Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen: An epitome of beauty and intelligence

11 Apr 2020 | Camilla Suarez

Sushmita Sen was crowned Femina Miss India in 1994 and represented India at Miss Universe 1994 on 21 May 1994 at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay, Philippines. Sushmita was 18-years-old when she won the title of Miss Universe 1994 and since then she has gone onto be a successful actress, model, and epitome of grace and womanhood. She is one of the successful beauty queens from India who has inspired a thousand young girls to dream and work hard toward their goals. Many women have seen their idol in her and many more who will learn her story will see her as their role model. Through the years she continues to set an example and lead by example.

Sushmita was born in Hyderabad, India and grew up in a middle-class family. The diva was passionate about beauty pageants and when she got an opportunity like Femina Miss India 1994, she grabbed onto it. She had plans of pursuing a career in journalism but dropped the idea when fame came calling and decided to complete it after the pageant. Sushmita’s parents were on board with the idea of their daughter entering the pageant world but she was very adamant that she will participate in the beauty pageant and win it. She was the first Indian to win the title. The gown she wore for the final round was not a designer gown by some high-end brand. It was stitched by a local tailor and even her gloves were made from socks. Since Sushmita belonged to a typical middle-class family, this was all that they could afford, but it was enough for her to win the competition.



A post shared by Sushmita Sen (@sushmitasen47) on


During the Miss Universe 1994 Pageant when she was asked, “If she has lots of money, where would she invest?” And she answered that she would love to invest in children, take care of children, or do something for them because children bring out the best in you and give peace. She is truly living up to her words!

After completing her reign as Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen decided to pursue a career in Bollywood. In 1996, she made her acting debut in 'Dastak' along with Sharad Kapoor and Mukul Dev. The following year, she starred in 1997 Tamil blockbuster, 'Ratchagan'. Sushmita then appeared in David Dhawan's movie 'Biwi No.1' opposite Salman Khan, which earned her the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award in 1999. The film did very well commercially and went on to become the second highest-grossing film of the year. That same year she was also nominated for her role in ‘Sirf Tum’ in the same category.

Sushmita is one of her interviews who stated, “The reason why I wanted to be famous! No one's asked me that one so I am going to tell it now. I have always thought that a person is born, lives his life, goes through life in a certain way, maybe does some good things that everyone applauds... maybe your family, maybe your friends. But when you die, you want to have touched a few more lives. You want people to feel the loss when you go and miss you. I want to be famous because I want my fans to become my extended family."



A post shared by Sushmita Sen (@sushmitasen47) on


Miss Universe Organization asked Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen to select and send the representatives from India at Miss Universe beauty pageants. The queen set up an organization, ‘I AM She – Miss India Universe’ was a national beauty pageant in India that used to send its winner to Miss Universe pageant from 2010 to 2012. In 2013, Femina Miss India was awarded the franchise back after I AM She – Miss Universe India concluded their contract with the Miss Universe Organization. A separate pageant Miss Diva is held to send delegates from 2013 onwards. The reigning Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez crowned the very first I AM She - Miss India Universe 2010 Ushoshi Sengupta.

Sushmita Sen raised eyebrows when at a young age of 25, she decided to adopt a baby girl named Renée in 2000. However, at the time since she was young and single, Sushmita was challenged in the High Court as the idea of a single parent was socially questioned. But she won and took her baby home. In 2010, she adopted a second baby girl, named Alisah.

Recently, Sushmita’s boyfriend Rohman Shawl and daughters Renee and Alisah crowned her yet again as they celebrated 25 years of her being crowned Miss Universe. Sushmita tweeted a photograph of a cake decorated with a tiara. She captioned it: “What a journey! Thank you, my Motherland India, for giving me my proudest identity. The love, respect, and adulation I have been showered with for 25 years are undoubtedly my life’s greatest earning!”



A post shared by Sushmita Sen (@sushmitasen47) on


A good proof of the hard work that she is capable of can be gauged from the fact that Sush had studied in a Hindi medium school, so she was not fluent in English. However, at the age of 16, the actress decided to learn English and soon mastered it. Today, if you hear all her interviews for the beauty pageant, you will never be able to guess that the language was still new to her. The actress is a philanthropist at heart. The cause that is closest to her heart is that of the development of the girl child and the education of the girls. She also heads a foundation that works for the cause, and its name is I AM. Time and again, she is seen working and promoting her foundations, and even walks the ramp for it.

Sushmita Sen is a feminist icon for most of the women across the globe who want to be strong, independent and determined towards achieving their goals. The diva once stated, “I walk with my head held high against all odds. I am never afraid to walk the least treaded paths. I know that society gets a series of hiccups with my moves. But I am tall enough to stand for myself and my choices.” The actress has made it clear right from the start that she is not someone who stands in a group. She is a distinct person, with distinct choices that she does not attempt to hide. One such choice is her love for snakes. She loves then so much that there was a time when she had a python as her pet. She also has two dogs as her pets.



A post shared by Sushmita Sen (@sushmitasen47) on


Even after all these years, the actress still maintains a perfect figure. The credit goes to her love for yoga. She is extremely regular with her practice and follows her routines religiously. She can mirror her instructor’s moves and she is proud of her fitness mantra. She has been promoting it for quite a while now. Sushmita Sen is the epitome of beauty mixed with intelligence, grace, and elegance. She somewhere proves a point to all women that “life is a one-time offer, and thus you should enjoy every bit of it”. In all her interviews and social media posts, she is always challenging those norms of society that is detrimental to the “growth of women”. Now, that is a role model she ought to be and she is for the young women out there who are afraid to take the first step.