Headlines      Issue Released January 5, 2005


Royals: SAMA's Queen Natasha Wahab and Princess Sonam Dudeja (sitting, right and left) with the King Milad Alemi and Jr. Prince Raj Patel (standing, left and right) along with SAMA's Ray and Mala Singh.


Glitz, glamour and glory

As SAMA crowns new Royal Family

Toronto — It was an evening filled with glitz, glamour and glory as the South Asian Modelling Agency (SAMA) crowned its new Royal Family on Boxing Night in front of a sold out audience at the prestigious Pearson Convention Centre in Mississauga.

The winners were a true reflection of the rich multicultural mosaic that exists within Canada.

The Queen is beautiful Guyanese born Natasha Wahab; the King - Milad Alemi - is of Middle Eastern descent from Kabul, Afghanistan; the Princess - Sonam Dudeja - is Multani (Punjabi/Sindhi); the Jr. Prince - Raj Patel - is Gujrati and the Jr. Princess - Monisha Randhawa - is of Italian and Punjabi decent.

Forty contestants vied for the winning titles by displaying amazing talent featuring energetic Bollywood style dances, sultry belly dancing, classical Indian dances, chutney style dances, classical singing, and some amazing skits that held the audience in rapt attention for five hours non-stop.

Other achievement awards presented were Model of the Year to Navneet Lakhan, Mr. Photogenic to Manny Gill, Miss Photogenic to Sarifa Khan and Friendship Awards to Amber Deonarine and Milad Alemi.

Voted by fellow contestants, SAMA Actor and Actress of the Year award went to Indiana Jagait and Mellissa Bhagat of Omni’s Bollywood Boulevard. Best Talent awards went to Jessica Persaud and Sam Sarahang.

The contestants wore stunningly beautiful Indian attire for the opening dance provided by Bollywood’s top Movie Star Designer Dinesh Ramsey. Contestants also modeled attire provided by top fashion Boutiques such as Maharani, Milans, Ruby’s World of Fashion, Pooja Boutique and Lishkara.

Terry Gajraj had the contestants and the Audience dancing to the beats of his latest hits and old favorites.

The President of SAMA models Ray Singh was ecstatic upon the completion of the Pageant. "Undoubtedly tonight we have given the contestants the forum to display and showcase the unbelievable talent that exists within the South Asian community in Canada!"

SAMA Model and Talent Agency was established in 1997 by the dynamic duo of husband and wife team Ray and Mala Singh. SAMA is Canada’s first and largest South Asian Model and Talent Agency with over 2,000 members. South Asian talent from SAMA have been featured in main stream advertisements for Bell Canada, AT&T, Rogers Wireless, Canadian Tire, NASDAQ Stock Exchange, Motorola, Ford Focus, Zellers, YTV, and many more.

Mala Singh, SAMA's Vice President observed that while the models had great reasons to celebrate the victory of their crowning, the tragedy of the recent earthquake in South Asia had cast its shadow over some of them within the agency. This resulted in their donating their Christmas gifts to be raffled to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake.

Chaitra Raju, one of our models from Sri Lanka, has encouraged many of the models to hold a 30-hour fast to raise funds for those who have suffered in the disaster.

"This is undoubtedly a reflection of true human spirit, to lend a helping hand to our brothers and sisters in need. I am truly proud of these kids," said Mala.





A sombre start to the new year

As the world looks back to those dreadful final moments of 2004

As the unspeakable horrors of the disaster in South East Asia sink in, the world greeted the new year in a subdued mood and with heavy heart, remembering the tens of thousands who became innocent victims of the unforgiving and merciless rage of the tsunamis of the previous weekend.

New Year's celebrations across Asia were cancelled or scaled back, and revellers asked to donate to relief efforts.

In Sri Lanka, all New Year’s festivities were stopped and bars closed, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono cancelled official celebrations in Jakarta, called for unity and urged his nation to pray together.

In Thailand, tsunami survivors tearfully embraced at a candlelight vigil in Phuket as 2005 began, but New Year’s parties at bars there soon roared back to life.

In New York, celebrations were more up-beat when the glittering crystal ball descended over Times Square as hundreds of thousands of revellers shouted out the final seconds of 2004.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed the button to start the ball drop at the celebration that marked its 100th anniversary this year.

Confetti drifted across the square and fireworks lit the sky as partygoers cheered, hugged and kissed in the first minutes of 2005.

In contrast, the Champs Elysees in Paris was draped in black and Brussels cancelled its fireworks display as countries around Europe lowered their flags to half-mast.

In Germany’s capital, as many as 600,000 revellers welcomed in the new year at the Brandenburg Gate after the Berlin Philharmonic dedicated its traditional New Year’s Eve concert to the tsunami victims.

In India, the film industry announced it would hold a "Bollywood extravaganza" to help those devastated by the disaster.

The first people to welcome in 2005 were the two-man crew of the International Space Station (ISS). Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov and American astronaut Leroy Chiao celebrated as they hurtled past the International Date Line at 1102 GMT Friday.

"Every 24 hours the ISS flies 16 times around the Earth, which means the crew says farewell to the old year 15 times and meets the new year 16 times," said a spokesman at the flight control centre near Moscow.

Only one celebration was planned, however, at 350 kilometres above Earth, but the crew was assured a hearty meal to mark the occasion: an unmanned cargo ship docked at the station on Christmas Day with urgently needed food.

In Ukraine, the holiday festivities took on a political air as president-elect Viktor Yuschenko joined the celebration in Kiev’s Independence Square, where his supporters staged protests that led to a rerun of the presidential vote last month.

In London, 150,000 people along the Thames observed two minutes of silence for tsunami victims before fireworks were set off.

In Istanbul , the municipal celebrations were cancelled, including a concert by some of Turkey’s most famous pop stars and fireworks at Taksim Square.

In Rome, Pope John Paul II prayed for worldwide peace and at midnight held a Mass for the tsunami victims.




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