India has more beauty queens than most countries: Diana Hayden
Former Miss World Diana Hayden believes that while India may not have won an international beauty pageant for 12 years now, we should be happy with the fact that the country had some winners
"I think we have gone too greedy, that's the problem. It's not about producing Miss Worlds or Miss Universes. If you look at it, there are so many countries, there are over 100 contestants all representing their countries, and there are countries that have never won," the 39-year-old said here Wednesday at the launch of her book.
"They are all so stunning. When I went there, I thought 'What am I doing here?', forget thinking that I had a chance at winning. But we have produced more Miss Worlds and Miss Universes than most countries, we are right up there with Venezuela," she added.
Diana also recalls how she was very wary of her title win in 1997. "When I won, it was like 'Why are we winning? Is it because all the multinationals are coming to India?' That was the biggest question that hit me. But then I thought, may be I deserve to win," said Diana, who was the third Miss World from India after Reita Faria (1966) and Aishwarya Rai (1994).
Talking about India's future in beauty pageants, Diana said, "Now when we have won so many titles, it's like 'Why are we not winning?' So I think we got to change our attitude and be more supportive and we'll get a winner. Our women are stunning and intelligent. The best thing about Indian women is that we manage to absorb the East and the West so well."
Actress Sushmita Sen became the first Miss Universe from India in 1994 and the same year Aishwarya was crowned Miss World.
While Diana was Miss World in 1997, Yukta Mookhey won the title in 1999. Year 2000 saw all the three titles fall in India's kitty - Lara Dutta was Miss Universe, Priyanka Chopra Miss World and Dia Mirza Miss Asia Pacific.