Did You Know That Lara Dutta Had The Highest Ever Individual Score At Miss Universe 2000?

Lara Dutta

The year is 2000. A 22 year-old Lara Dutta is contesting for the Miss Universe crown amidst seventy-nine countries at Nicosia, Cyprus. Sinbad, the host, proceeds to ask the top three contenders the same question, “Right now, there is a protest that has been staged outside the stadium posing pageants as an affront to women. Convince them that they are wrong.”

Lara Dutta, poised yet swift in her response goes on to say, “Pageants like Miss Universe gives us young women a platform to foray into the fields that we want to and forge ahead, be it entrepreneurship, be it the armed forces, be it politics. It gives us a platform to voice our choices and opinions, and makes us strong and independent that we are today.” The crowd rejoices. It’s like they knew what was on the horizon – India was to make history for the second time at the Miss Universe pageant.

A fun fact for you: Lara Dutta’s win has a lot more weightage and is considered supremely iconic as she also managed to topple previous records. She bagged the highest scores in the swimsuit competition and her finale interview, which upon their addition, awarded her a pristine score of 9.99. The highest ever in the history of the Miss Universe pageant, mind you.

Lara Dutta was crowned by Botswana’s outgoing titleholder, Mpule Kwelagobe. Her victory led to her being elected as a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador in 2001. “Celebrities having the ability to influence their susceptible minds have a moral obligation to spread constructive ideas. As a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), I am determined to use whatever influence I have to accomplish this,” she was quoted saying.

She donned creations by designer Hemant Trivedi, including the one-shoulder, sparkly red gown worn for the finale. The overall wardrobe consisted of peak Y2K elements – low waited skirts, monotone metallic ensembles, frosty lids and brown lips with a heavy dosage of a dark lip liner. Executed to the T, it’s obvious she didn’t come to play. Lara Dutta meant business and boy did she deliver.

During her time as Miss Universe, she travelled to 62 countries and boasts of being a part of the indomitable trio including Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Dia Mirza. PCJ and Dia won the Miss World and Miss Asia Pacific titles that very year, respectively, cementing India’s dominance in the pageant world at the dawn of this century. Imagine the number of girls that were named after the trio that year! Phew.

Images via Getty and Pinterest

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- Digital Fashion Writer


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