I went to nine different schools growing up, as my father was travelling back and forth from Australia to India for work. It was so hard to be constantly packing up and leaving, and I had many days when I would cry. Unfortunately, I experienced bullying in both countries. In Australia, it was because I had a thick Indian accent, and in India, because I sounded Australian! At one point, my confidence dropped so much that I couldn't even make eye contact with people.
But my mother and sister both really helped me. They were both a constant source of positivity, teaching me to always find the silver lining of any situation and to be grateful for what I had. Over time, I really grew into my skin.
In my senior school years, my focus shifted to working really hard and getting the best grades I could to get into good universities. 50% of that was because I was self-driven and wanted those things for myself. But I think 50% also came from the fact that my parents had moved to Australia so they could give me a better life. After school, I was accepted into the Australian National University to do a Bachelor of Commerce.
I moved to Canberra by myself, and I just knew that the best way to make friends was by stepping out of my comfort zone. As a result, there wasn’t one semester where I wasn’t involved, through fundraising, volunteering or just doing something that has allowed me to connect with my community better. I even learned sign language.
Being a trained Indian classical dancer, I performed at lots of multicultural events, and even did fundraising through Bollywood workshops. And during the bushfires, I did bake sales and adopted a koala!
Last year, I joined the ACT Youth Council as a board member. The council works with the Youth Minister to advise on issues that affect youth, such as mental health and homelessness. We also organise the annual Youth Council Forum, where we work to gather young people’s opinions in order to submit them to the minister. I also started creating awareness campaigns regarding violence against women, and to help vulnerable Australians receive medical supplies during COVID.
As a result, I recently won the highly commended 2021 ACT Young Citizen of the Year award in Community Service. I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement of my community.
Now I’m working full time in a grad program at Parliament House in the learning and development space. I love being able to make a difference and represent other Australians through my work.
I’ve also just entered the Miss World Australia pageant! The fact that I’ve done this has intrigued a lot of people. But there are many misconceptions associated with pageants, and I’ve loved debunking each one of them! For example, the most important component of Miss World is about how you're using your voice to fundraise for important causes. It’s not about where you come from, it’s about how you touch the people who you meet. I love their motto, which is ‘beauty with a purpose’. And there's never been a contestant from Canberra so far. So I thought, let's represent the Bush Capital!
My parents are proud of me, but at the same time, they say, ‘Of course we knew this was going to happen, you're our daughter! And we made so many sacrifices coming here, this is the least we expect from you! When are you going to be Prime Minister?!’
Their high expectations have really motivated me over the years. I want to make them proud and to give back. I don’t know about Prime Minister. But I’m working hard towards Miss World Australia; something equally wonderful!
Watch Krishna speaking about her parents and see a photo of her teaching Bollywood dancing on Patreon: www.patreon.com/newhumansofaustralia ???? Thank you to my patrons for making this story possible.
Photographer: Eva Schroeder www.instagram.com/eva.schroeder.photographer