When an Indian won Miss World title in 1966

miss world

Reita Faria wins Miss World in 1966

In 1966, Reita Faria became the first Indian (also the first Asian) to win the Miss World contest but refused offers from glamour industry and chose to follow her childhood dream of becoming a Doctor to serve people.

After the humiliating defeat in Sino-India war of 1962 war followed by painful death of Nehru in 1964, food crisis in 1965 & mysterious death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in early 1966, India had begun to slide into pessimism but 1966 turned out to be the year of female resurgence, thereby instilling some hope & confidence in the nation.

It was the year when our country which had always underestimated feminine gender witnessed the emergence of it’s first female Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi who later rose to prominence to the extent of even being respected & referred to as “Maa Durga” by her opposition. And also, 1966 was the year of another great accomplishment from this gender by the means of winning the most coveted “Miss World” by Reita Faria. In fact, she was not only the first Indian but the first Asian to win the the crown.

Reita becomes Doctor

Reita becomes Doctor

Ever since her childhood, Reita had envisioned to help people and after her schooling, when she realized that there were way too many people in the world but only few doctors, she decided to pursue a career in medicine. Since she was beautiful & smart, when her friends asked her to enter the competition, she tried it “for fun” but “surprisingly”, won the title (Quotes indicate that they were exactly as expressed by Reita herself). After the win, she got several offers for modelling, cinema and other glamorous roles which she flatly refused because her primary goal of helping people was of utmost importance to her. Even after failing the medical entrance test and inspite of having repeated offers for the glamorous industry which would have given her instant fame & wealth, she worked much harder and finally cleared the exams and eventually completed MBBS & became a Doctor.

Not only did she make India proud (by winning the title) and put it on the fashion world map but also instilled hopes & confidence by proving that an woman from a developing nation like India can take on the world by storm and finally inspired millions by not giving into temptations of the glamorous world and chose the path which she had always envisioned.

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Further reading:

Here is an excerpt from a candid interview where she speaks out her heart & mind:

“I didn’t think it would suit me. It wasn’t what I wanted out of life. I wanted to help people. If I had got into show business or become an actress, I don’t know what my life would have been; it certainly wouldn’t have involved a one-to-one interaction with patients.”

She could have given joy to millions had she gone into acting, I (interviewer) suggest.

“I didn’t think it would be the kind of life that suited me,” she readily admits. “I didn’t want too many people to influence my life. I wanted to make the decisions. When it comes to glamour, you have to present yourself in a certain way all the time; you cannot be yourself, you can’t go out, you can’t be a private person. It didn’t scare me; I just felt uncomfortable in it. I wasn’t going to put up with it.”

I (interviewer) mention other opportunities like modelling or television shows that she could have pursued. “I have never, never regretted my decision,” she says, in reply.



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