Year 1994 will always be remembered as a golden period for the country. Apart from several other things, the year would always be remembered for Sushmita Sen winning the coveted Miss Universe title and Aishwarya Rai winning the prestigious Miss World title. What made it even more special was the fact that it was the first time that an Indian had won Miss Universe.

The journey

Both Aishwarya and Sushmita's journey began with the Miss India pageant. While Aishwarya Rai was already a favourite among all and was touted as the original choice for the jury, it was Sushmita, who proved out to be an underdog. Giving each other tough competition in terms of Indian costume, western costume, swimsuit, beauty and elegance; the divas reached the top five of the pageant. However, it was here that there was a tie between the two.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sushmita Sen
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sushmita Sen

Tie-breaker question

For the tie-breaker question, Aishwarya Rai was asked, "If you have to look for qualities in a husband, would you look for the qualities in Ridge Forrester from Bold & Beautiful or in Mason Capwell from Santa Barbara?" In her response, Rai said, "Mason. They do have a lot in common, but from what we see, Mason has a very caring side to him, and a terrific sense of humour. And that really gels with my character."

Sushmita Sen was thrown a rather difficult question in comparison to Aishwarya and that was, "What do you know about the textile heritage of your country and how long has it been around?" Sushmita took a pause for a few seconds and then said, "I think it all started with Mahatma Gandhi's Khadi. It has gone a long way since then but the basics of Indian textile heritage has been from there."

And that was it, the answer that made her win over Aishwarya. Though it was a mere 0.2 percent, it did make a big difference in who gets crowned.