Celebrated In: India
Miss India or Femina Miss India is a national beauty pageant in India that annually selects representatives to compete globally. The winner of Femina Miss India vies in Miss World, the first runner up competes in Miss Earth, and the second runner up goes to compete in Miss International. It is organized by Femina, a women's magazine published by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. In previous years, the top three finalists were variously crowned Miss India World, Miss India Universe and Miss India Earth/International/Asia-Pacific.
Femina Miss India used to select a winner and two runners up who were then sent to Miss Universe, Miss World, and Miss Asia Pacific pageants, respectively. In 1994, after India's historic win at the International pageants, the organization ended the practice of crowning a single winner and instead decided that the top three winners were designated as winners with equal visibility and prizes. In 2002, the third winner was designated to Miss Earth instead of Miss Asia Pacific. In 2010, Femina Miss India decided that they would no longer send a representative to Miss Universe, and relinquished the Miss Universe franchise, choosing instead to designate the third winner to represent India in Miss International pageant. In 2013 Femina Miss India awarded the franchise back after I AM she – Miss Universe India concluded their contract with Miss Universe Organization. It announced that Miss Universe India will be produced in isolation and as a separate pageant to select India's representative to Miss Universe. The pageant is called Indian Diva.
Miss India has been participating in the Miss Universe pageant since 1952, starting with Indrani Rehman and in the Miss World pageant since 1959, starting with Fleur Ezekiel. Historically, the Femina Miss India pageant sent the winner of the pageant to the Miss Universe pageant, and Eve's Weekly, a rival women's publication sent the winner of its Miss India contest to Miss World. In the late 80s, Femina acquired the rights to send a representative to Miss World as well, and started to send the winner to Miss Universe and the runner-up to the Miss World contest. In 1994, following India's historic dual wins at both Miss Universe and Miss World, the custom of crowning a single winner was discontinued. Instead, the top three placers were each designated a winner, with equal prizes, visibility and responsibilities, and crowned Femina Miss India-Universe, Femina Miss India-World, and Femina Miss India-Asia Pacific. In 2002, the third title was changed to Femina Miss India-Earth, to designate India's representation at the newly launched Miss Earth pageant, focused on the cause of environmental advocacy. From 2007 to 2009, three equal winners were selected going to Miss Universe, Miss World, and Miss Earth. In 2010, Femina Miss India decided to stop sending representatives to the Miss Universe pageant entirely, choosing instead to send a crowned winner to Miss International.
The awards for 1989 were given at the end of the year (December); hence there was no separate contest for 1990.
In 1994, Sushmita Sen won the Miss Universe title after winning the Miss India crown and became the first Indian woman ever to win the Miss Universe crown. The same year the runner-up of Miss India, Aishwarya Rai, won the Miss World title.
The success of Aswarya Rai and Sushmita Sen spawned coaching institutions which were set up to groom young women in pageant participation skills. The number of participants in the preliminary rounds of the pageant has increased considerably. Miss India World 1997, Diana Hayden won the title of Miss World 1997. In 1999, the Miss India runner-up Yukta Mookhey went on to win the Miss World that year.
In 2000, three of the Miss India winners won their respective international pageants — Lara Dutta (Miss Universe), Priyanka Chopra (Miss World) and Diya Mirza (Miss Asia Pacific). The only other country to have won all three major titles in one year was Australia in 1972.
In 2010, Nicole Faria became the first Indian to win the Miss Earth title in Vietnam, which leaves Miss International as the only major international pageant that has not been won by an Indian contestant.