Although she entered the beauty contest more for fun and stayed the course till she became Miss World, she says she was never enamoured by the bright lights of being a celebrity. Being a doctor was more important to her.
"I knew after a few months of this Miss World title that it wasn't for me," she says. "I was six months away from qualifying as a doctor when I won the title. One does not enter a medical course without wanting to pursue it. This Miss World title was such a fleeting moment that I wasn't prepared to let it change my life.
"I didn't think it would suit me. It wasn't what I wanted out of life. I wanted to help people. If I had got into show business or become an actress, I don't know what my life would have been; it certainly wouldn't have involved a one-to-one interaction with patients."
She could have given joy to millions had she gone into acting, I suggest.
"I didn't think it would be the kind of life that suited me," she readily admits. "I didn't want too many people to influence my life. I wanted to make the decisions. When it comes to glamour, you have to present yourself in a certain way all the time; you cannot be yourself, you can't go out, you can't be a private person. It didn't scare me; I just felt uncomfortable in it. I wasn't going to put up with it."
I mention other opportunities like modelling or television shows that she could have pursued. "I have never, never regretted my decision," she says, in reply.
Image: Reita Faria (right) with the legendary American entertainer Bob Hope. The Indian government was unamused that the Miss World traveled with Hope to South Vietnam to meet with American soldiers at a time when New Delhi supported Ho Chi Minh's Communist government in North Vietnam.
Photograph: Courtesy Reita Faria
Also read: 'I have two specific memories of Reita Faria'