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The Journey of Manushi Chhillar: From Changing Lives To Winning The Crown

By: Adrija Bose


Last Updated: November 20, 2017, 13:46 IST

Manushi Chillar, (center) reacts after being crowned as the winner of Miss World 2017 (Image: Reuters Pictures)

Manushi Chillar, (center) reacts after being crowned as the winner of Miss World 2017 (Image: Reuters Pictures)

Manushi Chhillar is a gifted poet, a painter and Kuchipudi dancer; coming from a family of doctors, she wants to be a cardiac surgeon.

On Twitter, Manushi Chhillar calls herself ‘dreamer and achiever’. It’s the perfect description for her. Days after Chhillar won the coveted Miss World title for 2017, her phone probably hasn’t stopped buzzing with the congratulatory messages. Politicians and doctors of the country can’t stop tweeting about her. Sudarshan Patnaik, the famous artist, has already made a sand art for her at the Puri beach.

After all, it’s a massive win for India too. The win comes 17 years after Priyanka Chopra won the Miss World crown in the year 2000.

Months ago, the 20-year-old was attending a medical college--Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonipat. “I was always focused on my studies and wanted to be a doctor, but I would also dream to be at a beauty pageant at least once in life,” she had said in an interview.

The day she first found out about the Miss India auditions, her life changed considerably. Juggling between studies, workout sessions and preparations for the pageant was no easy task. Chhillar would wake up long before the other students in her hostel and use the time to work out. She would attend classes after that. She would again work out after classes, and study till late night.

Born to a family of doctors in Rohtak in Haryana, the medical aspirant studied at St Thomas School in Delhi. She feels her growing up years in Delhi and her school life played an important role in gaining the confidence that was required for a beauty pageant. Her father, Dr Mitrabasu Chhillar, is an endocrinologist at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), Delhi, and mother, Dr Neelam Chhillar, is a doctor at the Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Delhi.

Credit: @Manushi Chhillar

She is the first one in her family to step outside the world of medicine. “I come from a family where people believe in education and they don't really step out into any big entertainment related industry or beauty paegants. I am the first one from my family and friends to step into the world,” she said.

Right after winning the Miss World crown, Chhillar told IANS that there’s one cause that she will be fighting for. "The poor menstrual management in our country and across the world has always bothered me as a person...That's one cause that I will take forward with me," she said.

It wasn’t one of those statements made in the air by a beauty pageant winner, it’s a cause Chhillar believes in.

The 20-year-old has been working on ‘Project Shakti’ for a while now. The project is an initiative to financially empower rural women and create livelihood opportunities for them. In the project, Chhillar has initiated an awareness program on menstrual hygiene. In between all the preparations, Chhillar visited 20 villages, in a hope to bring about a change. "The cause is close to my heart, and in my own way, I have managed to make a difference to the lives of about 5,000 women.”

Credit: @Manushi Chhillar Credit: @Manushi Chhillar

Chhillar is a gifted poet, a painter and Kuchipudi dancer. She wants to be a cardiac surgeon. Like most millennials, Chhillar seems to be a huge fan of Dilwaley Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ) too. During a school trip to Jaipur, she climbed trees and ran across the fields. And for her, “it was a kind of DDLJ moment” when she posed amidst sarson ke khet.

In the final round when the judged asked her, “Which profession deserves the highest salary and why?” The 20-year-old answered, “I think a mother is of the highest respect. I don’t think it’s just about cash but love and respect she gives to someone. She is the biggest inspiration in my life. Mother should get highest salary and respect.” That was the winning answer that got her the crown. Manusi’s idea of celebration is “to have dinner with my family and close friends - something I haven't done in a while now." It will probably be a while before she gets that wish.

first published:November 20, 2017, 13:19 IST
last updated:November 20, 2017, 13:46 IST
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