Indian Stunners

The once demure subcontinent has a new and fast-growing export: beauty queens

When Sushmita Sen, the first Indian to be chosen Miss Universe, made her triumphant return to the subcontinent after the 1994 pageant, there were victory processions, gala parties and countless interviews. For fans like Yukta Mookhey, a teenager growing up in a middle-class suburb of Bombay, Sushmita was living a dream: she had been wrenched from an ordinary life and forged by the blast furnace of glamour and fame into a celebrity. Yukta, then 15, told her family that she too would one day wear a glittering crown. Her parents smiled at her adolescent fantasies, talked about college and dismissed the...

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