TORONTO, Aug 17: Harleen Malhans of Toronto won the Miss India-Canada crown and drove away in a brand-new Chevrolet Spark on Saturday night.
At a sold-out pageant at Hilton DoubleTree Hotel here, the 23-year-old girl from the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke beat out 15 other contenders to win the crown.
Nikki Shah of Richmond Hill and Reema Rachel Khithani of Mississauga were the two runners-up.
Harleen, who is an Administrative Assistant at Canada Protection Plan, dazzled the gathering and the judges with her all-round performance.
In the final rounds, Harleen was asked: What is the best part of being a South Asian female in Canada and why?
With poise and elegance, the tall contender replied that being a South Asian female in Canada means that you draw the very best from two cultures – your Indian culture and values and Canadian culture.
Earlier, during the preliminary rounds when all the contestants were asked as to what was most important to them apart from their family, Harleen said south Asians needed “positive and influential’ role models.
Her goal is to become a south Asian role model in television, said Harleen who already has some experience of being a Roger TV host.
During her Indian dance performance, Harleen belted out high-energy, high-voltage bhangra, and during the gown competition segment of the pageant, she walked the ramp in a light-green, sequined saree.
Outgoing Miss India-Canada Mallika Kapur put the crown on Harleen as a General Motor executive bent over his knees to hand over to her the keys to a brand-new Chevrolet Spark. She didn’t seem to believe that she was riding back home in the new car.
UK bhangra star Jassi Sidhu congratulated the beauty contestants and posed with them.
Thanking participants and the audience, event organizer Sanjay Agnihotri said, “This certainly was the most successful Miss India-Canada event to date. We were honoured to have Chevrolet on board for the very first time, and Brita back with us for a second consecutive year. And of course, having the Chevrolet Spark as our Grand Prize has made this year’s show incredibly special. I am also delighted that the audience not only got to witness a truly glamorous event, but also walked away with some complimentary give-aways, of which a Brita Filter bottle was included in each gift bag. Moreover, we are overwhelmed with the support we received from the community this year. I am also very proud that we have associated ourselves with a noteworthy cause: We Are Your Sisters (WAYS).”
In its 23rd edition, the Miss India-Canada pageant has this year progressed to award a car to the winner thanks to General Motors.
Started by the late Punjabi businessman Kush Agnihotri and now run by his son Sanjay Agnihotri, the Miss India-Canada pageant is the biggest and oldest Indian beauty show in North America.
Some of the past winners of the Miss India-Canada pageant such as Kamal Sidhu (1991), Ruby Bhatia (1993), Gita Bali (1994), Rishma Malik (1996), Komila Jagtiani (1999), and Neelam Verma (2001) went on to become actresses, models, television stars and show hosts.
Many top-notch Bollywood stars, including Dev Anand, Hema Malini, Raveena Tandon and Aftab Shivdasani, have been chief guests at the pageant.
ALSO SEE: Miss India-Canada 2013 photogallery