Shweta Sharda, 22, is the new Miss Diva Universe. The Chandigarh-born model and dancer, who lives in Mumbai, will now represent India at the global Miss Universe pageant, to be held in El Salvador in November.
Sharda beat 15 other contestants to the title at the ceremony in Mumbai, where she was crowned by last year's winner, Divita Rai.
Sonal Kukreja was crowned Miss Diva Supranational 2023 and will represent India at the Miss Supranational pageant, while Trisha Shetty was named the Miss Diva 2023 runner-up.
Sandhu, who is also from Chandigarh, was one of the judges on the night.
Miss Diva is a part of the Femina Miss India group that selects India's representatives for Miss Universe, one of the Big Four international beauty pageants. A separate Femina Miss India is also held to pick India's representative at the Miss World pageant.
India has won the Miss Universe crown three times – Sushmita Sen in 1994, Lara Dutta in 2000 and Sandhu in 2021.
Who is Shweta Sharda?
Born in Chandigarh, the capital of Indian's northern Punjab state, Sharda moved to Mumbai at the age of 17 to follow her dreams of making it in the world of entertainment.
She has since appeared in several reality shows, including Dance India Dance and Dance Deewane. Her stint as a choreographer in another reality show, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, led her to work with big Bollywood stars including Deepika Padukone, Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif.
Most recently, Sharda starred in a music video for the song Mast Aankhein by Jubin Nautiyal and Tulsi Kumar, featuring alongside Bollywood actor Shantanu Maheshwari.
When will Miss Universe 2023 be held?
For the first time in the history of the long-running pageant, married women and mothers are to be allowed to participate. This month, Michelle Cohn from Guatemala became the first married woman and mother to be a contestant.
Cohn, a model and entrepreneur, has a son and daughter with husband Andres Matheu.
So far, more than 50 countries have announced their representatives, but plenty more national contests have not yet taken place.
A total of 83 countries were represented at Miss Universe 2022, held in January due to a postponement. Gabriel, a Filipina-American fashion designer and model, won the crown at the event in the US city of New Orleans.