India’s Manushi Chillar has won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.
India’s Manushi Chhillar (centre) reacts at the beauty pageant where she is crowned Miss World in Sanya in southern China’s Hainan province on Saturday. (PTI)
Manushi Chhillar, a medical student, was crowned Miss World at a glitzy event in a Chinese resort on Saturday, making India country the joint-most successful in the beauty pageant’s history.
Chhillar is the sixth Indian winner of the long-running contest, following in the footsteps of Bollywood actresses Priyanka Chopra and Aishwarya Rai. Aishwarya had bagged the title in 1994, followed by Diana Haydon in 1997, Yukta Mookhey in 1999 and Priyanka in 2000, the last for India.
Chillar’s win brings India level with Venezuela as the countries with most victories in the history of the pageant, now in its 67th edition.
Chhillar, 20, is a trained Indian classical dancer who also enjoys painting and hopes to open a chain of non-profit hospitals in rural areas, according to the Miss World website.
Manushi Chhillar celebrates after winning the Miss World 2017 pageant in Sanya. (IANS)
“Thank you, everyone, for your constant love, support,” and prayers she wrote on Twitter. “This one’s for India.”
Saturday marked the Miss World pageant’s return to Sanya, on southern China’s Hainan Island, for a seventh time, where the event was last held in 2015.
Chhillar’s victory rapidly became a top trending topic on the social media platform in India after the announcement, with Manohar Lal Khattar — chief minister of her home state Haryana — among the first to offer congratulations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated her for the Miss World 2017 crown.
Congratulations @ManushiChhillar! India is proud of your accomplishment.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 18, 2017
Chhillar was handed the crown by last year’s winner, Stephanie del Valle of Puerto Rico, at the ceremony in the Chinese coastal city of Sanya on Saturday night.
Stephanie Hill of England and Andrea Meza of Mexico finished as runners-up.
In the top five round, Chhillar was asked which profession according to her deserved the highest salary.
“I think a mother deserves the highest respect and when you talk about salary it’s not always about cash but I feel it’s the love and respect that you give to someone. My mother has always been the biggest inspiration in my life.
“All mothers sacrifice so much for their kids. So, I think it is the job of a mother that deserves the highest salary,” Chhillar said to a wide applause.
In a statement, Chhillar said: “The feeling is still sinking in and very excited to make India proud too. I’m also looking forward to the year ahead.
“My parents have always been my pillar of support and having them here tonight by my side has only brought me more strength and joy. My final answer also came to me by having them here with me in front of me”.
According to Chhillar’s profile on the Miss World website, her father, Dr. Mitra Basu Chhillar, is a scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organisation, while her mother, Dr. Neelam Chhillar, is an associate professor and department head of neurochemistry at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences.
Her grandfather, Sundar Singh Sherawat, told ANI: “She has not just made our family and the state proud but the country too.We all are super excited over her win. I wish her all success and love for her future endeavours. We trusted her when she wanted to participate and prove her dream. She was very confident on her winning when she was leaving from home.”
Chillar studied at St. Thomas’ School in New Delhi, and is pursuing a medicine degree at the Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonipat.
She aims to be a cardiac surgeon and wants to open a chain of non-profitable hospitals based in rural areas.
A trained Indian classical dancer, Chhillar has a passion for outdoor sports and actively participates in paragliding, bungee jumping, snorkelling and scuba diving besides sketching and painting.