After India’s Manushi Chhillar was crowned Miss World 2017 recently, South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was announced the winner of Miss Universe at the pageant held in Las Vegas. While Miss Colombia and Miss Jamaica became first and second runners-up respectively, Shraddha Shashidhar, who was representing India, couldn’t make it to the top 16. India had pinned high hopes on the 21-year-old media graduate from Chennai and was expecting her to bring home the crown after Lara Dutta Bhupathi did in 2000.
With 92 women participating this time, the pageant this year saw representatives of Cambodia, Laos and Nepal taking part in the pageant for the first time. At the National Costume competition, Shashidhar chose to symbolise love and purity in the form of Radha. She opted for a costume costume designed by Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla and Melvyn Dominic Noronha for the competition. In a video interview earlier, Shashidhar had emphasised on the importance of unity and diversity and said she staunchly believed in the motto – “One home, one family.” She said that she got to travel a lot within her country which helped her adapt and become accepting of a lot of new cultures and people. She believes that travelling to different regions will help one understand different perspectives and different cultures better and will thus help them break barriers and differences.
This year, the 92 women competing were divided into those belonging to America, Europe and Africa and Asia Pacific. Held at the AXIS theater at Planet Hollywood casino-resort in Las Vegas, the competition was narrowed down to 16 and women from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana and South Africa were chosen from the Africa and Asian Pacific region, thus leaving out the Chennai-born model.