Reita Faria to Manushi Chhillar, Indians who’ve been crowned Miss World

Hyderabad Desk

New Delhi: After a hiatus of 28 years, India is all geared up to present the grand finale of the prestigious Miss World beauty pageant, which will be co-hosted by Karan Johar and former Miss World Megan Young in Mumbai on Saturday.

Over the decades, six Indian divas who have won the coveted title have gone on to carve out notable paths in different fields such as cinema, modelling and even healthcare, and have also become advocates for women’s empowerment.

From the first Indian Miss World, Reita Faria, to Aishwarya Rai, who won the title 28 years later, to Priyanka Chopra Jonas and most recently, Manushi Chhillar, each winner has transcended the realm of beauty pageants and become an icon of grace, talent and social impact.

IANS delves into the journeys of these remarkable women and explores where they are today.

Reita Faria Powell: The first Indian woman to win the title in 1966, Faria, who is from Mumbai and now lives in Dublin, pursued a career in medicine and went on to become a successful doctor.

In the 1966 pageant, which was held at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, she won the sub-titles ‘Best in Swimsuit’ and ‘Best in Evening Wear’ dressed in a saree.

She later ventured into public health and has been involved in initiatives promoting healthcare and education in India. Faria lives with her husband, endocrinologist David Powell. The couple have two daughters.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Crowned Miss World in 1994 (in the same year when Sushmita Sen became Miss Universe), Aishwarya has established herself as one of the most successful actresses in the Indian film industry, besides being the face of L’Oreal and a regular on the Cannes red carpet.

In 2022, she experienced a rebirth of sorts with Mani Ratnam’s two-part Tamil historical drama, ‘Ponniyin Selvin’. She is a recipient of the Padma Shri and has also been awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French President. Aishwarya is married to actor Abhishek Bachchan, which makes her the daughter-in-law of Amitabh Bachchan and has a daughter named Aaradhya.

Diana Hayden: Winner of Miss World 1997, Diana comes from Hyderabad, studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), and has had a diverse career spanning modelling, acting, and presenting television shows.

She was the wild card entry in the second season of the reality show ‘Bigg Boss’. She is the author of ‘The Beautiful Truth’, an encyclopaedia on grooming and personality development.

Married to an American businessman, Diana had a baby girl in 2016 at the rather late age of 43 from an egg she had frozen eight years before the birth of the child.

Yukta Mookhey: After winning the Miss World title in 1999, Yukta ventured into acting in Bollywood films, but she hasn’t made much of a headway. She has worked in not-so-popular movies such as ‘Pyaasa’, ‘Katputtli’, ‘Memsahab: Lost In A Mirage’, and was most recently in the 2019 film ‘Good Newwz’ with Karishma Kapoor Khan, Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas: Winner of Miss World 2000, Priyanka became one of the highest-paid Bollywood actresses and went on to win two National Film Awards. She is also a recipient of the Padma Shri.

She has starred in a number of Bollywood films, her most notable appearance being in ‘Don 2’ with Shah Rukh Khan, sung with American rapper Pitbull, she became sought-after in Hollywood with her appearance in the FBI drama series, ‘Quantico’, and is now in the news because of her human rights advocacy, counting among her friends people like Malala Yousafzai and feminist writer Gloria Steinem.

She is married to American pop star Nick Jonas and the couple have a baby girl named Malti Marie.

Manushi Chhillar: Crowned Miss World 17 years after Priyanka, Manushi from Haryana was pursuing her MBBS degree (her parents are doctors) when life took a dramatic turn for her. Abandoning her dream to become a doctor, Manushi prepared herself for Bollywood and made her debut alongside Akshay Kumar in ‘Samrat Prithviraj’.

Manushi will be seen next in the upcoming Akshay-Tiger Shroff film ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ and the John Abraham-headlined action thriller ‘Tehran’.

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