Punjab-based Harnaaz Sandhu, who represented the country at the 70th Miss Universe 2021, has won the title. Harnaaz, 21, won the Miss Universe crown 21 years after Lara Dutta won the title in 2000.
At the contest held in Eilat, Israel, Harnaaz Sandhu beat contestants Paraguay and South Africa. Andrea Meza, former Miss Universe 2020 from Mexico, crowned Harnaaz at the event. The Miss Universe event was live-streamed globally.
As a part of the Top 3 round, all the contestants had to answer the same question. This is what they were asked, “What advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?”
Harnaaz said, “Well, I think the biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves. To know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful, stop comparing yourselves with others, and let’s talk about more important things that’s happening worldwide. I think this is what you need to understand. Come out, speak for yourself, because you are the leader of your life. You are the voice of your own [life]. I believe in myself and that’s why I’m standing here today. Thank you.”
Before Harnaaz, only two Indians have won the Miss Universe crown. First, Sushmita Sen won the title in 1994. Lara Dutta was crowned Miss Universe six years later in 2000.
Harnaaz was crowned Miss Universe India 2021 in October. The 21-year-old beauty queen is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Public Administration.
Harnaaz Sandhu started her beauty pageant journey when she was just 17. She has previously been crowned Miss Diva 2021, Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and she also made it to the Top 12 at Femina Miss India 2019.
The 21-year-old Chandigarh-based model has also worked in Punjabi films such as Yaara Diyan Poo Baran and Bai Ji Kuttange.