Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen honored Miss India Worldwide Shree Saini, an Indian-American, with the “Women Hero” award at the South Asian Women Empowerment Gala held in New York March 19. Sen, a Bollywood star, was the chief guest at the program. When she called Saini to the stage to present the award, the audience rose to its feet in applause, according to a press release.
Saini announced at the gathering that she was off to Johannesburg for the Miss India Gauteng Pageant. “Pageantry improves the lives and confidence of women throughout the world,” she is quoted saying.
Both Sen and Saini were honored with citation by the 18th District Nassau County Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan. According to the press release, the citation presented to Shree Saini read, “In recognition of your service to the community, neighbours and families; And in recognition of your leadership and dedication to enriching the lives of others, I, Joshua A. Lafazan, Nassau County Legislator recognise (sic), honour and congratulate Shree Saini.”
In 1994, Sen became the youngest woman to be selected Femina Miss India Universe at that time. A few days later she was crowned the 43rd Miss Universe at the age of 18, the first Indian to win that title.
Other distinguished women who were honored at the March 19 event included Urmil “Tracy” Marshal, Sangeeta Mudnal and Dr Uzma Syed, according to the press release.