The ever-poised Sushmita Sen, who would believe that she once struggled with the English language and went on to win the coveted Miss Universe title, becoming a role model for young girls across the country.
Born in Kolkata to parents working in the Indian Air Force in 1975, she attended the local Kendriya Vidyalaya, a Hindi medium school. With a desire to improve her English skills, she decided to become an English honours student and earned a degree in journalism. In 1992, she graduated from the Air Force Golden Jubilee Institute. A dark horse, she became the youngest Miss India in 1994 at the age of 18. Due to a lack of finances and sponsorship, she made the decision to wear a dress bought from Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar market and created history when she won the Miss Universe Pageant in Manila, Philippines.
Making her Bollywood debut in 1996 with Dastak and Biwi No.1 etc, she, however, shocked the whole country because of her personal life. She had the desire to adopt a daughter since age 22 and fought in court to legally adopt her daughter Renee which took place when she 24 years old. A young, single woman adopting a child was completely unheard of in the nineties. Until today, she has been the face of major brands like Coca-Cola, Colgate, Lux, Tag Heuer, Levis, Pantene, Olay and more.
In 2005, she showed her entrepreneurial streak with the launch of TANTRA Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, a Films and events company and by 2005, started ‘I AM SHE’, a philanthropic venture in 2009. That same year, she decided to adopt again and this time, another girl. Going against the law which stated she must adopt a boy, she fought even harder in court to bring home baby Alisah. In 2010, she opened the I AM Foundation. Taking to social media in 2017, she started the #YesChallenge and #YesMom to spread positivity among mothers to pursue their passion and develop a great relationship with their children. In 2018, she feels ready to make a comeback in Bollywood with something different in the works.