Gul was born in Chandigarh, into a 2nd generation armed forces family. She had the fortune of traveling all over the country due to her father’s frequent transfers. By the end of her schooling she had changed 14 schools! Among many Kendriya Vidyalayas, The Lawrence School Lovedale, she also studied in Lusaka, Zambia, at the International School. She is an alumnus of the Government College for Girls, Patiala, where she pursued a BA in Mathematics and thereafter went on to pursue a Masters in Political Science from Punjab University Chandigarh. Gul always maintained a keen interest in sports and public speaking. She’s won many state and national level debating competitions, including gold medals twice, at the Annual National Inter University Debate.
Entering the Miss India Pageant was merely an extension of her multi-faceted personality. It came as no surprise when she was crowned Miss India Universe in 1999, when still only in her teens. Adamant about finishing her BA (Mathematics) degree, she took time off in her reign year to do the same. The journey since then has been eventful and rewarding. She did a stint of modeling, a few TV shows including the critically acclaimed series Kashmeer, before graduating to films with the superbly received Dhoop, her award winning portrayal of Zeenat in Dor and other highly acclaimed work such as Manorama Six feet Under, Summer of 2007, Hello, Straight, Fatso, Rann, and Hello darling. Gul is currently working on an untitled film, which is a Prakash Jha production.
Gul has always had varied interests such as running marathons, reading, traveling and riding horses. But it was her interest and desire for public services that saw Gul from the very beginning of her public life, begin to work for the needy and give back to the society and the environment. She has been working to raise funds and awareness for Shraddha, (a school that rehabilitates young autistic adults for numerous years), Shop For Change Fair Trade (a concern which promotes fair trade opportunities for poor farmers such as the cotton farmers of Telengana, Vidarbha and Kutch), and Green Comandos ( a citizen action initiative to save the environment). She recently cemented her association with Sulabh International on World Health Day to work together to promote public health through sanitation. (Sulabh Shauchalya is a concern, which sets up public toilets that provide affordable sanitation.) She single handedly collected used computers to install at village schools and begin basic computer literacy for the poor. She is actively studying, promoting and installing practical solar and rain harvesting systems.
To know more about Gul Panag visit her official website gulpanag.net