Dia Mirza looked back on participating in the Miss India pageant 20 years ago in a recent interview. She recalled how she was spotted by a model coordinator when she was only 16, and went on to participate in the pageant two years later. She also shared that everyone at the time knew Lara Dutta would win the pageant.
In an interview with Times of India, Dia said that she began taking modelling assignments and travelling from Hyderabad to Bengaluru at the age of 16, after she was first spotted. She also revealed that she hesitated when she was approached to participate in the Miss India pageant.
"I have watched such contests happening but had never participated before. There were girls who wanted to be Miss India but I wasn't one of them," she said and continued, "I went home and told my mum that I want to participate and she was like, 'Are you crazy'? My father convinced her to let me participate. According to him, it was an opportunity for me to learn something new."
Admitting that she never expected to win, she said, "We all knew that Lara Dutta would win. She was everybody's favourite. She was more experienced than any of us." Lara became Miss India 2000 and went on to win the Miss Universe title, whereas Priyanka won Miss World and Dia was named Miss Asia Pacific in the same year.
The actress also took to her Instagram handle to reflect on winning the Miss Asia Pacific title. She shared that her father had written Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, which she would read every night before she slept.
"Cannot believe it's been 20 years roughly about this time in the evening that i won the title of Miss Asia Pacific for India! So grateful to every single person that has contributed to my growth," (sic) Dia wrote in her caption.