Pooja Hegde (Miss Universe India 2010- 2nd Runner up): From Pageant Contestant to Superstar with a Heart of Gold


Pooja Hegde is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after and beloved actresses in the Indian film industry today. She has made a name for herself not only through her stunning performances in Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil films but also for her incredible journey from being a beauty pageant contestant to becoming a superstar. Born on October 13, 1990, in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Pooja Hegde hails from a Tulu-speaking Bunt family in Udupi, Karnataka. Her father, Manjunath Hegde, is a lawyer, while her mother, Latha Hegde, is an immunologist and genetics professional. Pooja’s big brother is named Rishabh Hegde, and he works as a doctor specializing in orthopedic surgeon.

Early Life and Education

Pooja’s early life was marked by academic excellence and a passion for extracurricular activities. She attended Maneckji Cooper Education Trust School in Mumbai and was known for her bright academic record and participation in various cultural events. Her love for singing, dancing, and fashion started to shine during her school years. After completing her schooling, she pursued a degree in commerce from M.M.K College, Mumbai.

Career in Modelling and Pageants

Pooja Hegde’s journey towards stardom began when she decided to pursue a career in modeling. Her striking beauty and graceful demeanor quickly caught the attention of the fashion industry. In 2009, she took part in the prestigious Miss India pageant, where she won the title of “Miss India Talented 2009.” Though she showed immense promise, she was eliminated in the early rounds.

However, Pooja’s determination was unwavering. She decided to reapply for the competition the following year, and in 2010, she achieved tremendous success by becoming the second runner-up in the Miss Universe India 2010 competition. Her accomplishments didn’t stop there as she also clinched the title of “Miss India South Glamorous Hair 2010” in a subsidiary contest.

Career in Films

Pooja Hegde’s pageant journey paved the way for her entry into the world of cinema. Her charisma and talent drew the attention of filmmakers, and she made her acting debut in the Tamil superhero film “Mugamoodi” (2012), directed by Mysskin. In the film, she portrayed the character of Shakthi, a vivacious girl who inspired the male lead to rethink his perspective on society. While the movie received mixed reviews, Pooja Hegde’s performance was appreciated for its freshness and charm.

Her journey in the world of cinema continued as she made her Telugu film debut in the romantic comedy “Oka Laila Kosam” (2014), alongside Naga Chaitanya. In the movie, she essayed the role of Nandana, a free-spirited young woman who falls in love with a reserved young man. The film was a moderate success, and Pooja received positive feedback for her acting and her sparkling chemistry with her co-star.

Pooja Hegde followed this with another Telugu film, “Mukunda” (2014), where she played the role of Gopika, a college student entangled in a political conflict. Despite the film’s commercial failure, Pooja’s performance and captivating appearance were acknowledged.

Her Bollywood debut came with the historical drama “Mohenjo Daro” (2016), directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, in which she shared the screen with Hrithik Roshan. She played the character of Chaani, a priest’s daughter who falls in love with a farmer. While the film faced disappointment at the box office, Pooja Hegde garnered attention for her beauty and on-screen presence. Her journey in the Indian film industry had just begun.

Pooja Hegde made a triumphant return with the Telugu action drama “Duvvada Jagannadham” (2017), where she portrayed the role of Pooja, a fashion designer embroiled in a crime plot. The film emerged as a blockbuster, and Pooja Hegde was lauded for her glamorous avatar and exceptional dance skills.

She continued her successful run in Telugu cinema with the romantic drama “Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava” (2018), opposite Jr. NTR. Her character, Aravinda, was a journalism student who supported the male lead in his quest for peace. The film was a hit, and Pooja Hegde’s performance earned her a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu.

In the Telugu comedy drama “Maharshi” (2019), alongside Mahesh Babu, she portrayed the character of Pooja, a college friend and love interest of the male lead. The movie struck gold at the box office, and Pooja Hegde was appreciated for her role and her chemistry with her co-star.

Pooja Hegde showcased her versatility by starring in the Telugu action thriller “Gaddalakonda Ganesh” (2019), opposite Varun Tej. Her character, Sridevi, was an aspiring actress kidnapped by a gangster. The film was a hit, and Pooja’s performance and transformation received praise.

Returning to Bollywood, she featured in the comedy film “Housefull 4” (2019), alongside Akshay Kumar. In the movie, she played dual roles, portraying Rajkumari Mala and Pooja, love interests of the male lead in two different eras. The film emerged as a superhit, and Pooja Hegde was lauded for her comic timing and glamour quotient.

Her biggest success came with the Telugu musical drama “Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo” (2020), opposite Allu Arjun. She essayed the character of Amulya, a spirited young woman who falls in love with a middle-class boy. The film turned out to be a blockbuster at the box office, and Pooja Hegde won the SIIMA Award for Best Actress – Telugu for her exceptional performance. It also became one of the most-watched Indian films on OTT platforms.

Continuing her winning streak, Pooja Hegde starred in the Telugu romantic comedy “Most Eligible Bachelor” (2021), alongside Akhil Akkineni. Her character, Vibha, was a stand-up comedian who marries a software engineer. The film proved to be a hit at the box office, and Pooja Hegde received positive reviews for her role and her comedic skills.

Upcoming Projects

Pooja Hegde’s future in the film industry looks brighter than ever with a slew of exciting projects lined up for release. In the Hindi action thriller “Cirkus” (2021), opposite Ranveer Singh, she will take on the role of Sanjana, a circus performer in a double role comedy, directed by Rohit Shetty. The film is anticipated to be a masala entertainer, promising to keep the audience thoroughly entertained.

She is also set to star in the Telugu period drama “Radhe Shyam” (2021), opposite Prabhas. Playing the character of Prerana, a music teacher who falls in love with a fortune teller, Pooja Hegde will transport the audience into a captivating romantic saga set in Europe.

In the Tamil action thriller “Beast” (2022), opposite Vijay, she will play the role of a doctor involved in a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game with a ruthless criminal, directed by Nelson Dilipkumar.

Pooja Hegde’s journey continues in the Telugu action drama “Acharya” (2022), opposite Ram Charan. She will essay the character of Neelambari, a village girl who stands by the male lead in his fight against injustice, directed by Koratala Siva and also starring Chiranjeevi in the lead role.

Further expanding her horizons, Pooja Hegde is set to feature in the Hindi comedy film “Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan” (2023), opposite Varun Dhawan. In the movie, she will portray Pooja, a bubbly girl who marries a conman. Directed by David Dhawan, this film is a remake of the Telugu film “Hello Brother” (1994).

Pooja Hegde has certainly established herself as one of the most popular and successful actresses in the Indian film industry. Her ability to effortlessly transition between Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil cinema is a testament to her acting prowess. Her wide range of roles, from glamorous divas to spirited characters, has endeared her to audiences across India.

But Pooja Hegde’s journey is not just about her rise in the film industry. It’s also about her dedication to making a positive impact on society and the causes she holds close to her heart.

Pooja Hegde: A Philanthropic Heart

While Pooja Hegde has made a name for herself in the entertainment world, she also possesses a compassionate heart and a strong desire to give back to society. Her commitment to various social and charitable causes reflects her deep sense of responsibility as a public figure. Here are some instances of her humanitarian efforts:

1. All About Love Foundation:

Pooja Hegde founded the “All About Love” foundation, a charitable organization through which she allocates a portion of her earnings to support various causes. Her contributions have touched the lives of children, women, animals, the environment, and healthcare. Pooja has also been quick to respond to natural disasters, providing relief materials and financial assistance to those affected.

2. Animal Welfare:

Pooja Hegde is a passionate animal lover and has adopted a dog named Bruno. She is an advocate for animal rights and welfare and has actively supported organizations such as PETA India, World For All, and Save The Tiger. Pooja encourages her fans and followers to adopt animals from shelters and opposes animal cruelty and exploitation.

3. Promoting Healthy Living:

Pooja Hegde, a fitness enthusiast herself, has used her platform to promote healthy living and wellness. She has shared her fitness tips and routines on social media, encouraging people to exercise regularly and consume nutritious food. Pooja has also endorsed fitness brands and products, including Cult Fit and Puma.

4. Fashion Icon:

Pooja Hegde’s impeccable sense of style and elegance has inspired many. She has collaborated with various fashion designers and brands, such as Manish Malhotra, Falguni Shane Peacock, Label Ritu Kumar, and Liva Fluid Fashion. Her presence on the ramp at events like Lakme Fashion Week, India Couture Week, and Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour has added to her influence. Pooja Hegde also champions sustainable and ethical fashion, advocating for the use of natural and organic fabrics and materials.

5. Women Empowerment and Gender Equality:

Pooja Hegde is a vocal advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equality. She has courageously spoken out against sexism and discrimination faced by women in the film industry and society as a whole. She has actively participated in campaigns and initiatives that aim to educate and empower women and girls. Her involvement in campaigns like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Girl Rising, and She Leads India has been commendable. Pooja has also addressed critical issues like menstrual hygiene, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and body shaming.

Pooja Hegde’s philanthropic work exemplifies her commitment to creating a positive impact on the world. She serves as a role model and an inspiration to individuals who aspire to make a difference and use their influence to bring about change.


Pooja Hegde’s journey from a beauty pageant contestant to a superstar is a testament to her talent, hard work, and perseverance. She has conquered multiple film industries, won awards, and captured the hearts of millions with her charm and acting prowess. However, she has also shown that her influence goes beyond the silver screen. Her dedication to various charitable and social causes showcases a person who uses her fame and fortune to make the world a better place. Pooja Hegde’s story is one of inspiration and a reminder that true beauty is not just skin deep; it is reflected in the kindness and compassion one shares with the world. Pooja Hegde is, indeed, all about love.

Also read about “Controversies in Miss Universe History (1952-2023): From Age Scandals to Crowning Mistakes“.

Leave a comment