Sushmita Sen: 'Contestants from India were feared'

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By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, Sept. 10 -- Sushmita Sen is set to leave for the Miss Universe 201 pageant coming up on September 12 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The actor says in jest, "I took the franchise only so that my daughter Renee could go for Miss Universe. She truly believes in this." She adds, "Actually since I own the franchise, my children and close family members can't participate. If my daughter wants to take part, the only way is for me to give up the franchise and I will."

The actor turned-entrepreneur says her only agenda on this trip is "to bring back the crown." The last Indian girl to win the Miss Universe title was Lara Dutta in 2000. This year, 26year-old Vasuki Sunkavalli is competing for the crown. The lawyer from Hyderabad also boasts of work experience at the United Nations.

Ask why no Indian has won the crown in 11 years, and Sushmita responds, "We haven't been sending terrible girls out there. The onus can't just be on them. 1 There is absolutely no support from the country, which doesn't remember her name or know her background. That's why the girls have no pressure to perform. When you go perform. When you go knowing that your entire country wants you to win, you start appearing in the top 10 immediately. Back then, when Lara and I won, every country was interested in knowing the contestants from India, Colombia and Venezuela, as they were the feared ones. We've lost that ability now."

The actor says it's important for the media to give the pageant coverage, so that international brands hear about the girl. She says, "That's how global media and brands pick up the vibe and keep a close watch, since they're always looking out for new faces. When a girl becomes visible, the brands want her, and so she wins the pageant. Miss Universe 2011 will i be aired live on Sep 13 at 6:30 am on Zee Cafe.