An ode to Eve’s Weekly Miss India, the first beauty pageant of India
Indian beauties are often referred to as the most successful beauty queens in the world. They taste success pretty soon after winning the crown and go on to become international superstars, Bollywood actresses, supermodels, entrepreneurs or fashion icons. No wonder Indian pageant industry is one of the most well-established and successful pageant fraternities in the world. In this exclusive post we will be talking about the birth of Indian pageantry.
The first Miss India ever to be crowned was Esther Victoria Abraham popularly known by the name “Pramila”. Unlike other Miss India titleholders Pramila was already a well-known actress and model in India. She was crowned Miss India in 1947 much before than the birth of the biggest international beauty contest, Miss World. That year Miss India pageant was organized by local press in India.
The first and proper Indian beauty pageant was organized by the popular Indian magazine house, the Eve’s Weekly Magazine. The contest was named as Eve’s Weekly Miss India. The first edition of the first Indian beauty pageant was held in the year 1959, eight years after the birth of Miss World. The first ever woman to win the pageant was Fleur Ezekiel. She was sent by the Eve’s Weekly organization to participate in Miss World 1959 in UK. Fleur became the first ever Indian beauty queen to represent India at any international beauty pageant. It is said that Fleur was the one who brought India in the spotlight as being the first from the country to compete at the biggest international beauty contest in the world. Fleur later became a successful model in India, The following year, Eve’s Weekly organization acquired the franchise rights to send India’s representatives to Miss International pageant.
In 1960, the winner of Eve’s Weekly Miss India, Iona Pinto represented India at both Miss World 1960 and Miss International 1960 beauty pageants and created history by bagging the first runner up position at Miss International 1960. She is also the first beauty queen of Indian origin to get a placement at any international pageant. The following year in 1961 a new custom began where the winner of Eve’s Weekly Miss India went on to represent India at Miss World, the first runner up was send to Miss International and the second runner up used to represent India at other international pageants.
The organization also organized a pageant for teenage girls who represented India at Miss Young International. One of the most successful Eve’s Weekly Miss Young India winners is Bollywood superstar and model, Poonam Dhillion.
The year 1966 caused a huge stir in Indian as well as Asian pageantry as it was the very first time that the most prestigious crown of all came to India. It was won by none other than Dr. Reita Faria, the winner of Eve’s Weekly Miss India 1966. Reita was a medical student and a part time model in India. She became the first and only Miss World to graduate as a doctor during her reign. In later years, several Eve’s Weekly titleholders made India proud at the international arena and brought glory and laurels to the nation. However the pageant was discontinued after 1989. Nevertheless, Eve’s Weekly Miss India pageant will always be remembered as the first ever Indian beauty contest and also the beauty pageant that blessed Asia with its first Miss World crown.