Kiran Jassal, a 20-year-old NRI of Punjabi origin, will represent Malaysia at the Miss Universe Finals next week.
Born as Kiranmeet Kaur Baljeet Singh Jassal in 1996, Kiran Jassal won Miss Universe Malaysia title in 2016 and was awarded ‘Miss My Dentist Winning Smile’ subsidiary title.
Kiran’s family shifted to Malaysia decades ago and is based in the suburbs of Subang Jaya town of Selangor state.
She was trained in classical harmonium for nine years from the age of seven. She finished her A-Levels at Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar and was accepted into the dentistry programme at International Medical University (IMU).
Participating and winning beauty pageants are testament to this family’s pride in their beauty and grace.
Jassal is the youngest in a family of four. Her mother, lawyer Ranjit Kaur, was the winner of the Classic Mrs Malaysia title in 2015 while her sister Ranmeet, 25, is the Miss Grand International Malaysia 2016 and Miss Malaysia World 2016 first runner-up.
The Jassal sisters grew up admiring and idolising beauty queens Miss World 1994 Aishwarya Rai and Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen, Malaysian website Star2 said in a report.
“Their stories resonated strongly with me because they did something else with their lives other than just being a beauty queen, especially with Sushmita Sen as she did a lot of charity work outside of Miss Universe,” Kiran said.
According to Kiran, beauty pageants are good platforms for younger women to voice their opinions.
“Beauty pageants could be used to gain fame and publicity. But I think if it is used right, you can get the public recognition to raise awareness and bring light to certain causes as you have a huge target audience,” she said.
Her sister Ranmeet, a medical graduate of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in India, says the perception of beauty pageants has changed over the years.
“More women who are equally good in education are taking the initiative because it is a good platform to educate and inspire young women,” she said.
Kiran is one of the celebrity ambassadors for Malaysia AIDS Foundation.
The 65th Miss Universe 2016 finals will take place in Manila, Phillipines on 20 January 2017.