India’s Harnaaz Sandhu is the new Miss Universe, 21 years after Lara Dutta won the title in 2000.
Ms Sandhu represented India today at the 70th Miss Universe 2021, held in Eilat, Israel.
The 21-year-old from Punjab claimed the crown edging out Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira and South Africa’s Lalela Mswane.
Ms Sandhu was presented the crown by Andrea Meza, former Miss Universe 2020 from Mexico.
Before the Chandigarh-based model, only two Indians have won the title of Miss Universe – actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.
On being asked what advice she would give to young women on how to deal with the pressures they face, a composed Ms Sandhu said, “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.”
“This is what you need to understand. Come out, speak for yourselves because you are the leader of your life, you are the voice of your own. I believed in myself and that’s why I am standing here today,” Ms Sandhu said with aplomb.
Ms Sandhu, who started her journey in pageantry at the age of 17, has previously been crowned Miss Diva 2021, Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and was even placed in the Top 12 at Femina Miss India 2019.
She has also worked in Punjabi films like “Yaara Diyan Poo Baran” and “Bai Ji Kuttange”.