By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | April 26, 2020

The first thing you notice when you meet Sneha Pragada is her smile: bright, with perfectly aligned teeth. More importantly, the smile reaches her eyes which lights up her entire face. After a minute of meeting her, you learn that she is a Doctor and a dentist at that! So, are these normal teeth or have you worked on them [considering she’s working her way into the glamour world] is the first question that I throw her way, all the while catching her eye to see for some discomfort.

Dr. Sneha is not offended. She laughs, exposing her pearly whites even further. “Being a dentist, I know what it entails. I’m all for conservation and preservation of teeth.”

So how does a dentist from Vishakhapatnam, land up in Mumbai for a grooming session at Cocoaberry Talent and Academy (January 2020 batch), with an eye on participating in Miss India? Dr. Sneha is focussed in her replies and her choice of career/s. She knows she can make a difference and is convinced that the Beauty Pageant platform is one where you can have your voice heard to make a difference in society. “The essence of winning a pageant is being able to inspire many others with your story and to voice your opinions and ideas to the world,” she says.

Sneha Pragada Miss India Pageant
“I have always wanted to be a part of beauty pageants,” says Dr. Sneha Pragada.

“Since I was 10-year-old, I always was interested in pageants and wanted to be a Miss India. The younger me never knew the way but was always dreaming of it and knew somewhere in my subconscious that I would eventually find my way,” reveals Dr. Sneha about how she landed up at Cocoaberry. “It was tough to incorporate glamour into my busy schedule but I challenged myself and found out the balance,” she adds.

At the moment, the 23-year-old Dr. Sneha is serving society as a frontline warrior amidst the global pandemic that has gripped the world and is happy that she is in a position to serve at a time like this, than be home, locked in, staying safe. “I never felt the need to go back home to Vishakhapatnam as I know that this is the time I have to be around to help those who are in need,” smiles Dr. Sneha, who has completed her Bachelors in Dental Surgery in Visakhapatnam and is currently working as a Junior Resident Doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Raipur.

Opening Doorz chatted up with Dr. Sneha Pragada on her ambitions, her duty at AIIMS amidst lockdown and her dreams to grace the Miss India stage.

Excerpts:

What precautions are you taking at a time like this when you are on duty?
I have been taking all necessary precautions. The hospital is well geared up because we know we have to work. All dental clinics are closed in Raipur and only AIIMS is open for treatment.

Can you describe your normal day now during the lockdown?
If I’m on duty, I report at 8:30 am and start taking cases. My day ends at 4:30pm. If it is an emergency, we treat immediately, if the case can wait, we ask the patient to come back later. We have treated cases of jaw fracture and cases of severe infection. Every day, we have a tooth extraction and I also assist in surgical procedures, done by a Senior Doctor. For a week, during a month, we also have ‘Emergency Duty’ wherein we are called anytime in case of an emergency, even after duty hours.

When does your Jr. Residency end and what have you planned post that?
My Jr. Residency ends on May 6, 2020, and after that I want to do my Post Graduation in Dental Surgery (Oral and MaxilloFacial Surgery). I will be preparing for my entrance exam.

And where does that give you time for Miss India?
Auditions haven’t started as yet and I am hopeful of making myself available. I want to do both things simultaneously and I am sure I will be able to do that. Before coming to Cocoaberry Talent and Academy, I had a vague idea about the fashion industry and the glamour world. Now, I have a better picture and a grip on what I want to do.

Sneha Pragada Miss India Pageant
Dr. Sneha Pragada with Alesia Raut and Siddhaanth Surryanvanshi at the completion of her Cocoaberry course.

What was the gain from Cocoaberry?
I have never been exposed to this field. When I came here, to Mumbai, I understood it much better. I learnt that Ramp Walking is not just about criss-crossing your legs whilst walking. I also learnt a lot from all the girls who were present in our batch. There is so much we can learn from each other. Also, Alesia and Anjali M’am emphasised that we have to show our best qualities. “Bring out your own style,” they told me. They asked me to get the best out of me and that has made me a better, more confident me.

How would you describe the course at Cocoaberry?
Coming from Vishakhapatnam, I had no idea what to expect. The course was extremely helpful for all the pageant and modelling aspirants. It was packed with relevant classes which helped us in our future endeavours. It taught me a lot about life! Every girl had something unique to share; hearing the stories and aspirations of the other girls was not only interesting but also very motivating.

How would you describe the focus of Alesia and Anjali Raut?
Alesia M’am is a diva; every minute you spend with her, you learn something new and I’m not just speaking about ramp walk, but life in general. She is energetic, hard-working and always multi-tasking. She is also humble and down-to-earth who wouldn’t mind even cleaning the floor if she sees a stain in the training area. Anjali M’am (with her sessions) changes you as a person. She has changed my thought process and helped me look at life from a different perspective. Both, Alesia and Anjali consider the Academy as a temple where you learn work ethics, discipline and commitment.

Also Read: Maitri Chauhan… from India to Germany!
Also Read: A face suited for brands… Snehal Hake

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