Yasmin Daji (Miss Universe 1966- 3rd Runner up): The Trailblazing Beauty Queen Who Broke Stereotypes and Made History

Introduction Of Yasmin Daji

In the vibrant tapestry of Indian history, there are names that shine brilliantly, leaving an indelible mark for generations to come. Yasmin Daji is one such name. While she might not be a household name in contemporary India, back in the 1960s, she was a force to be reckoned with. A doctor, a model, and a trailblazing beauty pageant titleholder, Yasmin Daji was a true pioneer.

Her journey from New York City to the heart of India and her remarkable achievements continue to inspire women to pursue their dreams and break down stereotypes. In this blog, we will delve into the life and accomplishments of Yasmin Daji, the woman who proved that beauty is not just skin deep but emanates from within.

The Early Years

Yasmin Daji’s story begins in 1947 in the bustling streets of New York City, where she was born to Indian parents. It was in the Big Apple that her journey commenced, but it was in Delhi, India, that it truly blossomed. Yasmin’s early years were marked by a passion for medicine, a field she was drawn to since childhood. Her dreams of becoming a doctor led her to Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC), one of India’s oldest and most prestigious medical institutions dedicated to women.

However, Yasmin Daji was not only an aspiring doctor; she was also a young woman with a zest for life. Her college days at LHMC were enriched with her participation in various cultural events, where her love for music and dance shone brightly. It was this combination of grace, intelligence, and charm that would set her on an extraordinary path.

The Beauty Queen Emerges

While pursuing her medical degree, Yasmin Daji decided to take a leap into the world of beauty and glamour. In 1966, she entered the Femina Miss India pageant, a national beauty contest organized by Femina magazine. The competition was fierce, with 21 contestants vying for the coveted title. Yasmin’s poise, elegance, and, of course, her winning smile captured the judges’ hearts. She was crowned the winner and also received the Miss Beautiful Smile sub-award. It was a pivotal moment for Yasmin, and it set the stage for a journey that would change her life and the course of beauty pageants in India.

Her crowning moment came courtesy of Persis Khambatta, the Femina Miss India 1965 titleholder who would later become a renowned Hollywood actress. With this victory, Yasmin Daji earned the privilege of representing India on the international stage at the Miss Universe 1966 pageant.

A Star on the Global Stage

The Miss Universe 1966 pageant was held on July 16, 1966, at the Miami Beach Auditorium in Florida, USA. Yasmin Daji, now the face of India, competed against 57 other contestants from around the world. She made a significant impression with her intelligence, grace, and unparalleled beauty. In a world where stereotypes and misconceptions often cloud judgment, Yasmin shattered them all. At the conclusion of the event, she was declared the third runner-up, a remarkable achievement that made her the first Indian woman to reach the top five at Miss Universe.

Yasmin Daji’s presence on the global stage was not only a personal victory but a moment of pride for India. She was only the fourth Indian model to participate in the Miss Universe contest, following in the footsteps of Indrani Rehman (1952), Meher Castelino Misri (1959), and Persis Khambatta (1965). Her achievement showcased the diversity and elegance of Indian beauty and garnered international recognition.

A Celestial Descent: The Post-Miss Universe Era

After her remarkable success at Miss Universe, Yasmin Daji became a prominent figure not just in India but also abroad. Her captivating beauty and intelligence made her a sought-after personality. She graced the covers of many magazines and newspapers, representing not only herself but the changing face of Indian beauty and grace. Yasmin was not just a pretty face; she was an inspiration for young girls across India, proving that dreams could be pursued without compromise.

Lure cosmetics, one of India’s leading cosmetic brands, chose Yasmin as their brand ambassador. Her radiant presence in advertisements made Lure cosmetics a household name. But her appeal extended beyond the world of beauty. Yasmin Daji appeared on television shows and radio programs, sharing her experiences and wisdom. Her story was one of passion, tenacity, and the relentless pursuit of one’s dreams.

A Doctor’s Heart, A Model’s Grace

What sets Yasmin Daji apart from many other beauty queens is her unwavering commitment to her medical career. Winning the title of Miss Universe did not deter her from her pursuit of becoming a doctor. She completed her studies at LHMC and graduated as a qualified medical professional. Her dedication to both medicine and modelling was a testament to her character and her ability to break the mold.

Subsequently, Yasmin returned to New York, where she began a new chapter in her life. She embraced family life, with her marriage and the joys of raising two sons. Today, she stands as a retired doctor and model, leading a life away from the spotlight. Her accomplishments in both fields are a testament to her determination and unwavering commitment to her passions.

Legacy of Grace and Inspiration

Yasmin Daji’s life is a tale of courage, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of dreams. Her journey from New York City to Delhi and beyond is a testament to the heights that can be reached when one dares to dream. She broke stereotypes and proved that beauty is not skin deep; it radiates from the core of one’s being.

Yasmin Daji is an inspiration for women who aspire to pursue their passions and achieve their goals without compromising their values or identity. She embodies the spirit of beauty with brains and grace with guts. Her legacy continues to inspire generations of young women who dare to dream and make a difference in the world.

A Lasting Impression

Today, Yasmin Daji might choose to live a low-profile life in New York, away from the glitz and glamour, but her story remains etched in the annals of history. She is a practicing doctor, a devoted mother, and grandmother, and she rarely makes public appearances or gives interviews. She prefers the tranquility of a life away from the media frenzy, yet she hasn’t forgotten her roots. Yasmin continues to visit India and remains connected with her friends and relatives. She lends her support to various social causes and charities close to her heart.


In conclusion, Yasmin Daji is more than just a beauty queen or a medical professional; she is a living legend. Her life’s journey is a testament to the heights one can reach by chasing their dreams with unwavering determination. Yasmin Daji is a beacon of hope for all those who believe in the power of passion, grace, and the pursuit of one’s true calling. She is a trailblazer who deserves recognition and appreciation for her incredible contributions to Indian history and culture. Yasmin Daji, the woman who proved that beauty is not just a surface-level attribute, but a reflection of the depth of one’s character and spirit.

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