- Vida Samadzai
Vida Samadzai (b.
February 22, 1978) is Miss Afghanistan 2003. As the first Afghanwoman to participate in an international beauty pageantsince 1974, her appearance in a red bikiniin the 2003 edition of Miss Earthpageant created controversy in her native country. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/central/11/09/afghan.beauty/index.html CNN.com - Beauty prize for Miss Afghanistan - Nov. 10, 2003 ] ] [ [http://www.sptimes.com/2003/11/10/Worldandnation/England_s_queen_is_gr.shtml 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, Fullertonand has a double major in Advertising and Speech Communications.She speaks five languages fluently and is involved with helping the Afghan Refugeesin Pakistan. Her life ambition is to work for the United Nationsand be a leader and helper for Afghan women whose rights were suppressed for over a decade. [ [http://www.afghanmania.com/en/news/0,news,3291,00.php Vida Samadzai (Miss. Afghanistan) to compete as the first afghan beauty queen. - AfghanMania.com ] ] [ [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2003-11/10/content_1169790.htm :: Xinhuanet - English :: ] ] [ [http://www.femalebeauty.info/2006/vida-samadzai-afghan-beauty-queen-banned.html 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. [ [http://media.www.michigandaily.com/media/storage/paper851/news/2003/11/10/News/Lauded.At.Pageant.Woman.Condemned.By.Afghan.Officials-1420183.shtml Lauded at pageant, woman condemned by Afghan officials - News ] ]
She was the second
Miss Afghanistanto take part in a beauty contest since Zohra Daoudwas crowned Miss Afghanistanin 1974. Her participation in the Miss Earth beauty pageantin 2003 was condemned by the Afghan Supreme Court, saying such a display of the female body goes against Islamic lawand Afghan culture. In particular, traditionalists objected to her appearance in a red bikiniduring the pageant's press presentation. She was given a special " Beauty for a Cause" award at that year's Miss Earth competition. [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,102603,00.html FOXNews.com - Miss Afghanistan Takes Prize at Miss Earth Contest - U.S. & World ] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3208417.stm 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
Talibanregime, which demanded that women wear coverings, or burqas, from head to toe whenever they went out in public. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B07E3DC1430F933A05753C1A9659C8B63 World Briefing | Asia: Afghanistan: Anti-Pageant Judges - New York Times ] ] [ [http://www.indymedia.ie/article/62098?condense_comments=true Afghan women's organization in "Miss Earth" show - Indymedia Ireland ] ] [ [http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110004216 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 Meirellesas Miss Earth 2004[ [http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?referrerid=38048&t=138545 Miss Brazil Crowned Miss Earth 2004 - WTAworld.com ] ] ; on coronation night, the young women’s rights activistwore 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”. [ [http://pakistantimes.net/2004/10/25/top10.htm Pakistan Times | Top Story: Afghan's Controversial 'Swimsuit' Contestant rejoins Pageant ] ]
On May 1, 2005, Vida Samadzai won the Ms. America ® 2005-06 Pageant. [ [http://www.msamerica.tv/content/view/27/56/ Ms America Pageant website] ]
On July 3, 2005 she represented the
United Statesat 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."
* [http://www.vidasamadzai.com/ www.VidaSamadzai.com] - personal website
* [http://www.lifeofamodel.com/miss_afghanistan.html Lifeofamodel.com] - read Vida's latest interview on her life with death threats, and her upcoming Bollywood career
* [http://afghanland.com/entertainment/missafg2003.html Detailed page about her and her participation in Miss Earth 2003]
* [http://www.afghanmania.com/en/news/0,news,3291,00.php "Vida Samadzai to compete as first Afghan beauty queen"] - Afghanmania article dated October 24, 2003
* [http://www.msnbc.com/news/990993.asp?0cv=CB20&cp1=1 "Beauty contest gives special award to Afghan contestant"] - MSNBC article dated November 10, 2003
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