Sujita Basnet, a non-resident Nepali residing in the US, was crowned Miss Universe Nepal 2021.

Miss Universe Nepal 2020 Anshika Sharma crowned Basnet at the grand finale of the pageant held at Hotel Yak and Yeti, Durbar Marg on October 30.

Twenty-eight-year old Basnet took home the coveted crown after impressing the judges with her insightful answer in the Top 5 round.

To the question, 'If you could be a leader in any sector which one would you choose, and why?', Basnet answered: "If I were to be a leader in any sector I would choose technology. We live in a world where technology drives everything that we do. What is technology? It is innovation, it is cure. We live in a time where we have been facing COVID-19, a worldwide virus and because of technology we were able to find a solution. So, if I were to be a leader of any industry, it would be technology because our entire world, the universe needs innovation. We need a cure and we need the future to understand and communicate with each other about what is going on in our world. And through technology, we are able to accomplish all of these things.

So, I would choose to be a leader in technology."

Basnet, who was also the first runner-up in the Miss Universe Nepal 2020, won a cash prize of Rs 1,000,000 along with the crown.

She will represent Nepal in the Miss Universe contest to be held in Israel in December. Basnet also bagged two subtitles - Miss Fierce and Miss Fabulous.

Similarly, Nina Kant Mandal, the second runner-up in the Miss Universe Nepal 2020, became the first runner-up.

Rakchya Upreti was named the second runner-up, Pratiksha Mahara Chhetri became the third runner-up while Dr Keshu Khadka was the fourth runner-up.

Upreti also won the Social Impact Leader subtitle for her video about mental health issues of children.

She was chosen as the winner based on public voting (50 per cent) and judges' decisions (50 per cent). Sagun Gurung and Bibhuti Gautam became winners of the People's Choice Award - receiving the highest number of votes from the public. All three winners got direct entry to the Top 10 of the finale. Mandal bagged two subtitles - Miss Lifestyle and Miss Free and Fearless.

The contest had selected top 50 quarter-finalists from 107 applicants.

Then top 16 semi-finalists were selected from amongst them.

The top 10 were selected from top 16 in the grand finale, followed by the selection of top 5. The pageant had a six-member all-female judging panel comprising make-up artist Sneh Rana, former Miss India Ritu Singh Vaidya; former Miss Nepal Ishani Shrestha, media personality Sareeta Gyawali, motivational speaker and corporate trainer Mannsi Agrawal, and singer Indira Joshi.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 31, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.