The year 2000 could well be termed as the beauty year for India as it saw the Hat trick win for the country first time in the history of beauty contests. Lara Dutta became the second Miss Universe after Sushmita Sen.
While in the year 2001, Celina Jaitley emerged as a fourth runner-up at Miss Universe pageant, the year 2002 saw a steep decline in India's performance at Miss Universe, as Neha Dhupia stood ninth at Miss Universe pageant. Miss India 2003, Nikita Anand too fared badly at Miss Universe pageant. Tanushree Dutta (2004) and Amrita Thapar (2005) had the same fate at the contest.
While some contestants complained that they were not fully informed about the format of the contest, the others felt that they could have done better by focusing on certain aspects.
Celina Jaitley: There were around 80 contestants in the pageant and I am content that I could reach the top order. While few girls had some fabulous physical trainers and personal instructors, who did every bit to boost their morale, I found myself alone there. I didn't have anyone for the much needed tips and assistance.
Not just that, the biggest problem was, we were not fully informed about the format. I don’t remember myself getting the training on the format of Miss Universe contest. I was surprised when I came to know that the time period to answer questions was cut from 60 seconds to 30 seconds. It could have made a big difference if known to me before.
Nikita Anand: We were not given proper training on the format of the contest. While for the Miss India contest, judges interact with the contestant, it was not the case here at Miss Universe.
They assessed me solely on the basis of how I looked and performed at the contest. The other thing that made a stark difference at the contest was that the models from the western countries are groomed at an early age and thus have greater exposure.
Neha Kapur: I think, I focused more on my communication skills and was careless about the clothing aspect. I should have balanced it rather. The contest is all about striking a balance between your physical attributes, mental preparations and sense of clothing.