How Sushmita Sen Became the First Miss Universe of India (Miss World 1994)


Sushmita Sen is a name that resonates with beauty, grace, and empowerment in India and beyond. Born on 19th November 1975 in Hyderabad to a Bengali family, she has carved a niche for herself as an actress, model, entrepreneur, and a symbol of inspiration. Sushmita Sen‘s journey to becoming the first Miss Universe of India in 1994 is a story of determination, courage, and breaking stereotypes. In this blog, we will delve into the life of this remarkable woman, exploring her early years, her path to the first Miss Universe of India, her impact on society, and her enduring legacy.

The Early Years:

Sushmita Sen‘s journey towards global stardom began in her formative years. She attended the Air Force Golden Jubilee Institute and St. Ann’s High School in Secunderabad, where her interest in fashion and glamour started to blossom. Even at a young age, she exhibited a magnetic charm and an undeniable presence that would later serve as her ticket to fame.

In her pursuit of higher education, Sushmita Sen enrolled at the University of Delhi, where she pursued a degree in English Honors and Journalism. These formative years not only honed her intellect but also nurtured her passion for the world of glamour.

The Road to Femina Miss India:

In 1994, at the tender age of 18, Sushmita Sen decided to participate in the Femina Miss India pageant, a pivotal platform that could lead to international pageants such as Miss Universe and Miss World. This decision set the stage for a transformative journey, one that would challenge her in unimaginable ways.

The competition was fierce, and the standout rivalry was with none other than Aishwarya Rai, who was widely regarded as the favorite to clinch the title. But Sushmita Sen, armed with her confidence, intelligence, and undeniable charm, left an indelible mark on the judges to become first Miss Universe of India.

The Journey to Miss Universe:

Sushmita Sen‘s journey to the crown of first Miss Universe of India was far from easy. She faced a barrage of obstacles, including financial constraints, lack of support, limited experience, and minimal exposure. Unlike many of her competitors, she had to arrange her own wardrobe, makeup, and accessories. But these difficulties only made her more determined to the path of first Miss Universe of India.

Sushmita’s mother, Subhra Sen, played an essential role during this critical phase. Accompanying her daughter to the Philippines, where the Miss Universe pageant was held, she provided invaluable guidance and unwavering support.

The Historic Victory:

On May 21, 1994, Sushmita Sen etched her name in history by becoming the first Miss Universe of India. She triumphed over 76 contestants from across the globe, captivating millions with her stunning looks, graceful persona, and eloquent responses.

For the final round, Sushmita Sen donned an exquisite white gown designed by Indian designer Hemant Trivedi. Her response to the final question, “What is the essence of being a woman?” was delivered with a poise and confidence that left an enduring impression. Sushmita Sen expressed, “Being a woman is a precious gift from God that we all should cherish. Mothers, as women, are the source of a child’s existence, and they exemplify the qualities of sharing, caring, and love, revealing the true essence of womanhood to men.” This answer made her first Miss Universe of India.

Sushmita Sen was crowned Miss Universe 1994 by Dayanara Torres of Puerto Rico, who was the reigning Miss Universe at that time. Sushmita Sen became an instant celebrity and a role model for many young women in India and around the world by winning first Miss Universe of India. She received a warm welcome when she returned to India, where she was greeted by thousands of fans and media.

Impact and Legacy of First Miss Universe of India:

Sushmita Sen‘s victory at the Miss Universe pageant was a watershed moment for India and Indian women. It was a source of immense pride, inspiration, and empowerment for countless individuals. Her triumph shattered barriers and opened new doors of opportunity for Indian women in the realms of fashion, entertainment, and media.

Beyond her glamorous achievements, Sushmita Sen has used her fame and influence to champion various causes. She actively supports initiatives related to women’s rights, education, healthcare, the environment, and social welfare. Her dedication to these causes has further solidified her status as an icon of empowerment.

She also supported various charities and organizations such as Smile Foundation, CRY, I Am Foundation, and UNFPA. She also became an entrepreneur and launched her own production company called Tantra Entertainment. She also initiated a project called I Am She – Miss Universe India in 2010, which aimed to select and groom Indian contestants for the Miss Universe pageant.

In Bollywood, Sushmita Sen’s career has been marked by stellar performances in movies such as “Biwi No.1,” “Main Hoon Na,” “Aankhen,” “Sirf Tum,” “Filhaal,” “Samay,” and more. Her talent has earned her several awards and accolades, including the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Biwi No.1,” and the Rajiv Gandhi Award for Achievement in Bollywood.

Sushmita Sen: A Modern Mother:

One of the most significant facets of Sushmita Sen‘s life is her role as a mother. In a society that often adheres to traditional norms, she broke stereotypes by adopting two daughters, Renee and Alisah, as a single mother. Her decision to provide these children with love, care, and a bright future reflects her compassionate nature and determination to challenge societal norms.


Sushmita Sen‘s journey from a young girl with dreams to the first Miss Universe of India is an inspirational tale of determination, courage, and empowerment. Her legacy extends far beyond her illustrious career in entertainment; she has become a symbol of hope and change for women across India and the world.

By winning first Miss Universe of India, Sushmita Sen‘s impact on society is immeasurable, and her story continues to inspire generations of young girls to pursue their dreams with unwavering resolve. She exemplifies the idea that with hard work, self-belief, and a compassionate heart, one can overcome any challenge and achieve greatness.

As we celebrate the remarkable life of first Miss Universe of India- Sushmita Sen, let us remember her as a beacon of beauty, grace, and empowerment, and as a testament to the boundless potential that lies within each one of us.

You can also read about “First Miss World from India- Reita Faria (Miss World 1966)“.

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