Dia Mirza recently reminisced about her life-changing moment in December 2000 when she won the Miss Asia Pacific International pageant with a special post on Instagram. The actress also spoke to ETimes about her journey to the Miss India pageant, and subsequently to the Miss Asia Pacific International pageant.
Dia said she hadn't expected to win Miss India. "That batch had the most amazing girls. Each one of them has gone on to make their mark. We all knew that Lara Dutta would win. She was everybody's favourite. She was more experienced than any of us," she said.
Lara Dutta won the Miss India title, while Dia and Priyanka Chopra were runner-ups. Priyanka later won the Miss World title that year, while Lara won Miss Universe.
The Sanju actress has also said that the Miss Asia Pacific win felt like it transitioned her old life into a new one.
"I was not raised to be competitive. Perhaps that is why I never wondered what would happen if I did not win. As this young girl from Hyderabad, I went to both the Miss India pageant and to Miss Asia Pacific International with the thought that I would value the opportunity and make the most of it," said Dia, who was just 18 years old back then.
"Whenever I felt the stirrings of the desire to win, I in fact felt uncomfortable. But looking back, winning felt like transitioning from my old life to a new one. I was still the same but everything else had changed. And since then my attitude towards every new opportunity has been the same. I approach it with gratitude and humility and I learn, imbibe and make the most of it," she added.
She went on to make her acting debut with "Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein" in 2001. Today, she is also a producer and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador and United Nations Secretary-General Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS).