Vida Samadzai performing at a Water Kingdom event in May 2012
|Born||February 22, 1978
Khost Province, Afghanistan
Vida Samadzai (born February 22, 1978) is a Afghan-American actress, model and beauty pageant titleholder who was Miss Afghanistan in 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. She also entered in the fifth season of the reality television show Bigg Boss.
Samadzai, an ethnic Pashtun, was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, and moved to the United States in 1996. She graduated from California State University at Fullerton and became a citizen of the U.S. Samadzai also helped found a US-based women's charity that seeks to raise awareness of women's rights and education in the Afghanistan.
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.
The following year, Samadzai returned to the pageant and was among the 11 jurors who helped choose Priscilla Meirelles as 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".
Awards and achievements
On May 1, 2005, Vida Samadzai won the Ms. America 2005-06 pageant.
- As Contestant
Evicted Day 49
- Beauty prize for Miss Afghanistan, CNN.com, 10 November 2003
- Miss Afghanistan named "beauty for a cause', St. Petersburg Times, 10 November 2003.
- "Models, wrestler, transgender: Bigg Boss 5 inmates". Indiavision news. October 3, 2011.
- "Miss Afghanistan wins award at Miss Earth", Chinaview.cn, 10 November 2003.
- Vida Samadzai, Afghan Beauty Queen, Banned, FemaleBeauty.info, 5 September 2006.
- Lauded at pageant, woman condemned by Afghan officials, Michigan Daily, 10 November 2003.
- "Miss Afghanistan Takes Prize at Miss Earth Contest", Associated Press, FOXNews.com, 10 November 2003.
- Afghan beauty queen makes history, BBC News, 23 October 2003.
- Asia: Afghanistan: Anti-Pageant Judges, The New York Times
- Afghan women's organization in "Miss Earth" show - Indymedia Ireland
- The Wall Street Journal Online - Best of the Web Today
- Ms.America Pageant website[dead link]