B.C.’s South Asian contestants for Miss Universe Canada discuss their heritage (w/gallery)

Published: May 22, 2014

Picture 1 of 11

Mina Khtaria


The annual Miss Universe Canada pageant, which kicked off in Toronto on Thursday, is a true representation of the country’s multiculturalism.

Miss Universe Canada

Miss Universe Canada Sahar Biniaz. AFP/Getty Images

As more than 60 diverse Canadian women compete for the 2014 crown, Vancouver’s very own Miss Universe Canada 2012, Sahar Biniaz — who was born in India and raised in Iran — reflected on how her cultural background plays “a huge role” in her everyday life, which ultimately helped in her pageant success.

“You have to use it to your advantage and make sure to be very positive about it,” Biniaz said from her New York City home. “It represents multiculturalism — and that’s what Canada is all about anyway.”

Being born in India, she’s learned about tradition and respect for elders, while being raised in Iran has helped develop the “sense of gratitude” she has for being Canadian.

“Women in Iran can’t compete in pageants — if they do, they’ll be going to jail or even they can be killed,” said Biniaz. “In that sense, because I’m a Canadian, it really gives me a confidence that I’m not only doing this for me, but I’m doing it for so many other people around the world who might not have had this opportunity.”

And although Biniaz was unable to compete in the international Miss Universe pageant due to a foot injury, she was pleased the runner-up who took her place, Adwoa Yamoah from Calgary, was able to represent Canada’s multiculturalism as an African-Canadian.

Miss Universe Canada 2014 will be crowned Saturday night in Toronto.

A total of 15 women from B.C. have travelled to Toronto to compete for the Miss Universe Canada crown. Vancouver Desi caught up with B.C.’s four South Asian contestants to see how their culture influences them, while asking some pageant-style questions.

Click through the pages to find out what each contestant had to say.

Related stories:

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


India pachydermal love story

Indian elephant heartbroken after partner’s death

VANCOUVER DESI An elephant in India has been diagnosed with a broken heart after its partner died on Tuesday, according to the Hindustan Times. The…
Continue Reading »

Police tape

Woman found dead in Abbotsford park identified as Mission resident

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police have identified a woman found dead in Mill Lake Park on Wednesday morning as a 36-year-old Mission resident. The…
Continue Reading »

monkey man

India employs men dressed in ape suits to scare away monkeys from parliament

VANCOUVER DESI The Indian government has hired ape-men or men dressed as langurs to scare off monkeys from the parliament and government buildings, according to…
Continue Reading »


Police tape

Woman found dead in Abbotsford park identified as Mission resident

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police have identified a woman found dead in Mill Lake Park on Wednesday morning as a 36-year-old Mission resident. The…
Continue Reading »

medical distress

RCMP seek public’s help to identify woman found in medical distress in Burnaby

VANCOUVER DESI The Burnaby RCMP are seeking public’s help in identifying an unknown woman who was found “in medical distress” on Wednesday. Police said she…
Continue Reading »


Surrey councillor Barinder Rasode set to launch next phase of “summer engagement series”

VANCOUVER DESI As she gears up for the upcoming Surrey election this fall, city councillor Barinder Rasode is launching the next phase of her “summer…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...


Minor allegedly raped by temple priest in southern India

HINDUSTAN TIMES An 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a temple priest in Bangalore on Tuesday, less than a month after a seven-year-old was raped…
Continue Reading »


Miss Diva 2014 gears up for auditions

IANS New Delhi – Miss Diva, that was launched last year as an official franchise from India for Miss Universe, is set to start auditions…
Continue Reading »

Scene from Airtel's latest commercial. YouTube/Screengrab.

Indian telecom company’s not so progressive ad featuring a “boss wife” causes Twitter reaction

IANS New Delhi  – Is a woman who calls the shots in the office then goes home to cook for her husband – who’s also…
Continue Reading »

child death

Toddler falls into pot of boiling syrup, dies

  IANS New Delhi – A three-year-old boy died after he fell into a pot of boiling sugar syrup, police said here Wednesday. The child,…
Continue Reading »

Merritt music festival

Headdresses banned from Merritt music festival out of respect to First Nations

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI An electronic music festival this B.C. Day long weekend in Merritt has banned native headdresses from its campgrounds. “Bass Coast Festival…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest


Kick: Salman Khan, Sajid Nadiadwala kick up a storm

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Kick”; Cast: Salman Khan, Randeep Hooda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Jacqueline Fernandez; Director: Sajid Nadiadwala; Rating: **** “Kick toh banta hai,…
Continue Reading »


Indian author pens sequel to Jeffrey Archer’s ‘First Among Equals’ for Bollywood film

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Mumbai – In what must qualify as a first in the field of literary adaptations, author-columnist Anish Trivedi has written a…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan joins hands with Indian TV channel to host Indian version of “Got Talent”

IANS Mumbai – Superstar Shah Rukh Khan has joined hands with Hindi general entertainment channel Colors for his return to the small screen. He will…
Continue Reading »