She brought the crown home seventeen years after Priyanka Chopra had won the title in the year 2000. Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar epitomises grace and glory. After winning the title, she has been travelling all across the world and working relentlessly for several causes. In this exclusive interview, she talks about her next destination, the cause closest to her heart, finishing her education, the taboo associated with beauty pageants in India and Bollywood debut.
You have been travelling across the globe since you won the title of Miss World. Where are you headed next?
I am heading next to China for the finale of Miss World and on 8th of December, I will crown the winner.
What is the most important thing you believe winning the Miss World title has given you?
The entire experience I had after winning the title is what I cherish the most. You are the flag bearer of the all the work that is being done. The team lets you take charge of all the activities yourself. That gives you the self-confidence and changes you for the better. It has been a wonderful journey so far and I am looking forward to many more great experiences.
You have lent your support to several causes. Which one has been the closest to your heart?
Three years ago when I was eighteen, I started causing awareness about menstrual hygiene. This is the cause I have been associated with much before I won the Miss India title, so it will always be very close to my heart. When I started out, there would be a few people attending the sessions but now, every session is attended by a thousand people.
You have not finished your medical degree yet.
Yes, I have taken a break from it for a while. I did not want to miss the experience of the first year of Miss World. I wanted to be completely involved in it. I took a year off from college and I will be joining back once all my commitments are over. I would like to continue my education as I worked really hard at it. Also, my education is what gives me the confidence to all that I do in life, so I will definitely finish my education.
Your win must have inspired a lot of young women but in a conservative country like India, a lot of people still look at beauty contests with disdain. What would be your message to these people?
The first thing I am going to tell those people who bar girls from participating in beauty contests is that if you give your children an opportunity, they will definitely make you proud. I come from a middle class family in Haryana. My parents gave me complete freedom to follow my dreams. Girls should be given the freedom to explore their talent and realise their dreams. They will not only respect and love their parents back for the freedom given to them but also achieve things that will make them immensely proud. You have to let them excel at what they are best at. If you are a girl and are getting that opportunity, you must work hard and try to be an example for those girls who do not find the courage to follow their dreams.
There has been so much discussion regarding your Bollywood debut. Can you shed some light on it?
I did get a few film offers this year but I wanted to live my Miss World experience thoroughly. There is no film I have committed myself to at the moment. I want to be well-prepared before getting into the industry and facing the camera as an actress. I want to learn more about how things work in the industry. Once I am back in Mumbai on the 18th of December, I can sit and decide what I will be doing next.