Meet Suman Rao, the stunning Miss World 2019 second runner-up from India
Miss India Suman Rao was crowned the second runner-up of Miss World 2019 in London. The 21-year-old from Rajasthan also won the title of Miss World Asia 2019 at the annual beauty pageant, where Miss Jamaica Toni-Ann Singh was crowned Miss World 2019.
Miss India Suman Rao was a definite front-runner at the Miss World 2019 pageant. After reaching the Top 10 in three preliminary competitions — the 'Top Model', the 'Beauty with a Purpose', and the head-to-head interview round, where she defeated Miss Bangladesh Rafah Nanjeba Torsa in the final round — the 21-year-old student was crowned the second runner-up at Miss World 2019 in London on Saturday. Suman Rao was also declared the winner of Miss World Asia 2019 at the annual beauty pageant, where Toni-Ann Singh of Jamaica was crowned Miss World, marking the first time that black women have simultaneously held the titles of two of the world’s top beauty pageants. Last week, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa was crowned Miss Universe 2019.
Born on 23 November 1998 in Rajasthan's Rajsamand village, near Udaipur, Suman Rao was little when her family moved to Mumbai. According to media reports, the beauty queen, whose full name is Suman Ratan Singh Rao, has two younger brothers. Her father Ratan Singh Rao is a jeweller, and her mother Sushila Kunwar Rao is a homemaker. Here’s everything you need to know about the second runner-up of Miss World 2019 and Miss World Asia 2019-winner, Suman Rao:
1. Suman Rao is an accounting student
The Miss World 2019 second runner-up has been studying chartered accountancy at Mumbai University. She has two brothers, Jitendra and Chirag, and she says in her Miss World profile that her greatest achievement was being able to pay for their college tuition. She told the Times of India in a recent interview that her mother was not allowed to study past middle school, so furthering her own education is very important to her. "My mother knew the impact education could have in the life of a girl child. She knew what it meant to empower women — my mother is the reason I have achieved what I have today," Suman Rao said in the interview. "That is why issues like gender equality and women empowerment are so close to me and will remain the focus of my life."
2. Suman Rao is a successful model
Standing at 5’10”, Suman Rao is also a model, having walked in Lakme Fashion Week and worked with fashion designers Manish Malhotra and Amit Aggarwal, among others. During the Miss India 2019 competition in June, she not only won the crown but also the 'Miss Rampwalk' award. At the Miss World 2019 pageant, Rao made the 'Top 10' for the modelling preliminary, which had the contestants walking in a runway show sporting the dresses of renowned British designer Zandra Rhodes.
3. Suman Rao speaks three languages
The Miss World Asia 2019 winner is fluent in Hindi, English and Mewari, one of the major Indo-Aryan dialects that is spoken largely in Rajasthan, which is where her family is from. "I belong to Rajasthan, so whenever I come here, I feel connected to my roots," she told the Times of India. "We talk in Mewari and celebrate Rajasthani festivals. Everything in our home reminds us of our roots — be it the dialect, the food or our lifestyle." She also said that her biggest inspiration is Indian sprinter Hima Das, who "came from nowhere" to win "so many gold medals." Suman Rao had shared in the same interview that, "The stories of her struggles and achievements really inspire me."
4. Suman Rao loves to dance
For her Miss World 2019 talent round, Suman Rao performed a dance that she dedicated to actress Priyanka Chopra, who won the Miss World crown in 2000. "This dance sequence is a tribute to Priyanka Chopra, Miss World 2000. I chose this medley because it truly represents why Priyanka continues to inspire women across the world today with her voice and continuing campaigning for social issues. An example of how the work of a Miss World is never done," Suman shared in a video. The dance was a combination of Kathak, a classical Indian dance, and contemporary Bollywood, making for a "mixture of old and new."
5. Suman Rao is passionate about 'Project Pragati'
One of the highest honours a Miss World contestant can receive is being recognised for her ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ initiative. During the Miss World competition, some of the quarter-finalists were selected based on working with the most relevant and important charity projects in their home country. In 2019, Suman Rao finished in the Top 10 for ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ because of her work with 'Project Pragati,' which helps underprivileged women in her community achieve financial independence. The project helps women start businesses like soap-making or assembling decorative handicrafts and jewellery, in villages where women don’t otherwise have employment opportunities. Their products are sold in a nearby market and online, shared Rao in a video.