The Miss World beauty pageant is one of the most keenly awaited and widely watched even the world over. Beautiful young women from all over the world participate in this event, representing their countries and vying for the crown. The perfect Miss World is not only beautiful but is an empowered woman who is genial, talented, and socially responsible. She spends an entire year with the Miss World Foundation spreading awareness about many social causes. This year for the sixth time this prestigious title was worn by an Indian Ms. Manushi Chhillar.
A good 17 years after Priyanka Chopra bagged the crown for India, 20 year old medicine student Ms. Manushi Chhillar from Haryana won the Miss World title, defeating 108 contestants from across the globe. The pageant was held in Sanya City Arena in China. In the pageant she was awarded two other awards – winner of the Head to Head Challenge and the Beauty with a Purpose title.
While we congratulate Manushi Chhillar on her achievement, let us also take a look at all the beautiful women who had previously bagged the crown.
Reita Faria (Miss World 1966)
It has been 51 years since that magical night when Reita Faria, the Indian contestant at the Miss World pageant beat all odds and became the first beauty from India to win the crown. Faria was not among the favourites but she managed to outdo 65 other contestants from across the world to bring home the crown – the first Asian woman to become Miss World. Unlike many others who succeeded her to win the crown, Faria did not opt for a career in modeling or acting but chose to go on and earn a degree in medicine, later practicing as a doctor. Faria has served as a judge at many of the subsequent beauty pageants.
Aishwarya Rai (Miss World 1994)
About 28 years after Reita Faria brought home the title, Aishwarya Rai, a stunningly beautiful 21 year old architecture student, Aishwarya Rai became India’s next Miss World in 1994. This was the same year when Sushmita Sen went on to become Miss Universe. Following year of her victory Rai became one of the most successful models and actors in Bollywood. She is currently one of the Goodwill Ambassadors for the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS). Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was the first Indian actress to join the jury panel at the Cannes Film Festival.
Diana Hayden (Miss World 1997)
After Fari and Rai it was the turn of the beautiful Diana Hayden to win the Miss World crown in the year 1997. Following her year as Miss World Hayden attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the UK and made a successful career as a stage artist. She also featured in a few Bollywood films but did not become resounding hit in Hindi films. In 2008 she featured in the popular Indian TV reality show Bigg Boss and later in 2012 published her book on grooming, beauty contests, and personality development called A Beautiful Guide.
Yukta Mookhey (Miss World 1999)
After Hayden, came the turn of Yukta Mookhey who won the Miss World title in 1999 held in London. By the end of her tenure as Miss World, Yukta Mookhey got ready for her career in Indian cinema. She started starring in a number of Tamil films and later went on to work in Hindi films as well. Her film career, however, was short lived as the films did not do well at the box office. Yukta Mookhey champions many charitable causes and lends her voice to organ donation. She joined the BJP a few years ago.
Priyanka Chopra (Miss World 2000)
The 2000 Miss World pageant made India very proud for it was the first time when the outgoing Miss World Yukta Mookhey passed on her crown to another beautiful India – Priyanka Chopra. Winning the crown was only the start for Chopra who is now one of the best known actresses of Bollywood with many super hit films under her belt. She went on to feature in a number of Hollywood films as well as playing the lead in the ABC thriller series Quantico. Not only is Chopra he United Ntions Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Rights, she has also been awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the country. She is also one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2017 listed by the Forbes Magazine.