'Ecstatic' Nehal is crowned as Miss India UK
Nehal Bhogaita has been crowned Miss India UK after she beat hundreds of women to the top prize.
The profoundly deaf beauty therapist will now go on to compete in the international Miss India World competition next year.
The 24-year-old, who lives in the Abbey Lane area of Leicester, impressed judges who said she had captured their hearts from the moment they met her.
Nehal, who also works as a support worker for charity Action Deafness, said: "There are absolutely no words to describe how I feel. I feel elated and ecstatic, and I still cannot believe that a childhood dream of mine has finally come true.
"It still hasn't sunk in yet."
Nehal, who can lip-read and spoke through an interpreter during the competition, faced a question-and-answer session and two catwalk rounds and had to perform a dance.
When she was announced as the winner, Nehal said she was "in complete shock".
She said: "When they announced my number I was completely taken aback. I was not expecting it at all.
"On the day I felt I was there just for fun, I hadn't thought of it as a competition.
"I cried throughout the whole crowning ceremony in pure shock.
"The judges came back to me at the end and said that I instantly touched their hearts and they thought I showcased all the qualities to represent Miss India UK – beauty, grace, intelligence and personality.
"They treated me fairly and no different to any other contestant."
To get to the final, Nehal had to first compete in a regional heat in Birmingham, before the final in Oxford. Nehal will now represent the UK in the worldwide finals held in Malaysia in April or May, when she will compete against 45 women from around the globe.
"I hope I have inspired disabled and able-bodied people to fulfil their dreams and ambitions in life," she said.
"I wanted to break the norm and show nothing is impossible.
"I have faced many obstacles in life that have tried and tested me. It has always been a dream I never thought would be fulfilled but now it has, it has shown me that nothing is truly impossible."
Family, friends and colleagues from Action Deafness accompanied Nehal to the final.
Friend Nesha Modhvadia, 25, from Evington, Leicester, said: "We are so proud of her. When it was announced we were all in complete shock.
"This has been an amazing opportunity for her."