Dubai: Pamela Serena, Mrs Universe Dubai 2021, at one point thought she would not make it to the pageant.
On September 9, 2021, Serena had a fall inside the steam room of a spa. This was a month before she was to take part in the prestigious Mrs Universe Dubai 2021 beauty pageant. She incurred a severe injury by hurting the T6 of her spine. She was lucky the fall did not impact any other part of her spine as that might have left her wheel-chair bound for life.
“I was walking down marble steps and slipped on a wet floor. I fractured my spine and was bed bound for several months,” said Serena, who is also former Miss India UK.
After several months of treatment, including physiotherapy, Serena was able to walk again with confidence.
‘I was in pain’
Serena was left disappointed following her injury, considering that she could not participate at the pageant.
As luck would have it, the event was postponed last year due to COVID-19. It was finally held on February 19 at Sofitel the Palm. It is the first time Mrs Universe pageant is being held in the UAE.
Serena said until two weeks before the pageant date, she was not sure if she would be able to participate at the event. “I was in pain. I barely started walking and was allowed to wear heels only a week before the pageant. It was a stressful time but I mustered the courage and put all my determination into this,” added Serena, who has worked in London School of Film Production previously. She has starred in several musical videos and TV series, having worked with global artists.
Her resilience finally paid off. Serena had a message for the world and she wanted to tell it at the pageant.
“I feel blessed and fortunate for this experience. To think that I would never have made it if the pageant was to go as per schedule last year – it made me believe in destiny,” said Serena, who holds a degree in psychology from the University College of London University.
“Winning the crown in Dubai has been a dream come true. From my pageant experience, I wholeheartedly want to make a voice and a positive difference to the world.”
Serena said her childhood was spent in the United Kingdom with her family. “Being the youngest child in a family of five siblings, I was always sheltered. But I lost my mother when I was 16. She was an entrepreneur and a very independent woman. Her loss made me strong. I developed anxiety after her death but I worked on it by doing self-healing,” she added.
Serena said losing her mother made her realise even more that she wanted to assist people in need of help. The traumatic experience in her life taught her to do good for the community.
‘Dubai is home’
“I am British born with Indian roots. I am a third generation Indian from the UK, but I have been living in Dubai for 10 years now. This is home. Dubai is one of the world’s most beautiful and vibrant cities. The multicultural aspect of the city fascinates me.”
So for the national attire at the beauty pageant, Serena wore an abaya (Arab women’s traditional dress).
“I wore a gold abaya. My national costume was in the colours of gold and white to represent the Expo 2020 Dubai logo. I would not have thought about a better way to dress for my national costume,” said Serena, whose hobbies include travelling, reading, cooking and yoga.
She added: “Being third generation British Indian I have been fortunate enough to learn both the British and Punjabi Indian cultures and history from my elders. This coupled with my decade in the UAE has allowed me to understand and learn a variety of cultures.”
Working for children of determination
Serena said she has been able to achieve a lot of mental peace by working with children of determination and those with long-term illnesses. “Creating a positive environment for a child with special needs doesn’t require you to be a specialist. Patience, attention and foresight is enough,” said Serena, who speaks fluent English, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.
The future for Mrs Universe
“I wish to create a place where a woman can seek help from anxiety, depression or fear. An environment where they feel comfortable to speak openly and receive help or counselling they may need. I want to set up a holistic clinic and rejuvenation centre offering different kinds of therapy and help. With my background and experience in psychology I hope to help women in any which way possible. Together we can work to make us better. I want to address problems that no one wants but everyone deserves the help.”
Serena will head to Seoul in South Korea in June for the Mrs Universe event.
She will be among 95 delegates to compete for the crown, which is said to celebrate the uniqueness of married women.