In the biggest South Asian beauty pageant in North America, 25-year-old Aanchal Dogra was crowned Miss India-Canada 2009 in Toronto on Sunday night.
Hailing from Mississauga on the outskirts of Toronto, Dogra was also the oldest contestant among 16 Indian-Canadian girls who vied for the title. "I cannot believe that I will be the winner of this beauty pageant," said Dogra who holds an MD in alternative medicines.
The beauty crown puts Dogra in the league of Lisa Ray, Komal Sidhu and Ruby Bhatia who went on to become big names in the entertainment world.
Komal Sharma, 20, from Montreal, and Guneet Marwah, 21, from Richmond Hill near here were the two runners-up at the 19th edition of the Indian beauty contest.
Hollywood actor and singer Karen David, who was on hand to crown the winners of the pageant, treated the audience to one of her favourite number. Born in Shillong, raised in Toronto and trained in London, actor-singer David has played the lead role in Hollywood film Scorpion King and Provoked. She has also lent her voice to compositions by AR Rehman and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Crowning Dogra as the new Miss India-Canada, David lavished praise on Indian culture and lauded the expatriate girls for keeping Indian native traditions alive in the West.
The three-hour-long evening show opened with all the girls strutting their desi stuff.
In fact, they opened their performances with the hit Bollywood song Main Desi Girl from the film Dostana. And the desi fare was on display in abundance as the 16 contestants regaled the huge audience with their individual musical and dance skills - from bhangra to hit Bollywood numbers to bhajans.
Finally, they were put through quizzes by the judges who settled on Aanchal Dogra as the winner and Komal Sharma and Guneet Marwah as the two runners-up.
Apart from winning the Miss India-Canada crown and lavish beauty, monetary and electronic gifts, Dogra will also get free passage to India and five-star accommodation to spend time in the Bollywood town.