With Manushi Chhillar winning the Miss World 2017 title, India ties with Venezuela as the country with maximum number of wins (six) at the global beauty pageant stage. Ever since its conception in the year 1951, contestants from across the globe have participated in the competition but India has definitely left an indelible mark.
It was Reita Faria, back in the year 1966, who was the first Indian ever to be crowned with the Miss World title. And then almost 30 years later, in 1994 Aishwarya Rai was declared as the winner and since then the Miss World crown has been coming to India — off and on — until 2000 with Priyanka Chopra. Now after 17 years, Chhillar is the sixth Indian to be be named Miss World.
Here’s a look at all the past Miss World winners from India:
Reita Faria (1966):
Faria became the first Asian ever to win the title. Born to Goan parents, Faria took to career in medicine post her Miss World win. She is now a practicing doctor and settled in Dublin, Ireland after marrying David Powell, an endocrinologist, in 1971. She has made appearances in Miss World competitions as a judge.
Aishwarya Rai (1994):
In 1994, Rai along with then Miss Universe Sushmita Sen brought double laurels to the country. Rai went on to become a superstar in Bollywood with awards, accolades, wealth, fortune bestowed upon her. Some of her most well-known films include — Taal, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Dhoom 2, Jodha Akbar. She is also credited for representing India on a global platform with her international projects, endorsements and Cannes Film Festival appearances. She married Abhishek Bachchan in the year 2007 and they have a daughter together. She was last seen in Karan Johar’s film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016) opposite Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma. In 2014, she was felicitated by the Miss World Organisation as the ‘most successful’ Miss World ever.
Diana Hayden (1997):
Hayden, born to Anglo-Indian parents in Hyderabad won the Femina Miss India title in 1997 which opened doors to the Miss World title for her. A drama student in the past, Hayden has been actively involved with various social causes and NGO since her beauty queen dayss. Her Bollywood career was limited to a single film titled Ab Bas! in 2004; she was later seen in the reality TV show Bigg Boss season 2.
Yukta Mookhey (1999):
Mookhey became the fourth Indian to win the Miss World title. Much like Hayden, her stint in film industry is forgettable. Having done films like Pyaasa, Memsahab and Love in Japan, Mookhey took a break and later shifted into politics. In 2004, she enrolled herself as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She’d been in the news most recently for domestic violence allegations against her husband.
Priyanka Chopra (2000):
After Rai, if there’s one name who has successfully made a transition from being Miss World to Bollywood, it is undoubtedly Priyanka Chopra. She debuted with Akshay Kumar and Lara Dutta in Andaaz (2003) and hasn’t looked back since. Her choice of films, characters portrayed on screen, and her successful Hollywood crossover with Quantico, Baywatch have made her a force to reckon with. Today, she is among India’s most well-known and successful actors. She was ranked among the 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes magazine along with the likes of Angela Merkel, JK Rowling.
Apart from Miss World, India has also won titles like Miss Universe twice (Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000), Miss Asia Pacific thrice (Zeenat Aman in 1970, Tara Anne Fonseca in 1973 and Diya Mirza in 2000) and Miss Earth (Nicole Faria in 2010).