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Dia Mirza was born on 9th December in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Born to a Bengali mother, Deepa, and a German father, Frank Handrich, she grew up imbibing the value of different world views.
Having studied at J Krishnamurti School, where students get educated not by rote, but by resolute guidance to be free of social conditioning, Dia learnt to explore her many different facets from a young age. From being an assiduous reader to painting, dabbling in professional photography to adventure sports, she took to it all.
She valued financial independence and so she worked towards it from a relatively early age of 16 while continuing her education. With her looks, advertisement offers started pouring in. Shooting for known brands like Lipton and Walls Ice Cream gave her the confidence to dive deeper and participate in a beauty pageant that would go on to transform her fate.
Armed with the winning combination of beauty with brains, Dia stormed through the Miss India Contest and thereafter the Miss Asia-Pacific Pageant, winning the coveted title for India, after a wait of 29 long years.
The win made her an overnight sensation back home in India. But Dia isn’t one to rest on her laurels. She began training to be an actor in the Hindi Film Industry by attending theatre workshops conducted by the acclaimed director Feroz Abbas Khan. She soon transitioned into movies and debuted with Vashu Bhagnani’s Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, a movie is counted amongst India's most successful and loved Romantic Dramas.
In the last decade, Dia has appeared in several successful films, including the blockbuster Munnabhai series, Parineeta, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. and many more. In 2012, she forayed into regional cinema with Bengali Filmmaker Pratim Dasgupta's, Paanch Adhyay. The film didn't just see success in India, but was also screened by various Film Festivals across the world.
In the same year, Dia also added a new dimension to her cinematic career, by turning producer along with writer-director and now husband, Sahil Sangha to form Born Free Entertainment. The couple have successfully produced two acclaimed films, 'Love, Breakup, Zindagi' and 'Bobby Jasoos' under their banner.
Dia’s footprints though, go way beyond Films and far into the ethics of Conservation. She is a highly active and effective voice on Nature Conservancy in the country today. Besides being the Ambassador for the Swachh Bharat Mission's "Swachh Saathi" program, she is also the ambassador for Sanctuary Asia's Tiger Conservation program, a member of the governing board of the Sanctuary Nature Foundation, founder member of Wildlife Trust of India's Club Nature, the face of many pivotal environmental campaigns including NDTV's Greenathon, Cleanathon and Save the Tigers and has recently been appointed as the first Indian Ambassador for Save the Children, joining the likes of Julianne Moore and Cristiano Ronaldo. Organizations such as the Genesis Foundation, PETA and The Cancer Patient's association have also benefited from her close association with them.
Being fiercely independent as a person, Dia also wanted to acquire financial independence in her life from an early age. To support this requirement, she started working when she was 16, while she was continuing her education. Working full time as a marketing executive for Dr. Neeraj’s Multi Media Studio, she simultaneously started her modeling career.
Appearing on print and television advertisement frequently, she built her confidence to go and face the Miss Asia-Pacific title in 2000. Not only did she face it with gusto, but stormed through and emerged victorious, bringing us back the title after 29 years.
The win made her a sensation overnight. Dreaming to be a part of Bollywood, she started attending theatre workshops under the acclaimed theater director Feroz Khan. Then she smoothly transited to movies and debuted with Vashu Bhagnani’s Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, a movie which is one the most successful romantic movies from India.
Her acting prowess was recognized and she became a part of some of the biggest blockbusters from India. In the last decade, Dia has appeared in several successful movies, such as - Lagey Raho Munnabhai, Parineeta, Dum, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. and many more. In 2012, she forayed into regional cinema with Bengali Filmmaker Pratim Dasgupta – Paanch Adhyay. This movie has not only seen success in the country, but has also been selected by various Film Festivals within India and across the world.
Continuing her passion in the world of cinema, she turned producer with the launch of Born Free Entertainment, her own production house in partnership with writer-director, Sahil Sangha. Born Free’s first venture Love Break Ups Zindagi saw a successful release in October 2011.
Beside these, Dia is actively involved with several charitable organizations and events like NDTV Greenathon & Support my School campaign, PETA, SPCA, ADAPT and many more.
Armed with the winning combination of beauty with brains, Dia stormedthrough the Miss India Contest as she was the second runner up at Femina Miss India 2000
After Miss India Contest, Dia won the Miss Asia Pacific title on 3rd December 2000 & became the first Indian to win this title in 29 years. She completed the hat-trick of India winning international pageants in the year 2000 alongside Miss Universe Lara Dutta & Miss World Priyanka Chopra.