- Miss India 1994 Sushmita Sen made history in the Philippines when she was crowned Miss Universe 1994
- The pageant was held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City
- Sushmita is the first Indian candidate to win the prestigious pageant
Miss India 1994 Sushmita Sen made history by winning the Miss Universe 1994 crown; becoming the first Indian candidate to win the prestigious pageant–and it all happened in the Philippines, in the competition held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on May 21, 1994.
She might not be the most popular candidate at the beginning of the competition but the 18-year-old managed to capture the h
earts of the judges and the viewers, including a huge number of Filipinos, with her beauty, intelligence, and kindness.
“It’s not been a country where I won Miss Universe and then we forgot about each other,” Sushmita talked about the Philippines during a one-on-one interview with Kapuso mo, Jesica Soho (KMJS) host Jessica Soho in 2017.
“I don’t think too many Miss Universe winners have a journey like mine, where press from the Philippines has come back to India, come to my sets when I’ve been filming to interview and see, ‘Where is out Sushmita now? What is she doing?’ And come back to telecast it here,” she happily shared.
After her reign as Miss Universe, Sushmita became an actress with her first film, Dastak (1996). Her biggest hit is the 2004 movie Main Hoon Na, which was the second best-selling movie of that year.
But looking back, she said her 18-year-old self had one simple wish on the night before the pageant.
“It was a very cloudy night. And I looked out the window, I stood at the window and I said, ‘God, okay, I know India has never won Miss Universe before, I know this, but if you will just let me go back home respectfully, if I can just give the best version of myself today, that’s all I want.’ And I got my eyes closed,” the beauty queen shared.
‘Sign from above’
“And suddenly it gets really bright. So I opened my eyes to see what happened. And the clouds have moved and there’s a big moon outside my window with a spot on my face,” she continued.
She then went straight to her roommate, Miss Guam, and told the latter, “Wake up! Wake up! You have to see this, wake up! So Miss Guam, ‘Sushmita, let me sleep, please, we have very little time.’ I said, ‘No, you have to see this, I think I just got a sign. I’m going to win tonight.’ And she was like, ‘What? Go back to sleep now.’”
“She didn’t see it but that’s the first time I knew something was going to happen. I didn’t know what, but something,” she said. “And when at the stage, they said, ‘Top 10 finalists, we begin with Miss India,’ that’s when I knew, full stop, tonight is the night.”
On May 21, 1994, Sushmita was crowned the Miss Universe, becoming the first Indian candidate to win the prestigious pageant:
In 2017, after 23 years, Sushmita came back to the Philippines to be one of the judges for the 65th Miss Universe pageant. She granted GMA’s Jessica Soho an exclusive interview: