(2005) Oprah Winfrey
A lot of people say 30-year-old Aishwarya Rai is the most beautiful woman on the planet. This former Miss World is the international face of L’Oreal, Coca-Cola and DeBeers diamonds. She’s also the number one box office film star in the world. The movies made in Bollywood—India’s Hollywood and the film capital of the world—reach more than five billion people worldwide, twice that of Hollywood.
This Bollywood beauty is a shrewd businesswoman, raking in the American equivalent of about $15 million a film. But you will not see sex in her movies. Not even a kiss. “I come from the land of the Kama Sutra,” Aishwarya says. “So we obviously do have a normal, healthy sex life. [Kissing] is a more private expression of emotions. So I guess art imitates life and that kind of comes across in our cinema as well.”
Oprah: I think you’re gorgeous. When you look at yourself, do you see that?
Aishwarya: To me, beautiful is as beautiful does. I think that’s what speaks volumes. It isn’t about the apparent gig. It’s about what you do.
Wholesome and deeply religious, Ash, as she’s known, is fashionably hip and quite sexy. “Actually,” she says, “I don’t think I’m really into setting trends or following trends. I just do my own thing.” She loves traditional saris like this one she brought for Oprah. “It’s very sensual!” Oprah says.
Ash also follows tradition and lives at home with her parents like most single Indian women. “Back home, you’re a loser if you say, ‘Mom, I’m out of here,'” Ash says. “In India it’s more about the family, about living together, about remaining connected, and that’s probably the most beautiful special thing about it.”
Oprah: We did a show recently where we were looking at women around the world, and we were talking to French women at a cafe. … They said [Americans] are all fat.
Aishwarya: I’m from India, I wouldn’t say that because Indian people, Indian people eat well, we’re well endowed.
Oprah: Do they say we’re rude?
Aishwarya: No, Indian people are very hospitable.
Oprah: Do they say we talk too much?
Aishwarya: Opinionated maybe.
Oprah: Do they say we get a lot of divorces?
Aishwarya: Ah, that could be a discussion.
Oprah: You know what, you could be a diplomat!