Back in 1994, Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai won at the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants, respectively. However, there is an intriguing story about the pageant as shared recently by Sushmita herself.
In a recent interview with journalist Rajeev Masand, Sushmita shared how she lost her passport right before she was supposed to leave for the Miss Universe pageant in Philippines.
“It was given to Anupama Verma, then a very famous model and she was also a co-ordinator 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 Anupama Verma’. 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,” said Sushmita.
Sushmita also admitted that she told her father about it. There wasn’t much he could do, given the fact that her family had no connections with affluent people who could help.
She also admitted that she wasn’t helped by the pageant organizers either. Rajeev Masand went on to tell her that he had heard the organizers suggested to let Aishwarya compete in the Miss Universe pageant instead and she went for Miss World.
Sushmita said that it was correct and the proposal 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.’”
However, she put her foot down. She didn’t want to go to Miss World.
“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’,” she said.
Thankfully, the whole issue got resolved when her father somehow managed to get help from late union minister Rajesh Pilot, who said that Sushmita needed all the help as she was representing the country.
In spite of all this, Sushmita said that there has never been any bad blood between her and Aishwarya as a result.
“It was never anything like that. If you go back, luckily social media and interviews by you and other people at least on television, if you go back and retrace that journey, I have always been very warm to her. The idea that I have ever been cold with her is an absolute fallacy like it doesn’t exist,” she said.
“I cannot speak for Aishwarya because she is a different person. There’s the way she approaches things which is completely hers. But there was absolutely zero cold vibes,” she added.