Elected by the press, Indrani Rahman was India's first representative at the Miss Universe pageant in 1952, held in Long Beach, California. After that, India was not represented until FEMINA sent representatives, starting in 1964. Miss India has only been absent from the pageant since then in 1988.
From film stars and models, to lawyers and entrepreneurs, to stewardesses and housewives - The Femina Miss India-Universe winners have gone on to do anything imaginable. From a small event of 100 entries, where contestants were only required to show up on the night of the pageant, where the swimsuit round consisted of the girls lifting up their sarees to show their legs, where the pageant was held in a small ballroom, to.... A grand event of 10,000 or more entries, where contestants have to attend elimination rounds, and more elimination rounds, and eventually spend a few months of their life just for this event, where the grooming academy takes care of each and every aspect of the contestants' personal growth, where contestants are expected to be in tip-top shape and parade in an actual swimsuit onstage, where the pageant is broadcast nationwide and worldwide, with live audiences of thousands upon thousands, and fame, fortune and glamour.
That is how Miss India has changed in it's 38-year existence. Credits Are Given to the Following Sources: The India Tribune (For the first titleholders' list I have on-hand), Pride of India and various news sources(for information regarding titleholders), Rohan Talwar and Anu Khare (for help with recent results of Miss India), and Donald West (for confirming historical aspects of the pageant!) - this information could not be compiled without your help!
1947: Pramila - Born Esther Victoria Abraham, she is now over 80 years old, a great-grandmother, and has led a long career as a stunt film star. Her daughter, Naqi Jahan, bcame a beauty queen in 1967. Pramila was elected through a special press vote.
1952: Indrani Rehman - Married with a child when she won, she was the child of a Muslim and Hindu. She represented India at the first Miss Universe Pageant in Long Beach, California. She went on to become a world-famous classical Indian dancer, and sadly passed away in America in 1999.
FEMINA MISS INDIA 1964: Meher Mistry - After participating in the Miss Universe and Miss United Nations pageants, she returned home to become a model and public relations officer. Today, she is a fashion journalist and coordinator. 1965: Persis Khambatta - After pulling out of Miss Universe at the last minute, she ended up on Hollywood's doorstep. Among her films are "Star Trek - The Motion Picture" and "The Wilby Conspiracy." From runaway shows to charity dinners, screen tests to award presenting, Persis enjoyed a dazzling career. She wrote "The Pride of India," a coffee table book about the former Miss India's, and died peacefully in 1998.
1966: Yasmin Daji - Secretly entered pageants behind her medical studies. She went on to complete her MBBS and become a doctor. Now in America, she started a readymade silk garment business, organized fashion shows, worked as International Marketing Coordinator at a computer manufacturing company, and was also the Marketing Assistant in a large bank. Currently, she spends time with her family, and is a Marketing Agent for AIIR.COM
1967: Nayyara Mirza (Nalini Patel) - Despite offers in the business and entertainment worlds, the first Muslim to enter the contest is now happily married.
1968: Anjum Mumtaz Baig - A poetic Hyderabadi girl, did a little modelling and is now a homemaker in the U.S.
1969: Kavita Bhambani - A reputed interior designer.
1970: Veena Sajnani - After modelling and starting a boutique, she moved to Bangalore and now works as Marketing Manager for a wine company. 1971: Raj Gill - After opening her own New Delhi fashion house, she now directs a multinational company. Her daughter placed in the final ten of the 1994 Miss India Pageant.
1972: Roopa Satyan - A graduate of Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, Roopa was a semi-finalist in Miss Universe. She spent time working for British Airways, then choreographed fashino shows, and then opened her own boutique.
1973: Farzana Habib - Completed her MA in English Literature and spent some time teaching. She has studied painting, vocal singing and the sitar throughout her life, with dreams of being a great sculptress. Her life led her to Greenwich, Conneticut, where she has a family and store of antiques and home accessories.
1974: Shailini Dholakia - Being turned out of her home with her sister at a young age, she often suffered in her pursuit to save herself by modelling. Despite semi-finalist status at Miss Universe, she returned to the job of a hotel receptionist to mke ends meet, a job which she lost due to sickness. Marrying and moving to Hong Kong, she spent time with stained glasswork and singing in a musical group. Eventually, she started a home-made essential oil and aromatherapy company, Floressence. She now lives in California, is the Director of four companies of the Comfort Star group and is still active in the spiritual healing practice.
1975: Meenakshi Kurpad - Current Whereabouts Unknown
1976: Naina Balsavar - Politician who ran for parliament.
1977: Nalini Wishanathan - She created history when she refused to participate in the Miss Universe pageant as par her father's wishes. The following year, a clause in the contract was introduced which rendered the act the same as forfeiting the title and prizes. Despite an early arranged marriage which was destroyed, she worked as a Marketing Executive for Apple Computers and a Chemical Company. She also taught in a nursery school, and now teaches aerobics. 1978: Alamjeet Chauhan - Now a Supreme Court Lawyer.
1979: Swaroop Sampat - A famous television actress herself, she went on to marry the famous character actor Paresh Rawal. Although they are settled, they are currently starring in plays abroad, with Swaroop as director.
1980: Sangeeta Biljani - Went on a length stint as a film actress and personality. Today, her career in the glamour world is low-profile.
1981: Rachita Kumar (Nandini Thackersey) - Married to an industrialist, she has simply left her life to that of a simple homemaker, which leaves her happiest.
1982: Pamela Bordes - Scandal involving her position as researcher in the British House of Commons made her target for tabloids, which included a serious near-death injury as a result. That aside, Pamela's real joy is her job as a professional photographer. She has travelled the world, from wildlife in Bali to civil war in Africa, and has certainly left her mark in the world of photography.
1983: Rekha Hande - A girl with a long list of beauty titles to her name, Rekha was a government Merit Scholar studying English Literature, a popular model, stage actress and Bharata Natyam performer, not to mention Manager of a travel house. Today, she is settled in the U.S. and is very active in philanthropical organizations.
1984: Juhi Chawla - The famous Hindi film actress, has a long and impressive career, is probably one of the best-known Indian delegates.
1985: Sonu Walia - Had a stint in the modelling and film world, and today spends more time in spirituality courses.
1986: Mehr Jesia - Top-notch model and fashion industry diva, married to model Arjun Rampal.
1987: Priyadarshini Pradhan - Despite a Master's Degree in Management, Priyadarshini has opted for the modelling route. She won the Miss World/University crown after her reign.
1988: Dolly Minhas - There was no Indian representative to Miss Universe 1988. Dolly participated the following year. Although she was used by an agent, she eventually broke into the world of Kannada films and Hindi tv serials.
1989 - 1990: Suzanne Sabloak - After 1974, Suzanne became India's first semi-finalist after a long drought. She was the daughter of a British father and Anglo-Indian mother, and started modelling and Miss India on holiday from Australia, by luck. Quite disappointed by her lack of recognition in India, she moved to Singapore and married. Her modelling career in India faded away after a while.
Christobel Howie, Femina Miss India Universe 1991 1991: Christobel Howie - Christobel, the unlucky one, was not successful in Miss Universe, but she managed to open up her own boutique and is now married and living in Chennai. She has stayed away from the limelight completely.
Madhu Sapre, Femina Miss India Universe 1992 1992: Madhu Sapre - A decorated athlete in swimming and track and field, Madhu's physical training and discipline helped her to become known as "India's Supermodel" after her reign. Her career included a number of controversies, but Madhu doesn't fret it, she just enjoys life. Madhu is now a legend and a leader for her success in setting off a revolution in the modelling, fashion design and beauty pageant industries.
Trivia: Did you know that Madhu was elected only 12 days before heading to the Miss Universe Pageant?
Namarata Shirodkar, Femina Miss India Universe 1993 1993: Namrata Shirodkar - A childhood friend of Madhu Sapre, she began modelling early, and Miss India was just a stepping stone to fame. After starting a grooming school and enjoying success in modelling, Namrata entered films in 1998 to a very dismal response. In 1999 her roles in "Vaastav" and "Kachche Dhaage" gave her some commercial success and helped her to put down critics. Her role in 2000's "Pukar" with high-profile co-stars Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit pushed to her an even better position.
Miss India - World: Karminder Kaur
Miss India - Asia Pacific: Pooja Batra (Sent to Miss International)
Sushmita Sen, Femina Miss India Universe 1994 1994: Sushmita Sen [Miss Universe] - This Delhi-ite began modelling at 15 to earn pocket money. Just another teen living the high life, she was spotted and entered into the pageant. Afterward, her film career debuted with "Dastak," where she plays herself. Although she started out as a flop, 1999 was an amazing year for her, when critics finally validated her acting skills and the masses validated her appeal with the biggest success of the year, "Biwi No. 1," and an also successful "Sirf Tum."
Miss World: Aishwarya Rai
Miss India - Asia Pacific: Francesca Hart (Sent to Miss International)
1. Shweta Menon (Sent to Miss Asia Pacific)
2. Jasmeet Kaur
1. J. Anita Anand
2. Farhana Patel
3. Mehroo Mistry
4. Simran Marwah
Manveen Dhanda, Kimi Verma, Nishi Mediratt, Janice Heradia, Shalini Aurora, Komal Rampal and Barkha Madan
Manpreet Brar, Femina Miss India Universe 1995 1995: Manpreet Brar - With a B.A. in Human Resources and a Masters' Degree in Anthropology, she really did not make much use of her studies. She held an advice column, spent time as a VJ, live events compere and tv anchor. She may want to go into television production.
Miss India - World: Preeti Mankotia
Miss India - Asia Pacific: Ruchita Malhotra
1. Keerthana Jolly
2. Jyoti Semi-Finalists:
1. Samira Nanda
2. Reshma Bombaywala
3. Isha Koppikar
4. Sunita Punjabi
5. Gauri Parulekar
Priya Gill (did not place, sent to Miss International)
Sandhya Chib, Femina Miss India Universe 1996 1996: Sandhya Chib - From Bangalore girl-next-door to model, Sandhya did not take much time to enjoy the fruits of Miss India. She won the NRI Miss India Worldwide pageant in 1996 after going unsuccessful in the Miss Universe pageant. She was engaged to her fiancee Anu shortly afterward, and they have been married. She moved to New York City and said she wanted to go back to college.
Miss India - World: Rani Jeyaraj
Miss India - Asia Pacific: Mini Menon
1. Shonali Rosario
1. Fleur Xavier (Sent to Miss International)
Nafisa Joseph, Femina Miss India Universe 1997 1997: Nafisa Joseph - Studying human resources and law at St. Joseph's University in Bangalore, she went from a nobody to a Miss India winner, using her ethnic mix and wit. After the crowd, she became a hard-core MTV VJ for five years, while still pursuing some modeling and animal rights activism. She was featured in CATS, a bad action serial, and after a while she refused to do any other shows, let alone movies. Right now, she talks about the possibility of going into politics.
Miss World: Diana Hayden
Miss India Asia Pacific: Divya Chauhan
1. Diya Abraham (Sent to Miss International)
2. Sapna Kumar
2. Purnima Patwardhan
3. Radhika Bhushan
Lymaraina D'Souza, Femina Miss India Universe 1998 1998: Lymaraina D'Souza - Originally, she was studying Commerce at Sydenham college in Mumbai, but this Goan girl did not enjoy the restriction of Indian society, nor the fast-paced modelling and beauty queen scene. She went back to Hawaii (The host of Miss Universe) to study Psychology at Hawaii-Pacific University, and remains there to this day.
Miss India-World: Annie Thomas of Delhi
Miss India-Asia Pacific: Vithika Agarwal of Bangalore
1. Dipannita Sharma
2. Karishma Rao
2. Diandra Sorres
3. Shveta Jaishankar (Sent to Miss International)
4. Uma Chiplunker
Gul Panag, Femina Miss India Universe 1999 1999: Gul Kirit Panag of Chandigarh - This Punjabi lady was studying economics at university, when she charmed Miss India judges with her wit and dimples. Presenting herself as an adventurous girl, she spent some time working as a model and showing up in ads and music videos, but that was not enough. She has been accepted into the Kellogg Management School at Northwestern University in the U.S., one of the best business schools in the country.
Miss World 1999, Yukta Mookhey of Mulund
Miss India-Asia Pacific: Shivangi Parikh of Mumbai
1. Gayatri Joshi, Mumbai (Sent to Miss International 2000)
2. Sri Krupa Murali, Bangalore (Sent to Miss International 1999)
1. Pallavi Vishvakarma
2. Tina Chaudhury
3. Renu Desai
4. Poonam Nath
The Twenty-First Century
Lara Dutta, Femina Miss India Universe 2000 Miss Universe 2000: Lara Dutta, Bangalore - A mix between Punjabi and Scottish/German roots, this cosmpolitan girl was first discovered by Gladrags' annual modelling competition, which she won, followed by the Miss Intercontinental pageant in Germany. Slowly she built up a successful modeling career, and having shifted base to Mumbai, she entered the Miss India pageant and won; Sweeping through Miss Universe was made to look like a cakewalk by this woman. She wants to enter Hollywood, but will first be featured in a Tamil film.
Miss World 2000: Priyanka Chopra, Bareilly, U.P.
Miss Asia-Pacific 2000: Diya Mirza, Hyderabad
1. Gayatri Jayaraman, Chennai
2. Lakshmi Rana, Mumbai
1. Savy Savita Myne
2. Waluscha Sousa, Goa
3. Madhavy Raj
4. Smriti Srivastava
Sandhya Shetty, Ishani Sharma, Tulip Joshi, Yogini Nath, Deepika Motwani, and Ishita Arun Bajpai
Celina Jaitley, Femina Miss India Universe 2001 2001: Celina Jaitley, Kalkota - An Afghan-Punjabi Communications graduate with ambitions to join the air force; She worked with a telecom company, but then pursued modelling and pageants. The Lakme Sananda Tilottama competition, the most prestigious in Bengal, was her first triumph in beauty. After Miss India, she is preparing to film her first movie after a series of music videos. These include Kalyug, a Mahesh Bhatt venture; Kashish with Ajay Jadeja, Jaanesheen with Fardeen Khan and Shaadi.com. She has not just got down the one path: Celina's Kalkota Spice, a restaurant chain, opened it's first outlet in Kalkota already, and she plans to expand that.
Miss India - World 2001: Sara Corner, Bangalore
Miss India - Asia Pacific 2001: Maheshwari Thyagarajan, Chennai
1. Namita Vankawala, Surat
2. Kanwal Toor, Delhi (Sent to Miss International)
1. Suvarchala Narayanan
2. Deepti Gujral of Mumbai
3. Rohini Tiwari of Delhi
4. Tapur Chatterjee of Mumbai
Shamita Singha of Mumbai, Trisha Krishnan of Chennai, Rosy Heinemen of Bangalore, Deepika Motwani of Ahmedabad, Tina Chhatwal of Delhi and Flavia Fonseca.
Neha Dhupia, Femina Miss India Universe 2002 2002: Neha Dhupia, Delhi - a Punjabi Sikh girl with an appetite for success, she graduated in history, starred in a Indo-Japanese film and built up a modelling career until her victory. Currently, she hosts a number of television shows, including countdown for MTV India.
Miss India - World 2002: Shruti Sharma, Mumbai
Miss India - Earth 2002: Reshmi Ghosh, Kalkota
First Runner-Up (Asia-Pacific): Gauhar Khan, Pune
Second Runner-Up (International): Tina Chhatwal, Delhi
1. Zainab Syed of Hyderabad
2. Ankita Agarwal of Delhi
3. Lakshmi Pandit of Mysore
4. Krishna Somani of Faridabad