India’s Adline Castelino, the third runner-up at the
recently-held Miss Universe 2020, says the country has to grow a lot more in
terms of equality for women. The 22-year-old adds that it’s important for a
nation’s progress to focus on women and give them equal status.

Also Read: Celina Jaitly wishes Adline Castelino for ‘nailing the runners up for India’ at Miss Universe

“We are doing a lot of things that are fantastically
brilliant and we are going in the right space but I am very passionate to talk
about the state of women in the country because I feel in any nation, the state
of women translates into the state of the nation. I feel in our country even if
we have made progress, we have a lot more to grow in terms of equality, in
terms of how women are paid as per men,” Castelino said.

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The newly-crowned Miss Universe third runner-up says that she wants her life to be an example for all the young girls who are
looking for inspiration because “as a young girl, I was trying to find that
role model.”

Also Read: What was India’s Adline Castelino asked in the final round at Miss Universe pageant?

“I would love to see more women leaders in politics, in
business, in boardroom meetings. As a young girl, I remember looking at this
photo where there were only men in the boardrooms and plastic water bottles but
not a single woman. So, having women in these positions is really important and
being a young girl who was really yearning to see women leader and to relate to
her, I think it’s very important for our next generation,” said the beauty
queen who was born to Karnataka-origin Mangalorean Catholic parents in Kuwait
and came to India to become a financially independent woman.

 “This is something I
look forward to working on regardless of anything that happens. I know this is
the long way we are looking at but this is important,” she added.

Also Read: Adline Castelino, the Indian model who made her way to Miss Universe top 5

Castelino also feels very strongly about
multi-tasking to reach one’s goals. ‘We have this problem in society that we
think any individual can only pursue one profession at a time…I have always
been a multi-tasker. I not only want to make it huge in the entertainment
industry but also look at philanthropy as another way of expression.”

Talking about how she felt on stage during the finale night,
she said, “Just before I would step on the stage that particular night, I
remember telling myself that I need to give my best not only for myself but for
my country. It was very important because every day when I would get up during
the pageant… I would hear about what was happening in India and how the
conditions were deteriorating and that was emotionally affecting me.”

Castelino also recalls how people walked up to her during
the contest just to express concern for what was happening on the COVID front
in India. “There were a lot of sympathies around so for me to find that
strength in the people that were trying to fight the situation and to really
embody that was important.”

“I also felt that it
was even more important globally right now because of the kind of talks that
are happening about India globally. It was important to show them that we are
still power to be reckoned with and even if we are going through this, we can
walk shoulder to shoulder with any country and that is exactly what I was
thinking,” she said.

She also recalls how she missed seeing an Indian flag in
the preliminary rounds but finally saw one during the finale.

 “During the
preliminary competition that happened just before the main event, I was really
searching for the Indian flag but unfortunately we couldn’t have anybody at the
venue. There were flags from different countries so my eyes were really finding
that Indian flag and on the final day somebody turned up with the Indian flag. That
gave me so much power to perform well. It was like ‘yes we are here and we will
be remembered as a nation regardless of what happens’,” she said.

Also Read: Mexico’s Andrea Meza named Miss Universe 2020

On the pandemic in
India, Castelino said that in these trying times, it was important for everyone
in India to work together for unity and growth. 
“…it is important for people to work with the government especially
during this time and to have absolute transparency on things that happen so
that better decisions are made because it’s a very sensitive time,” she said.

 Finally, what were
her biggest takeaways from the Miss Universe pageant?

 “I think it’s such an
impactful experience and has left a very deep mark. I would say that
subconsciously and consciously I have always been a deep person and always looked
at deeper meanings in life so for me to go through this entire experience
especially during this time and really see this platform for what it is and how
it can bring the change in the society has transformed my life forever.

 “I would like to use
whatever I have learned during this platform in the future not only to bring
value for myself but people around me for sure,” she sums up.