|Sushmita Sen (Shushmita Shen) was born on November 19, 1975 in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. She is a well-known Bollywood actress and was Miss Universe in 1994. In 1994, at the age of eighteen, Sushmita won the title of Miss India narrowly beating out Aishwarya Rai, who was the favorite to win the contest. Twenty-two girls took their application out from the contest once they learned that model Aishwarya Rai was participating for Miss India. Sushmita Sen was one of them but her mother gave her the courage to face the challenge. Interestingly, Aishwarya Rai won every title in the preliminary round. Ironically, both Sen and Rai were actually tied for the title. It was with a tie-breaking question that got Sen the chance to represent India at the Miss Universe Pageant, held in Manila, Philippines.
At Miss Universe, Sushmita ranked third overall in the preliminaries, right behind preliminary winner Miss Colombia Carolina Gomez, and Miss Greece Rea Totounzi, who ranked second but won the preliminary swimsuit and evening gown competitions. Sushmita went on to place second, fifth and third respectively in the swimsuit, interview and evening gown competitions, placing her in third place behind Miss Colombia and Miss Venezuela Minorka Mercado. All three women went on to be the final three contestants. In the end, the judges placed their votes on Sushmita, making her the first woman from India to become Miss Universe.