Actress Dia Mirza reminisces about her life-changing moment in December 2000 when she won the Miss Asia Pacific International pageant, saying the 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).
"When I look back, I just feel, it was all meant to happen. Me being spotted by a modelling agent at 16, the advertising campaigns, fashion shows, editorial shoots that followed. And then the Miss India pageant and the international crown, of course. It all seemed daunting then but I guess, at some level, I was ready. Just as I always am, when another new and exciting challenge beckons me," said Dia.
On the secret of winning, she shared: "Believing in yourself, being authentic and trusting life. And always knowing that a bigger force is at work to take you towards a higher purpose where you can make a positive difference, somehow."