Former Miss Universe and actor Sushmita Sen celebrated 26 years of her Miss Universe win last week. It was Susmita Sen who had won the crown in 1994 and she became the first Indian to achieve this feat.
However, it is an unknown fact to most that she almost had lost the opportunity to take part in the pageant. In an interview given to journalist Rajiv Masand last year, Sushmita revealed the fact that she had lost her passport right before she was supposed to fly to the Philippines to participate in the event. She said, “It was given to AnupamaVerma, then a very famous model and she was also a coordinator for events. She had my passport for a show in Bangladesh. She needed it for some ID proofing. So I very confidently told Miss India, ‘Don’t worry my passport is very safely with AnupamaVerma’. She couldn’t find it. So she did take responsibility for it and she said ‘I don’t know what I have done’ but the timing of it was scary.”
Then arrived the real big shock for Sushmita as the organizers of Miss India recommended to send the Miss India pageant’s runner up, Aishwarya Rai in place of Sushmita to the Miss Universe pageant and Sushmita could later go to the Miss World pageant and this proposal didn’t go down well with Sushmita and it made her very angry.
“Because when you win something, rightfully so, you’re not requesting it. So we now have to come together and ensure that this gets done. It’s easy to say ‘Yea, well now we can’t find it. The passport is lost. Miss World is in November. You go later, we’ll figure out your passport till then.” Said Sushmita.
Sushmita Sen then spoke to her father about it and told him precisely that she wants to participate only in the Miss Universe Pageant, not the Miss World pageant which was suggested to her by the Miss India organizers. “I only cried in front of my father and I said, ‘Baba, I’m not going for anything else. I rightfully deserve to go for this. If I can’t go, nobody else will go for it’,” Sushmita further added.
Then her father Mr.Shubeer Sen who is a former Indian Air Force Wing Commander, sought assistance from the then Union Minister, late Rajesh Pilot, and told him that Sushmita should be getting all the help that she needs as she is going to represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant. Eventually, the passport matter got sorted out.
And, as they say, the rest is history as both Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai participated in the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants respectively and ended up making our country proud by becoming the Miss Universe and Miss World.
Both of them chose acting as their profession later on in their lives and even in today’s time, both are sought-after names in the Hindi film industry.