As Sonia swayed to a popular Bollywood song, striking model-like poses, a small crowd of activists and journalists cheered her on.
She was the first of about 20 contestants at auditions held in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) for the "Super Queen" - India's first transgender beauty contest. Auditions to become India's first "Super Queen" are going to be held in cities across India over the next few weeks. The semi-finals will be held in Mumbai and the finals will be hosted in Delhi on 21 February.
Reena is a graduate and HIV campaigner
The participants had to parade on a ramp, introduce themselves and face a question-and-answer round.
The organisers say that holding a beauty contest will not only help transgender people feel more confident about their sexuality but that it will also attract attention to serious issues like HIV/Aids and help community members get more mainstream jobs."We will train them [the winners of the contest] to be leaders in the community. This contest is a historical moment. The community has had to stay in the closet for 262 years and this contest will provide them a platform," Ms Narayan said. She said she wanted "hijras" (or eunuchs) to be in regular jobs. "For a community member, to be loved with dignity is the biggest thing. Hijras enjoy womanhood to the extreme."
Ashwini, an activist and a trained performer of lawni - the traditional folk dance of western Maharashtra state - says she will continue performing once the beauty contest is over. "I can dance and sing almost every lawni song. I have even performed with important lawni dancers in this state. I do not have the height to win a beauty contest but I want to see how this is conducted. I am happy with the experience." From the 20-odd contestants who participated in the auditions in Mumbai, the organisers finally shortlisted three.
The nation's ultimate Super Queen winner will get approximately $21,000 and will be trained to help the community in human rights and HIV prevention.
She may even get a regular job - something most members of the community need and covet.