth Delbrey and Angela Donahue.

The rounds began with the presentation of the contestants who breifly introduced themselves and explained their reasons behind joining the Pageant.

This was followed by the contestants showing their catwalk abilities in modern dress. The girls then wowed the crowd with the traditional costume round.

Each contestant was then asked a question by a judge on various topics such, 'If you could meet one person in this whole world, who would that be and why?', 'If you become the Miss Tibet, what would you do to bridge the generation gap in the Tibetan community?', etc.

Local and foreign artists performed between these rounds.

With the excitement building up as the night progressed the first award to be presented was the Miss Photogenic. Each ticket holder was given one slip to vote for their choice of Miss Photogenic which went to Ms Tenzin Yangkyi from Dekyiling Tibetan Settlement.

Finally, after a nervous wait on stage by the four girls, Ama Adhe, herself a veteran freedom fighter and a symbol of freedom and courage to all Tibetans, crowned the first ever Miss Tibet, Dolma Tsering.

Ama Adhe survived 28 years of torture, rape and starvation in Chinese prisons in Tibet, and was one of the three women who survived from the original 100 imprisoned with her. She witnessed the execution of her brother-in-law, and even woke up once in a morgue after fainting from malnutrition and overwork.

Along with the first ever Miss Tibet title, Dolma won one lakh (100,000) rupees as scholarship.

Dolma Tsering is 19 years old, and was born in Chinese-occupied Tibet. When she was 12, she left her remote Tibetan village in eastern Tibet, where she played mostly with Yak and sheep, to come to India for freedom, and for better chances in life. When she fled her homeland, she walked for 21 days across the frozen wastelands of the Himalayas.

Moments after Dolma was crowned she said, "I feel very great and very thankful to my people. I can't believe I am Miss Tibet!", as fireworks lit up the sky. "I will strive to be a role model for other Tibetan girls, someone they would be proud of," Dolma added.

She is an aspiring model and a singer. "I have a gifted voice, I love to sing and there are many songs from my village. I also have a dream to sing for my country."

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