“As a kid, I always wanted to participate in the competition but I never knew I would make it this far. Winning the Miss World title is now not just my dream, but also that of my family and friends. I know it’s going to be a journey that I will never forget. Whatever the result, I am going to learn, enjoy and give it my best. The rest, I leave to destiny,” Manushi Chhillar said in one of her interviews right before being crowned Miss World 2017 last week.

The 20-year-old medical student made headlines internationally, after having brought the coveted blue crown to India after a hiatus of 17 long years. Manushi has become the sixth Indian woman to have won this title, after Reita Faria (1966), Aishwarya Rai (1994), Diana Hayden (1997), Yukta Mookhey (1999) and Priyanka Chopra (2000).

Born in Rohtak, Haryana, on 14 May 1997, Manushi comes from a family of doctors.  Her father, Dr Mitra Basu Chhillar, is a scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organisation, and her mother Dr. Neelam Chhillar is an associate professor and department head of neuro-chemistry at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences.

The winner of the 67th edition of Miss World 2017 pageant, Manushi completed her schooling from St. Thomas School in Delhi, and subsequently signed up as an MBBS student at the Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonipat, Haryana. She is currently in her third year, and aims to be a cardiac surgeon after finishing her studies. Her credentials of academic excellence, too, were established early in life; Manushi was the all-India CBSE topper in English in Class 12.

After Manushi was crowned Miss World on 18 November, there were celebrations among students and faculty of her medical college in Sonipat. “She had promised us that she will take a shot at winning the Miss World title. She has achieved that and we are all proud of her,” Anjali and Muskan, her friends from the medical college and hostel mates recently told IANS.

Manushi Chhillar (centre)celebrates after winning the Miss World 2017 pageant. Photo: Xinhua/IANS

After winning the Miss India title in 2017, Manushi took a break from her medical studies for a year to pursue her dream of winning bigger and more glamorous beauty pageants. And she has always maintained that once her showbiz commitments are over, she intends to return to her studies and complete her MBBS course. Besides being a medical student, Chhillar is also a trained Kuchipudi dancer. She learned the classical dance form under legendary dancers Radha Reddy and Raja and Kaushalya Reddy.

The present Miss World also takes a keen interest in painting and poetry, and was once a part of the National School of Drama. In 2014, she represented India in a cultural exchange programme in Japan.

Manushi has been associated with “Project Shakti”, a campaign initiated by her to make women and girls more aware about menstrual hygiene. Through, Shakti, her Beauty with a Purpose project, she has been actively contributing towards creating awareness on menstrual hygiene in 20 villages across India.

Besides being a medical student, Chhillar is also a trained Kuchipudi dancer. She learned the classical dance form under legendary dancers Radha Reddy and Raja and Kaushalya Reddy.

Manushi started her journey to win the prestigious Miss World title in December last year, after humble start to her career as a model: she had won the “Miss Campus Princess” title in her medical college. Then she went on to win the “Miss Haryana” title in April earlier this year. Her next step was winning the Femina Miss India 2017 competition, where she represented the state of Haryana. She finally won Femina Miss India World 2017, and was also crowned as Miss Photogenic.

Winner Manushi Chhillar (C), first runner-up Sana Dua (R) and the second runner-up Priyanka Kumari (L) during the grand finale of 54th Femina Miss India World 2017. Photo: IANS

She has also been a part of several commercial advertisements and shoots that came her way she was starting out as a model. While prepping up for the Miss World pageant, Manushi made sure that she worked out at least four to five times a week. Besides this rigorous workout routine, she followed a strict dietary regime, of homemade food, lots of fresh fruits, regular intake of fresh water and ultra-light dinners.

Her nutritionist Nmami Agarwal told Guardian 20, “Maintaining a healthy relationship with your body is the key to staying fit. Skipping a meal or intermittent fasting will do no good to the body. Hence, for Manushi, I wanted her diet plan and workout to go hand-in-hand and wanted to ensure that she reaps complete benefits out of her fitness program.”

On Manushi’s big win, Agarwal said, “I would like to congratulate Manushi for winning the prestigious Miss World title. She truly deserves this. She has always been very dedicated to her workout and diet regime, and also has inspired many by taking the #15dayChallenge. I am so proud of her.”

With inputs from  IANS