After the 2011 Miss Universe pageant, India couldn't believe that Vasuki Sunkavalli, Miss India 2011, failed to win the crown. Sunkavalli wasn't even a finalist; she was cut before judges selected the final 16 sixteen contents.
The result was a disappointment for India, which saw major pageant success over a decade ago, but has floundered in recent years. India is just one of 14 nations to have multiple Miss Universe winners: Lara Dutta took the prize in 2000 and new Delhi's Sushmita Sen won in 1994.
In the years between Sen's and Dutta's titles, every Miss India contestant made the final ten. But since Dutta's win, a Miss India has only broken into the top 10 four times, the best result being a 4th Runner-up nod in 2001.
Former Miss Indias spoke to the media, addressing their disappointment in the country's current queens and reaching for explanations as to why India can't relive its past glory.
“The prospects for winning on such a platform are not limited to only grooming and intelligence. Overall personality matters. The kind of aura Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta carried was completely different,” former Miss India Shilpa Reddy told The Deccan Chronicle, an Indian English-language daily.
“Sushmita Sen and her contemporaries were not only a well-groomed lot, but they oozed confidence. They emerged at a time when the global exposure to India was very less. So when these girls stepped out in all their magnificence they won over the world.”
“I feel that the winning contestant had the support of the people of her country who voted for her. How many people in India were even aware that the contest was going on? said Tanvi Singla, Miss Asia Pacific World India 2011. I blame inefficient P.R. for it. We need to promote our beauties at national and international levels aggressively.”
Singla was certainly correct that the nation of Angola, home to Miss Universe winner Leila Lopes, was immensely proud of its contestant.
Leila is really our queen and all Angolan women feel like Miss Universe as it is a very great honor for us to be there, with a competition with more than 80 girls and countries, with different habits, customs and religions, and they chose Angola, winning the crown of Miss Universe, said Angolan First Lady Ana Paula dos Santos.