Harnaaz Sandhu of India is the new Miss Universe, 21 years after Lara Dutta of India was crowned Miss Universe in 2000.
Ms Sandhu represented India at the 70th Miss Universe pageant, which took place in Eilat, Israel, in 2021.
The 21-year-old from Punjab won the competition, beating out Nadia Ferreira of Paraguay and Lalela Mswane of South Africa.
Andrea Meza, former Miss Universe 2020 from Mexico, presented Ms Sandhu with the crown.
Only two Indians have won the Miss Universe title before the Chandigarh-based model: actresses Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.
When asked what advice she would give to young women dealing with the pressures they encounter, Ms Sandhu responded calmly, “The most significant strain on today’s youth is to believe in themselves, to understand that they are unique and that this is what makes them attractive. Stop comparing yourself to others and instead focus on the more pressing issues that are affecting the globe.”
“This is what you must comprehend. Come out and stand up for yourself because you are the boss of your own life and the voice of your own people. I have faith in myself, which is why I am standing here now “Ms Sandhu stated confidently.
Ms Sandhu, who began her pageant career at the age of 17, had previously won Miss Diva 2021, Femina Miss India Punjab 2019, and even finished in the Top 12 at Femina Miss India 2019.
“Yaara Diyan Poo Baran” and “Bai Ji Kuttange” are two Punjabi films in which she has appeared.
A global message
Harnaaz was clothed in a glistening gown created by transwoman designer Saisha Shinde. The 21-year-old beauty queen, of course, looked stunning in her outfit.
On social media, photos from the crowning moment have gone crazy viral, and everyone adored the gown she wore. Harnaaz wore a beige and silver embroidered gown for the occasion. A deep V-neckline and a long flowy train adorned the sheer body-hugging gown. Short sleeves adorned the bejewelled attire.
Stone-studded drop earrings completed her ensemble. Harnaaz went for a dewy base, pink blush cheeks, sheer lipstick, and dramatic eye makeup.
In January of this year, Swapnil Shinde, the designer of Harnaaz’s gown, came out as a transwoman and presented herself as Saisha Shinde on Instagram. Many Bollywood actors, including Kareena Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, and Anushka Sharma, have worn Saisha’s designs. She’s also noted for her work on the costumes in films like Fashion.
Something that should not have happened
In one of his exchanges with Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu, actor-host Steve Harvey, who presented the Miss Universe 2021 competition on Sunday night, encouraged her to impersonate an animal.
Harvey was chastised for forcing Miss Universe winner Sandhu to imitate an animal rather than talk about her achievements like the other finalists.
“I hear you do some pretty good animal impersonations,” Harvey said to Sandhu, who is from Chandigarh. “I’d want to hear your finest one.”
“Oh my my, Steve, I wasn’t expecting to do this on a global scale,” Sandhu said, apparently taken aback. “I have no choice but to do this,” she continued.
A little bit of background on the 70th Miss Universe pageant contest
The 70th Miss Universe pageant was held on December 12, 2021, at the Universe Dome in Eilat, Israel. At the conclusion of the competition, Andrea Meza of Mexico crowned Harnaaz Sandhu of India as her successor. This marks India’s first triumph in 21 years and the country’s third overall in the pageant’s history.
After being absent for the previous season, Steve Harvey returned as host and Fox as the official broadcaster of the competition. The competition had chosen contestants from 80 countries and territories to compete. Fifty-three were national pageant winners, while twenty-seven were appointed to their seats after finishing second in their national pageant or being chosen through a casting process.