Dia Mirza, (born on December 9, 1981) Dia Mirza Handrich nicknamed Dee is a Indian model and actress who appears in Bollywood films. The actress along with her boyfriend Sahil Sanghaand good friend Zayed Khan has started her own production house, Born Free Entertainment, their first film Love Breakups Zindagi made under the banner was released on 7 October 2011.
Personal life and education
Dia Mirza was born in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Her father, Frank Handrich, was a German graphic and industrial fair designer, architect, artist and interior designer from Munich and her mother, Deepa is a Bengali Hindu who is an interior designer, landscaper and currently does social work as a volunteer to help alcoholics and addicts. They separated when she was six years old. Her father died when she was nine and her mother married Ahmed Mirza, who died in 2004. She adopted her steppfather's surname and has recently adopted the last name of her birth-father, becoming Dia Mirza Handrich.
When living in Khairatabad, Hyderabad district, she attended Vidyaranya High School for Boys And Girls, a school based on the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti, and later Nasr School, in Khairtabad. She attended Stanley Junior College and completed her graduation in Bachelors of Arts from Andhra Pradesh Open University, Hyderabad.
Diya Mirza started working at the age of 16 years while continuing her college education. She worked as a marketing executive in a multi-media firm called Dr. Neeraj’s Multi media studio. She simultaneously modelled for the print and television advertisement campaigns of various brands such as Walls, Lipton, Emami etc.Mirza wanted to complete her graduation in Arts by correspondence, but decided to postpone it as it was becoming difficult to juggle between the Miss Asia Pacific competition, modeling assignments, travelling and training.
Miss Asia Pacific
Diya Mirza was a second runner up at Femina Miss India, 2000 and was subsequently sent to Miss Asia Pacific, where she won. When she won the Miss Asia Pacific title on 3 December 2000 in Manila, Philippines, she became the first Indian contestant to win this title in 29 years. She completed the hat-trick of India winning international pageants in the year 2000; Lara Dutta won the Miss Universe title and Priyanka Chopra won the Miss World title in the same year.
Diya Mirza made her cinematic debut with Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein opposite R. Madhavan. Although the film was not a box office success, she appeared in Parineeta, a Vidhu Vinod Chopra production. She also starred in the music video, Kajara Mohabbat Wala alongside Sonu Nigam from his album Kajara Nite. The album contained multiple remixes, but was mainly advertised with the title song, sung by Sonu Nigam and Alisha Chinai.She also appeared in the films Dus and Fight Club. She was the only female actor among the six key characters in the film, Acid Factory in which she played a femme fatale who is also a gangster.
Diya Mirza has been involved with Cancer Patients Aid Association, Spastics Society of India, and has worked extensively with government of Andhra Pradesh to spread HIV awareness, prevention of female foeticide, PETA, CRY and most recently the NDTV Greenathon – an effort to find tangible solutions against pollution and book, "Deke Dheko" by Radio Mirchi (a campaign initiated to collect books for underprivileged children). Her other hobbies include writing, reading, painting, pottery, horse riding and theater. She has written several articles for The Hindustan Times and various other publications as a guest writer. She is on the board of the Coca Cola foundation that works towards development in rural India. She recently adopted 2 cheetah cubs at the Prince of Wales zoological park in Lucknow.