At the Miss Universe pageant in Manila, Sushmita impressed the judges with her poise and elegance. She made her way to the top five easily.
In the final Q&A round, she was asked to explain the essence of being a woman. Her answer fetched India, its first Miss Universe crown: "Being a woman is a gift of God and we should all appreciate it. The origin of a child is a mother and is a woman. A woman is the one who shares love and shows a man what love, caring and sharing is all about."