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Actress Dia Mirza recalls her life-changing moment when she won the Miss Asia Pacific International pageant in December 2000, saying the win felt like transforming her old life into a new one.

“I wasn’t raised to be competitive. Perhaps that’s why if I didn’t win, I never wondered what would happen. As this young Hyderabad girl, I went to both the Miss India pageant and Miss Asia Pacific International with the thought that I would appreciate the opportunity and make the most of it,” said Dia, who was just 18 years old at that time.”

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“Whenever I felt the stirrings of the desire to win, I in fact felt uncomfortable. But looking back, winning felt like transitioning from my old life to a new one. I was still the same but everything else had changed. And since then my attitude towards every new opportunity has been the same. I approach it with gratitude and humility and I learn, imbibe and make the most of it,” she added.

She then made her acting debut in 2001 with “Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein”

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She is also a producer and UN Goodwill Ambassador to the Environment and Secretary-General of the United Nations Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS).

“When I look back, I just thought, it was all meant to be. I was spotted by a modelling agent at 16, advertisement campaigns, fashion shows, editorial shoots that followed. And then, of course, the Miss India pageant and the world crown. It all seemed overwhelming at the time, but I think I was ready at some stage. Just as I always do, when I have another fresh and exciting challenge,” Dia said.

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She shared the secret to winning: “Believing in yourself, being authentic and trusting life. And always knowing that a bigger force is at work to take you towards a higher purpose where you can make a positive difference, somehow.”