Sushmita Sen loves styling herself and gives a damn to fashion critics. TWF correspondent Sreya Basu speaks to the actress in Mumbai on fashion, fitness and motherhood. IBNS | 2 years ago

What is fashion to you?

I have always maintained that fashion should not be other people dictating terms to you. They may love it or may not love it, but it's your body, your personality, your clothes and so you must wear it the way you like it.

What do you think about media going fashion police these days?

I love styling myself and I tend to mix things up and wear. And whenever people say, 'Why are you wearing that dress again since it has already been protographed?', I make it a point to wear that dress again. The most fashionable thing in the world is that you are unique. The moment you start following a routine, people tend to criticize - this colour is not right, that shoe is not going with the dress. To them, I smile and say: "I am good and I am happy with myself".

Which Bollywood actress do you think has good dressing sense?

In Bollywood, Sonam (Kapoor) is very stylish because she does what she wants and she carries it off beautifully. Vidya Balan is beautiful because she wears sarees and looks amazing. Bipasha (Basu) looks very hot. I like those people who love wearing as per their wishes.

What do you prefer - walking on the ramp or watching the show sitting in the audience?

There is a magic of seeing fashion when you wear it and express it on a ramp. And then, there is the work of a designer which you sit and experience. I think you need to experience both.

Give a fitness tip to our readers.

I know that lot of people in the world don't like running. They don't enjoy running. So walking and interval trainings (walk, run, jog and then again walk) allow you to exercise your cardio bit without straining your body too much. Also, follow some discipline, any discipline. Dance, if you enjoy that.

Whenever someone mentions Sushmita Sen, the tag of Miss Universe is still there even after 20 years.

As you all know winning the Miss Universe title (in 1994) changed my life. It was that one defining moment of my life. At that time I was 18 and had no idea of the magnitude of wearing 'India' and what it is to win the crown for the country. After the win, I got the opportunities to see the world; I visited 33 countries to see my country's flag flying high there and life changed forever. It made me more patriotic. It made me love people and give them back the love and blessings I have received. It made me re-define what it means to be famous. The lesson learnt has stayed on with me.

Now that you have two beautiful daughters - Renee and Alisah, how challenging do you find is being a single mother?

I am very much like any other mother. Of course, being a single mother, I have to play both parts, that of a father, the disciplinarian and a mother, the cuddler. My daughters define my life. They are my Lakshmi and Saraswati (goddesses), they are literally like that.

(Posted on 03-01-2014)