Model Wife Soars High Even Makes Rajasthan, India Proud
9 November 2017
Manu Shrivastava, Jaipur

This is one different power couple. The wife is a beauty pageant winner while her partner supports her in every breath she takes…keeping a low profile, while revelling in ‘her’ success and holding the family fort while she traverses the globe chasing her dreams. What’s better than the fact that in doing so, she makes Rajasthan and…India proud!

Leena Sharma in Manila, Philippines
Every young girl, at least once in her childhood or adolescence, wishes she becomes a beauty queen…adorns a crown, wears a sachet, dons a bright smile and squeals out in joy before the world as she makes her mark in history! But, for Mrs. India 2017 Finalist Leena Sharma, winning a beauty contest was never a childhood dream. It was never a dream to begin with. It was an opportunity to prove to the world and, most importantly herself, there is nothing a woman could not achieve despite the most unfavourable of circumstances.

Born in a traditional Marwadi family in Jaipur, Leena was no different than thousands of girls from traditional families and communities who surrender to their ‘fate’…the will and whims of family patriarchs or community leaders. Education is more of a matrimonial qualification than a medium of empowerment. So, for Leena too, as soon as she completed graduation, she got married in 2006 at 19! And, the marriage was ‘arranged’.

Leena Sharma with her husband Arun Sharma
Life was in the doldrums and the very next year she gave birth to her son, Aarav. However, in Leena’s story, her husband, Arun Sharma, turned out to be the knight in shining armour that every woman dreams of. He supported Leena in all her endeavours and encouraged her to achieve more. Today, she gives him credit for her incredible journey ‘after’ marriage. Arun encouraged Leena to further her education and supported her when she left for Delhi to finish her Masters and MBA, leaving her young child behind. Soon after, she started working and eventually started her own business successfully and, later, an NGO working towards woman and child welfare.

Last year, following an unfortunate accident in which Leena lost her mother, she slipped into depression. Around the same time, she learned of the Mrs. India pageant and with a bit of encouragement from her husband, decided to apply. “Convincing my in-laws was difficult and they did not agree first. But, when I told them I will not be modelling but will instead work to become a role model for other women, they conceded,” says an excited Leena.

Leena Sharma with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje
And, this was just the beginning of a series of wins for Leena at national and international fora. After winning Mrs. India Rajasthan 2017 Runner Up, Leena went on to win Mrs. India 2017 Finalist in Chennai, she most recently flew to Manila, Philippines for the Mrs. Tourism 2017 Pageant where she was selected as Mrs. Tourism Ambassador 2017 and made India and her home-state Rajasthan proud.
“It was a moment of pride for India, women and motherhood,” she said.

That her husband supported her was vindicated when he was felicitated as the Best Supportive Husband at the event in Manila. “It was an honour well deserved,” she chuckles.

“My husband has always supported me, even when my family or in laws wouldn’t owing to social pressures,” says a proud Leena. “I am fortunate to have Aarav as my son as he too understands my professional demands well and has adjusted easily to my routines. Even as a child he never complained when I would have to leave him alone back at home. He is, indeed, the lucky charm in my life.”

Her ‘humble origins’ and ‘upbringing’ have taught her to be positive in life and persistent in her work. “I have learned to grab every opportunity that comes my way,” she says. To keep up with the demands of my business, she also realised it is important to have a healthy body and mind to achieve anything in life. This is something she swears by and advises other women also. She strongly feels the need to give back to society and is doing so through her NGO that works extensively towards women empowerment.

A role model… all the way!