When Suman Rao was crowed Miss India World 2019, the CA student knew the value of the win: it would now open doors for her community in Rajasthan, which is distant from the world of modelling.
Born in Rajasthan's Aaidana village near Udaipur city, Rao's family shifted to Mumbai when she was one year old.
On Saturday, when she was adjudged the winner of fbb Colors Femina Miss India World, she said the victory was an extremely emotional moment.
"I had tears in my eyes but I didn't cry. In fact, we didn't get the time to cry, because we had to click a lot of pictures.
"Later I went to meet my family members who were waiting to see me. I was so happy, I just forgot about crying," Suman told PTI.
The 20-year-old winner said the Miss India journey was like a school where she kept learning everyday.
"I come from a conservative background. Modelling is a big thing for my community. I am also the first model from my community. And I come from a non-pageantry background, had no clue what it was. I started practising a year ago," she said.
Being the first woman from Rajasthan's Rao community to go for modelling was a "a big thing" in her family.
"When I was shortlisted for the top three, the change begun. The entire community is now proud of me. The ones who were waiting for someone to take the initiative to bring about change, they are happy and say 'you've done a great thing. Now we can do what we want' because someone took the first step. They see me as a ray of hope," she added.
At the ceremony, Chhattisgarh's Shivani Jadhav, an engineer, was crowned Miss Grand India 2019, while management student Shreya Shanker from Bihar won Miss India United Continents 2019 title.
Telangana's Sanjana Vij was adjudged as Miss India Runner Up 2019.