Johannesburg: Shilpa Govan has been named the inaugural Miss Zee TV South Africa despite not reaching one of the top three positions.
Krisna Priya Dasa, whose late father was Italian, was named the first India-born Miss India South Africa 2015. She will join more than 20 other young women from the Indian Diaspora to vie for the title of Miss India Worldwide next year.
Dasa will also be introduced to Bollywood via Zee TV. Sherianne Pillay took second place and Natasha Pounadu the third position.
Explaining how Govan had won the separate Miss Zee TV title, Harish Goyal, chief executive officer of the company in South Africa, said a Zee TV panel had done the judging earlier in the week and she stood out above the rest of the other contestants.
"We will send these winners to India and introduce them not only to our own producers for the various programs on Zee TV channels, but also to the broader Bollywood environment," Goyal told PTI.
Impressed by the quality of the participants in the contest, Goyal announced after the company's participation for the first time in its 23-year history that several of the other entrants would also be considered for roles in some of the drama series broadcast by the company.
"We are also thrilled that some of the participants who are finishing studies in business and economic areas will be recognised through Zee TV South Africa, which will give them jobs in an environment where young women, and in particular Indian young women, are finding it difficult to get employment," said Farook Khan, who initiated the pageant as an empowerment vehicle for South African women.
Govan, a final year marketing student, said she was overwhelmed by her prize.
"I am so grateful for this prize and I am ecstatic about the opportunities in Bollywood," Govan said, adding that she would work with anyone in Bollywood in whatever capacity.
Dasa though chose Akshay Kumar as the actor she would most like to work with if the opportunity arose.
"That's because he can do good action; he does romance and good comedy and above all he keeps his decency in is films, which I love," Dasa said.