Guess who’s been invited to dinner with Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, US media person and businesswoman Wendi Murdoch and India’s powerful captain of industry Indra Nooyi at New York’s prestigious Cipriani restaurant on Fifth Avenue?
Bollywood hottie Celina Jaitly, that’s who. This is happening on September 23, to discuss the UN Millennium Development Goals, an initiative undertaken earlier that led to a powerful coalition of women from First Ladies Sarah Brown — who will be the guest speaker at this dinner — and Carla Sarkozy to leading activists including Melinda Gates and Hollywood star Angelina Jolie.
Cipriani is all Manhattan allure and old Hollywood glamour, and the dining experience here is full and rich, Celina is aware.
She is keen to attend the dinner. “It is such a great honour to be representing Indian women on an international level,” she said excitedly. “One of the main issues to be discussed is the aim to reduce maternal mortality by 75 per cent by 2015. And, women’s development in all spheres of life, right down to basic necessities such as quality medical facilities, education and even career opportunities.”
Coming from a middle-class background, the former Miss World said she easily relates to such issues. “Take away the makeup and I am just a simple girl, facing the same problems as single working women in a city. Every woman at any level can understand each other, and I am no different,” said Celina.
“I know people find it tough to accept that good-looking women have brains too. But the fact is that you can be sexy and intelligent. And I don’t believe in wearing salwar-kameezes to make sure that people take me seriously.”