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India’s Former Miss Worlds

India’s Former Miss Worlds

NEW DELHI, (IANS) – The anticipation is palpable as the prestigious Miss World pageant draws closer, set to unfold after 27 years in India, with its rich tapestry of history, culture, and diversity, India provides an exquisite backdrop for this global celebration of beauty, intellect, and compassion. While India has a rich legacy of producing remarkable beauty queens from the trailblazing Reita Faria in 1966 to the globally renowned Priyanka Chopra in 2000, these former Miss Worlds from India have not only adorned crowns but have also become icons of empowerment. Here are few unknown fascinating facts about our former Miss Worlds:

The First – Reita Faria Powell

Back in 1966, a young girl from Maharashtra walked the ramp in a swimsuit, taking the world by storm. She entered a beauty contest as a joke, traveling to London with only three pounds and a suitcase full of borrowed clothes and shoes from her friends. But she created history with her sensational repartee on the need for population control in India. This is the story of Reita Faria – the first Asian to be crowned Miss World. Reita was chosen to represent India at the Miss World contest, becoming the second Indian woman to do so, after Fleur Ezekiel in 1959. In Reita’s own words, she had no formal training, no suitable or fancy wardrobe, not even a passport. Reita didn’t know what to wear on the ramp. Her mother bought her some clothes. She borrowed a saree from a peer, and a bathing suit from actor Persis Khambatta.

Again for India – Aishwarya Rai

She was the first runner-up at the Femina Miss India pageant in 1994, losing the crown to Sushmita Sen. However, she later won the Miss World crown that same year. Yet there’s an interesting story behind it as Aishwarya had revealed the uncanny similarities that she saw between the two events, from getting the zipper of her final gown broken as she left for Miss India to the same thing happening again in the final trial for Miss World to raining at both the places on the day of the event. But the only unsimilarity is that India did it, again! 

Only one to win 3 subtitles – Diana Hayden

Hayden is the only Miss World title holder yet who holds three other titles of Miss World- Asia and Oceania, Miss Photogenic and Spectacular Swimwear and that too in the same pageant. Not many know that she dropped out of school at the very young age of 14 and started doing a job as she needed to support her family. She also had to lie about her educational qualifications as well as her age to get the job. She strongly believes that it is important to learn things in life by making efforts on our own.

Phenomenal winning answer – Yukta Mukhi

The beauty queen did not just make the country proud when she was crowned the winner, but when she left a mark of our culture and tradition at the global platform through her award-winning answer. During her question-and-answer round on being asked what is that one important piece of advice she would like to give her parents as a daughter, and why? She took pride to answer that question and said, “I would tell my parents that in the values that you’ve taught me, I’ll still stand by you no matter what and hope that we can set an example for the rest of the world to see what family values and ethics all are about.”

Another answer – Priyanka Chopra

The world was first introduced to Priyanka Chopra when, at the age of 18, she won the Miss World title. It is hard to imagine a teenager bearing the responsibility of representing her country, but the PC was born ready for fame. During the final round of the global beauty pageant, Priyanka was asked “Who is the living woman you admire the most and why?” To which Priyanka responded, “There are a lot of people I admire, but one person I admire is Mother Teresa, who has been so compassionate, considerate, and kind. Her selflessness and dedication to her work have been an inspiration to me.”

Rapturous reaction – Manushi Chhillar

It was a moment of overwhelming joy for Manushi Chhillar when she was crowned Miss World 2017, but the beauty pageant winner wishes her reaction could have been “more lady-like” when she won. She says that she has watched the video several times, yet she wishes that she had given a more lady-like reaction as her given reaction came out as naturally as it could have been.

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  • Parsi Zoroastrian Persis Khambatta also became a Miss World before becoming an actress in StarTrek movie. My wife and I had the good fortune of having dinner with her at an Federation of India Associations event held in San Jose, California, many years ago when we lived in Northern California and I wa a volunteer in Dr. Ramesh Japra’s FIA committee.

    September 26, 2023
  • Persis Khambatta was in the Miss Universe category (1965) and not in the Miss World.

    September 27, 2023

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