Preeti Desai (Gujarati: પ્રીતિ દેસાઇ) (born 29 September 1981) is a British actress, model and former Miss Great Britain, of Gujarati Indian descent. She made history by becoming the first woman of Indian origin to win the title.
Born in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England, to Hemlata (Niak) and Jitendra Desai, who have a pyrotechnics company. Her father is Gujarati Indian from Kenya, Africa and her mother, who is from Uganda, is from a Gujarati Indian family. Her younger sibling Anjlee Desai, is a singer, songwriter.
Preeti made her acting debut with acclaimed film Shor in the City (2011) and was nominated for Best Lead Actress at South Asian Rising Star Film Awards in New York City in October 2012 presented by SAIFF and HBO. Desai is listed as the Times of India’s 50 Most Desirable Women and People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2011.
Preeti resides between Los Angeles and London.
Miss Great Britain (2006–2007)
Preeti Desai was crowned Miss Cleveland and then went on to win Miss Great Britain in 2007. A British Indian, she was the first woman of Indian heritage to win the title. She was crowned Miss Great Britain after the previous winner was disqualified and the Country voted her to take over as the winner.
Desai moved to London from the North East of England to carry out her role as ambassador of Great Britain.
Desai supported organisations like Mind and Carers Week, which took her to 10 Downing Street to have tea with then Prime Minister Gordon Brown to highlight the work of the charities, and to the Houses of Parliament to get MP’s to team up with her in support of Carers Week.
Desai moved to Mumbai in 2008 and was represented by ace photographer Atul Kasbekar and started her career as a fashion model when she appeared on the cover of L’officiel magazine with super star Shahrukh Khan as her 1st assignment, following straight after with her 2nd assignment the Kingfisher calendar 2008. Desai was also selected to be solely on the cover of the Kingfisher Calendar special edition.
In the same year Desai appeared on the October cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. Desai soon became a favourite in the Indian fashion industry and walked for all the big designers, fashion weeks and appeared on more magazine covers.
In October 2009 Desai was announced as the new face of the retail apparel company Provogue, along with Indian actor Hrithik Roshan. Desai also featured with Italian designer Leonardo Ferragamo of Salvatore Ferragamo Italia S.p.A. for L’Officiel magazine, and walked for fashion designer Christopher Kane in a Fashion Week.
Desai got herself a super model status in India in the short span of two years before she started filming for her first feature film and moved on to acting in 2011.