In the beautiful coastal town of Manarola, there lived a peasant girl named Lisa. She lived by the sea in a hut with her mother, as her father had left them when she was little. She didn’t have toys like we do, but she loved playing on the beach with her friends and helping people around her. There was no proper school in her town but she did her best to learn what she could and developed wonderful life skills as she grew up.
One day, as Lisa was walking with her friends toward the city market, she saw an advertisement for a modelling audition that was coming up. Lisa felt excited and made up her mind to become a model. That evening, she expressed the desire to become a model to her mother. Her mother was shocked initially, but smiled sweetly and said, “Of course you can honey! You can become anything you want to.”
Lisa jumped with excitement. She relentlessly practiced walking down an imaginary ramp and worked on the right smile and wave. As the days passed, she realized that she needed a good outfit for the auditions. She felt sad as she knew they didn’t have the money to buy a new gown. When she asked her mother about the dress, her mother said, “Don’t worry my dear, you can use my wedding gown. I plan to get fresh pearls from the oysters and clean the shells from the sea bed for your dress. I have sewed some pretty flowers. Wait let me show you.” Lisa hugged and thanked her mother and said – “You are the world’s best mother!”
A week later, Lisa went to the city for the auditions. She was awed by all the girls who had come from around the city for the auditions. They looked beautiful and confident. During the audition, Lisa felt nervous and started making mistakes like flustering during her speech and also tripped on her gown. The other girls made fun of Lisa and laughed at her.
This increased her nervousness and fear, and though she knew answers to the questions she was asked, she fumbled further. At the end of her audition, the director too laughed and rejected her. “What made you think you can be a model? You neither have the charm or grace nor can you speak properly without flustering! A person who knows nothing remains nothing,” he said, with an edge of finality in his voice. Lisa fled the place with tears running down her cheeks. She cried the whole night. Her mother tried to console her and asked her not to give up. She encouraged her to introspect and learn from her mistakes. The next day, Lisa went through everything the other girls did right at the audition. She realized that she needed to work a lot on herself. There were many more skills that were needed to become a model. It wasn’t just about walking down the ramp, smiling and waving. She began working on all the essential things that were required to become a good model – like skin care, eating healthy food, exercising, public speaking and general knowledge. She started reading a variety of books and practiced speaking on different topics in front of the mirror. Her mother and friends encouraged her and helped her practise. She made sure that her speech and answers were well–rehearsed and she wasn’t flustering or fumbling.
The year flew by and Lisa was now ready and felt more confident about herself. She went for the audition yet again but this time way more poised and prepared. The director was surprised and annoyed to see her. He was ready to reject her even before the auditions. One of the judges in the panel stopped him and said, “We must give an equal opportunity to everyone who comes here for auditions. Please allow her and give her a chance.” Reluctantly, the director agreed to include Lisa and allowed her to audition. When Lisa ascended the stage, she remembered her past experience and began losing her confidence. Her mother and friends who had come to support her immediately realized this and began cheering for her. Lisa closed her eyes for a few seconds and felt better. She then confidently walked on the ramp and faced the judges and audience with panache and confidence.
The director was stunned. He apologized to Lisa and said he judged her too early. The judges congratulated her for the brilliant performance. She was thrilled when she was shortlisted for the next level of the pageant. She worked harder for the final pageant and won the title. When Lisa returned to her town in Manarola, the villagers gave her a grand welcome. Her mother was elated with tears. Lisa used her winning prize money to develop her village and started a school so that no other girl or boy remained uneducated like her. Everyone was so proud of her.
Through her consistency and hard work, Lisa soon rose to become an international model. She never forgot her roots and always credited her mother and friends who had helped her achieve her goals. She became a role model to young, aspiring girls from small towns and villages, and made them believe that nothing is impossible if you have a strong will and determination. She was given the title – Manarola Model.
Author – Anveshi Maurya, 11 years old from Hyderabad