Mini Mathur reveals she got her first ad when Sushmita Sen failed to show up for shoot: 'She didn’t come on time'
Two years after she was crowned Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen was to do an ad for Ray-Ban but did not show up on time. It got Mini Mathur her first modelling gig.
Mini Mathur was working at an advertising agency when she landed her first job as a model. And it all kicked into gear when a supermodel did not turn up for shoot. That model was none other than Sushmita Sen. (Also read: Watch 1995 video when Sushmita Sen took her final walk as Miss Universe, crowned Miss USA)
In 1996, the marketing agency that Mini was working at, was given an assignment for the sunglasses brand Ray-Ban. Speaking to Cyrus Broacha on his podcast, former TV host Mini said, "I got a chance opportunity to fill in for a model who never turned up for a Ray-Ban campaign. Sushmita Sen was modelling then, and she was supposed to turn for a woman pilot ad where we had to pitch for a campaign. She didn’t come on time.”
The creative director for the ad Abhinav Das walked past her desk and realised she could be a good fit. “He was passing my table, where I was sitting and was colouring artwork because I was a management trainee. He said, ‘Hey, Mini come, we need you to pitch for this ad, you don’t have to put on makeup and just have to put on aviator glasses and a leather jacket and we will see',” Mini said.
Later, that ad got her many more opportunities, such as her first hosting gig on Tol Mol Ke Bol. She wrote about it in detail in an Instagram post in 2020. She also shared the full ad for Ray-Ban. Back then, she had not named Sushmita as the tardy model.
"The advertisement for Rayban that unexpectedly turned my career as an MBA in an advertisement agency to a TV host. Way back when. It’s funny how life works. A model doesn’t show up for a pitch. The creative director Abhinav Dhar decides that me- a management trainee at my desk on a Saturday afternoon, is good enough and click ! @rohitchawlaphotography_ shoots me beautifully with studied disdain reserved for client servicing trainees. What happened after, changed my career path. This ad got me more & more modelling work and suddenly @sanjoykroy decided I was good enough to be the co-host India’s first game show on zee - Tol Mol ke Bol along with the @actormaddy.
“I often wonder ... is this serendipity or destiny. Was I meant for the corporate world? What if I wasn’t at my desk that afternoon in 1996? What if the model had shown up? Have you often wondered about chance, destiny& serendipity? Tell me?,” she had written.
Mini later hosted Indian Idol for many years. She is married to filmmaker Kabir Khan.