This year, Bangladesh opened a new chapter by participating in the 68th edition of the Miss Universe beauty pageant. The path to Miss Universe began in July 2019, when more than 12,000 participants vied for the coveted title of Miss Universe Bangladesh, the contest that needed to be won to have a shot at the main title. This was followed by a three-month boot camp.
It has been a marvelous few months for beauty queen Shirin Akter Shela, who won the title of Miss Universe Bangladesh at the end of October. Shirin was crowned by eminent Indian actor Sushmita Sen, who won both Miss India and Miss Universe in 1994. The contest, held in Dhaka, saw Shirin beat off competition from beauty queens Alisha Islam and Jessia Islam. Shirin is the first person from a Muslim-majority country in South Asia to compete for the title of Miss Universe. She wowed judges with her poise and intellect as a third-year physics student at University of Dhaka. Her father is a member of the Border Guard Bangladesh. During the event, Shirin, who hails from Thakurgaon, revealed that her father was a great inspiration for her. She added that she would also work for the betterment of her country, which begins with winning Miss Universe Bangladesh.
Since then, she has been making the country proud, having been declared the best female model in the Face of Bangladesh 2019 contest. In 2018, she participated in Miss World Bangladesh and was among the top ten contestants. This year, she also represented Bangladesh at Face of Asia 2019, which took place in Seoul, South Korea.
Top contestants from 130 countries took part in the final competition of the 68th edition of Miss Universe, which took place at Atlanta, Georgia, on December 8. As an ambassador for Bangladesh, Shirin did really well in the preliminary round. “Although she did not make it to the Top 20, Shirin has won the hearts of millions and made a positive impact in the global beauty pageant circuit,” said Rizwan Farouq, Chairman of Miss Universe Bangladesh.
For her national costume in the beauty pageant, Shirin sported a red jamdani sari, complete with a model hood of Bangladeshi rickshaws and jewelry that imitated Bengali letters. “Shirin received the love of many people for representing the culture and heritage of Bangladesh so beautifully,” added Rizwan Farouq. At the final competition, Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi finished first, ahead of the Puerto Rican and Mexican finalists.
Regardless of the results, it is a matter of great pride that someone as stunning and confident as Shirin from Bangladesh participated in a global platform like Miss Universe for the first time.