There was something special about Miss Universe 2000 held in Nicosia, Cyprus. The country takes pride in one of its most popular tourist attractions- Petra tou Romiou – the birthplace of Aphrodite, Goddess of Beauty. And it could not have been a more appropriate host for the turn-of-the-millennium edition of the pageant. With 79 modern Aphrodites competing for the crown, it was certainly a memorable event that saw the victorious Lara Dutta gifting India with its second Miss Universe title. And boy, did she do it with style, gift of gab and lots of intelligence (smarts if you will).
2000 was extra significant for India because it was the year when the country won 3-of-3 international titles of Femina Miss India courtesy of Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra and Diya Mirza (left photo). It was one of those national pageant editions when the placements were perfect.
Before becoming Miss Universe 2000, Lara was crowned Miss Intercontinental 1997 first. And this makes her just one of a small handful who won two international beauty competitions. After her reign, she has been a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador. As for her Bollywood career, it wasn’t the easiest climb at first. But last 2005, she starred in “No Entry” – the biggest box-office hit then. From there, everything went on an upswing.Lara married Indian tennis player Mahesh Bhupati last 2011 and they have one daughter named Saira. She continued her film career after, got active with her Youtube channel – Heal with Lara – that also utilized her love for Yoga and Meditation. Three years ago, she started mentoring for the Miss Diva contest. And just last year, she launched her line of beauty care products called Arias.
Personally, Lara is one beauty queen who could have been just as wonderful as Miss World. Instead, she got the Universe and made full use of all the opportunities to become a powerful spokesperson, a successful Bollywood actress and an inspiring influencer in her home country.