Vida Samadzai

Vida Samadzai

Vida Samadzai (b. February 22, 1978) is Miss Afghanistan 2003. As the first Afghan woman to participate in an international beauty pageant since 1974, her appearance in a red bikini in the 2003 edition of Miss Earth pageant created controversy in her native country. [ [ - Beauty prize for Miss Afghanistan - Nov. 10, 2003 ] ] [ [ Worldandnation: England's queen is grandmother again ] ]

Samadzai, an ethnic Pashtun, was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, and moved to the U.S. in 1996. She is a student at California State University, Fullerton and has a double major in Advertising and Speech Communications.She speaks five languages fluently and is involved with helping the Afghan Refugees in Pakistan. Her life ambition is to work for the United Nations and be a leader and helper for Afghan women whose rights were suppressed for over a decade. [ [,news,3291,00.php Vida Samadzai (Miss. Afghanistan) to compete as the first afghan beauty queen. - ] ] [ [ :: Xinhuanet - English :: ] ] [ [ Vida Samadzai, Afghan Beauty Queen, Banned » Female Beauty ] ]

Samadzai said her participation in the contest sent out a powerful message to her fellow countrywomen. Samadzai also helped found a US-based women's charity that seeks to raise awareness of women's rights and education in the Afghanistan. [ [ Lauded at pageant, woman condemned by Afghan officials - News ] ]

She was the second Miss Afghanistan to take part in a beauty contest since Zohra Daoud was crowned Miss Afghanistan in 1974. Her participation in the Miss Earth beauty pageant in 2003 was condemned by the Afghan Supreme Court, saying such a display of the female body goes against Islamic law and Afghan culture. In particular, traditionalists objected to her appearance in a red bikini during the pageant's press presentation. She was given a special "Beauty for a Cause" award at that year's Miss Earth competition. [ [,2933,102603,00.html - Miss Afghanistan Takes Prize at Miss Earth Contest - U.S. & World ] ] [ [ BBC NEWS | South Asia | Afghan beauty queen makes history ] ]

Her participation in the beauty contest can be considered to be a sharp contrast to the beliefs of the former Taliban regime, which demanded that women wear coverings, or burqas, from head to toe whenever they went out in public. [ [ World Briefing | Asia: Afghanistan: Anti-Pageant Judges - New York Times ] ] [ [ Afghan women's organization in "Miss Earth" show - Indymedia Ireland ] ] [ [ The Wall Street Journal Online - Best of the Web Today ] ]

The following year, Samadzai returned to the Philippines. She was among the 11 jurors who helped choose Priscilla Meirelles as Miss Earth 2004 [ [ Miss Brazil Crowned Miss Earth 2004 - ] ] ; on coronation night, the young women’s rights activist wore a gown, saying: “I don’t know if they’ll have a problem this time because I’m not showing any skin or wearing a swimsuit”. [ [ Pakistan Times | Top Story: Afghan's Controversial 'Swimsuit' Contestant rejoins Pageant ] ]

On May 1, 2005, Vida Samadzai won the Ms. America ® 2005-06 Pageant. [ [ Ms America Pageant website] ]

On July 3, 2005 she represented the United States at Miss Tourism Queen International 2005, where she was named the first Miss Personality in the pageant's history.


*:"I would like to make people aware that, as Afghan women, we are talented, intelligent and beautiful."

*:"Now, women can go to school, go to work, they're free. They don't have to wear those long burqas anymore."

*:"If I offended some people, some women in Afghanistan, I apologize. I represent myself. Afghan women should be allowed to do anything they want. Their rights shouldn’t be suppressed. They should speak their mind, to be whatever they want to be."


External links

* [] - personal website
* [] - read Vida's latest interview on her life with death threats, and her upcoming Bollywood career
* [ Detailed page about her and her participation in Miss Earth 2003]
* [,news,3291,00.php "Vida Samadzai to compete as first Afghan beauty queen"] - Afghanmania article dated October 24, 2003
* [ "Beauty contest gives special award to Afghan contestant"] - MSNBC article dated November 10, 2003

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