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Beauties At The Feast
This was also a show of the Old and the Beautiful. Many former Miss Worlds attended the show at the Skydome next to the Millennium Dome in London. Among them was former Miss India, Reita Faria, who was the first Miss India to be crowned Miss World, in 1966.
"I never really went back to India after that," she told Outlook at the Miss World contest. In fact, she has become something of a Miss Ireland. "Everyone of course knows that I was Miss World," she says. And they seem to love her for it and for adopting Ireland.
Faria, a doctor by profession, had a medical practice for a while but has now given it up. Her husband and two daughters in Dublin are both doctors. She had married her teacher at medical college where she went after her win.
Faria, who told Irish Television last month that Miss World contests are past their sell-by date, was ecstatic about Priyanka Chopra's win. "I think she was great. She was lovely. Never mind if she got some facts wrong. It's the way she spoke that mattered."
For a long time, Faria kept up her association with the Miss World contests. She adjudicated three times, attended the 25th and now the 50th anniversary of the contest and judged a Miss India contest in Mumbai two years ago.
There were many former Miss Worlds who had come on the occasion of the pageant's 50th anniversary. The oldest among them was Miss Sweden, who was crowned in 1952. Others present were Miss Worlds of 1958, 1976 (Jamaica), 1977 (Sweden), 1990 (US), 1992 (Russia), 1993 (Jamaica), 1995 (Venezuela), India's Diana Hayden (1997), 1998 (Miss Israel) and, of course, Yukta Mookhey from last year.
It was a presence but not quite a reunion since most had never met before. But the older Miss Worlds had one thing in common: age has certainly made many of them more beautiful.