Twenty-three-year-old Aishwarya Sheoran has cracked the prestigious Civil Services examination 2019 in her first attempt. While she got rank 93, what sets her apart from the rest of the UPSC candidates is her brief stint in the modelling world. At 18, she was a Femina Miss India 2016 finalist and a student of Delhi University’s Sri Ram College of Commerce. Ever since the result is out, not just aspirants but many IAS officers are lauding her for breaking the ‘stereotype against beautiful women’.
“I always wanted to be a civil servant. I did modelling as a hobby. At that age, I wanted to explore so many things. I was the head girl in my school and, in college too, I was an active member of the debate society and participated in the social service, et al. In the beauty contest, I was noticed by prominent designers like Manish Malhotra who encouraged me to participate in fashion shows. Once I returned to Delhi, I was flooded with offers. The thrill of walking on the ramp kept me going for over a year-and-half. However, as I am a nerd, I wanted to return to my first love — academics,” remarked Sheoran.
Hailing from Rajasthan, Sheoran was always concerned about women’s education and safety. Since her mother is from Haryana, questions on Khap panchayat, women issues were asked during the personality round. “The panel basically tests your perspective, knowledge and the kind of person you are. At that particular day, Donald Trump had arrived in India. So they asked about US-India relations and trade deal, on national infrastructure pipeline etc. They asked what will be my focus while designing a policy,” she informed.
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Daughter of a colonel, Sheoran has travelled across northern India and believes that women empowerment is the need of the hour. She was a bright student and scored 97.5 in her CBSE class 12 exam. She had also cracked the Common Admission Test (CAT) in 2017 and got a seat in IIM-Indore. However, she did not join the institute as studying management was not part of her plans.
If she had not cracked CSE in her maiden attempt, she would have appeared for it this year. Her mantra is to “stay focused and don’t give up easily”.
To prepare for her exam, she had switched off her social media accounts. This, however, has not stopped her from being the talk of Twitter since the announcement of the result. “I realised that I cannot focus until and unless I keep my phone away.”
Unlike many aspirants, Sheoran did not join any coaching institute. She pursued the science stream with economics in class 12 and has always trusted self-studies. “I religiously followed online study material from two-three websites and participated in their mock series. The thumb rule was one topic for one book. While many think that the syllabus is wide, I believe CSE is not tough if you narrow down your books. Like for polity, it was Laxmikant that I followed on. Besides for current affairs, I relied on three ed-tech websites and newspapers,” she said.
Sheoran has picked her home cadre and is hoping to work for women safety and education.