May 12 will always be special for former beauty queen Lara Dutta, who conquered the universe on this date 20 years ago. On May 12, 2000, Lara Dutta was crowned Miss Universe – the second Indian contestant to win the pageant after Sushmita Sen in 1994. Lara was just 22. Now, 42, Lara cherished the fond memories of her journey in the pageant and finally winning Miss Universe from two decades in a post on Instagram. Sharing an album of photos depicting her win at Miss India to becoming Miss Universe 2000, Lara wrote: “20 years to the day! May 12, 2000, Nicosia, Cyprus. What a wonderful gift to receive from the universe! One I’m eternally grateful for.” The Miss Universe pageant took place in the island country of Cyprus in 2000.
2000 began with the Miss India pageant in January, in which Lara Dutta’s fellow winners were Priyanka Chopra and Dia Mirza. While Lara was crowned Miss Universe in May, Priyanka fetched the Miss World title for India in November and Dia Mirza won the Miss Asia Pacific title. Last year, Lara gave a shout-out to Priyanka and Dia by posting a priceless throwback photo with this note: “I had posted the above picture a while ago but came across this edit on Instagram and really loved it. Then-and-now! Coming up to 20 years, you guys. I love you both loads. So happy we’ll always have this that ties us together. One for the Motherland.”
You can also spot the three in Priyanka’s birthday greeting for Lara shared in 2015.
Just three years after her Miss Universe win, Lara Dutta she stepped into Bollywood with 2003 film Andaaz. She is best known for starring in films such as Bhagam Bhag, Kaal, Partner, Chalo Dilli and the Don series. She was last seen in Welcome To New York. Lara got married to former tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi in 2011 and they are parents to a daughter named Saira.