Shirin Akter Shela is the first Miss Universe Bangladesh 2019. She was crowned last week, on 23rd October, by Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen (who was also Miss Universe 1994), at a beauty pageant organised in Dhaka. This is the first time someone from Bangladesh and from a Muslim-majority country in South Asia will compete the title of Miss Universe. Shirin’s journey began with registration for the pageant in July 2019, along 12000+ other participants. This was followed by an elimination process and three months of boot camp, after which the winner was selected.
Bangladesh will be the first Muslim-majority country in South Asia to compete for the title of #MissUniverse.— Sameera Khan (@SameeraKhan) November 4, 2019
5’11” beauty Shirin Akhtar was crowned last week & will represent Bangladesh at #MissUniverse2019 next month. Also competing from South Asia - India, Nepal, & Sri Lanka. pic.twitter.com/M0dOCh9Dor
Alisha Islam became the first runner-up while Jessia Islam was the second-runner up in the competition.
Shirin, 5’11, hails from Thakurgaon and is a third year graduate Physics student at the University of Dhaka. Her father is a member of the Border Guard Bangladesh and Shirin grew up watching him fight for the country. During the pageant she revealed how he was a ‘great inspiration’ for her and said she would also work for the ‘betterment’ of her country which begins with her winning Miss Universe Bangladesh.
Shirin has been in the limelight since last year. In 2018, she participated in Miss Bangladesh World and was among the top ten contestants. She has also been declared the best female model of Face of Bangladesh 2019 and represented Bangladesh at Face of Asia 2019, which took place in Seoul, South Korea.
Now Shirin will be an ambassador for Bangladesh at the 68th edition of Miss Universe, taking place in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States, on 8th December, in which top models from 130 countries are going to participate. While this is the first time Bangladesh is competing in this international pageant, the country has been sending participants to the Miss World contest since 1994 but they did not receive placements. In Miss World 2017 and 2018, participants from Bangladesh finally made it to the Top 40 and Top 30 lists, respectively.