Dubai: She is an overnight global icon. The face of Expo 2020 Dubai opening ceremony, the centre of attraction among all the leadings stars who unveiled the world’s greatest show on Thursday night.
Meet Mira Singh, an Indo-Belarusian expat student who was watched by all across the world on TV screens, devices and landmark buildings.
The grade seven student of JSS International School was hand-picked from among hundreds of children to be the central character of Expo 2020 Dubai’s opening gala ceremony.
Wearing an ethnic Emirati dress in dark pink and decked up in traditional gold ornaments, the 11-year-old donned the role of an ‘Emirati child’ who gets told by her grandfather about the mesmerising stories of the country’s history, heritage and much more.
As she held the replica of a thousands of years old golden ring from the Saruq Al Hadid archeological site, which inspired the golden logo of Expo 2020 Dubai, Mira wandered into a fantastic world full of colours, life and hope.
She looked like a Disney Princess and acted like an Alice in Wonderland. But what did she really feel about the overwhelming experience?
Fairy in UAE
In an interview on Friday, the young model, actor and dancer told Gulf News: “I felt like a fairy in the UAE. With all the flowers and butterflies, it was like a real magical garden. I felt great … wonderful!”
Though she had performed in big events like the UAE National Day official ceremony in Abu Dhabi, Mira said she was nervous moments before the opening ceremony.
“When I was back stage, I was nervous. But when I went on to the stage, I gathered my confidence. I said to myself I can do it as I had done so many rehearsals and I also practised in the morning.”
The excitement was back again. “I was excited … finally I am on the show … people are going to watch me from all around the world.”
And when the show was over, she was “just speechless”. “I was happy. I didn’t mess up or did anything wrong. Everything went as planned. I didn’t have anything to regret. She said she was proud and grateful for the chance to meet and work with the big names from across the world.
It was no mean task to perform live in front of leaders, celebrities and others on a show that is livestreamed across the world. That too, wearing the long and heavy costume and bulky gold jewellery. Mira said it was a bit tiring for her during the dress rehearsals. But, she was full of energy on the big day.
“I do yoga and contortions,” she said, revealing the secret of her energy. “Dancing also helped me in Expo,” said the preteen who knows different forms of Indian and western dances from Bharatanatyam to ballet.
Her showbiz story
Her parents describe her as a born dancer who used to love posing in front of the mirror and for pictures from a young age. Thus, Mira’s mother Sveta, who hails from Belarus, took her for a children’s ramp walk when she was just six.
“I was on the runway. It was really big. There were lots of people standing, sitting, photographing. I was shocked first,” Mira recollected. Yet, she did a good job and got all the applause and then there was no looking back.
She understood what she was doing. As she grew up, she said, she realised “this is what I want to do and what I love to do.” She has acted in ads of big brands like McDonald’s, GMC, Audi, BMW, Aldar Properties, and stores like Ikea, Tryano in Yas Mall, Level Kids in City Walk to name a few.
“I want to act in movies, meet famous people and become one,” said Mira, who is also good at her studies. “I love Math and yoga classes in my school,” she said. The multi-talented girl also loves painting and playing piano.
Her father Jitendra Singh said the family was over the moon when Mira was shortlisted along with two other girls from among hundreds of children from various countries around three months ago.
“It was a long process. The Expo organisers were very considerate. They kept the rehearsals during the weekends or late evenings so that her studies won’t be affected.”
He said friends and family members watch the Expo opening ceremony from various countries and were thrilled about Mira taking the centre stage throughout the star-studded show.
It was particularly a proud moment when her image was screened at global landmarks like Times Square in New York, inviting everyone to “join the making of the new world.”
Jitendra said Mira was given three or four pairs of the same dress that she wore at the opening ceremony. She could be seen in the same dress in the ad for the same as well.
“I heard each piece of the dress cost some $20,000. They didn’t make her wear the same dress again. It was all different pieces of the same dress. All the ornaments she wore were original gold. They did not compromise on anything,” he said.
Mira is celebrating her newfound fame with her family which includes her elder brother Arman Singh, a junior golf player in the UAE, and all set to visit the Expo pavilions.