Harnaaz Sandhu of India crowned Miss Universe 2021
On Sunday, 12 December in the resort city of Eliat, Israel with 80 women from around the world competing for the crown, Miss India — Harnaaz Sandhu was crowned Miss Universe 2021. Nadia Ferreira of Paraguay and Lalela Mswane of South Africa were the first and second runners-up respectively.
Sandhu, a 21-year-old hailing from Punjab and representing India at the 70th Miss Universe Pageant brought back to India the same crown 21 years after Lara Dutta's win in 2000. So far, India has had three Miss Universe Crown winners, the first being Sushmita Sen in 1994.
Apart from winning the crown, Sandhu has also starred in few Punjabi films such as 'Yaara Diyan Poo Baran' and 'Bai Ji Kuttange.' Highly inspired by her mother who is a gynaecologist, Sandhu believes strongly in women empowerment and is a strong supporter of women's constitutional rights to education, career, and freedom of choice.
Her winning attire is said to be dreamy, rosy-pink lehenga by Abhinav Mishra, aptly paired with a matching umbrella. According to the designer, the entire look was meant to be a visual representation of an Indian Queen, who is equally graceful and strong, nurturing and loving, fierce and bold in all aspects of her life. Both the attire and the matching umbrella were covered in mirrors and embroidery. Upon winning Sandhu took to social media and expressed that she felt 'a sense of empowerment' while wearing the outfit.
The concluding 'winning-answer' was to a question asked to all of the final three contestants – What advice would you give to young women watching, on how to deal with the pressures that they face today?
Sandhu gave a fitting reply that mostly referred to increasing self-confidence and individuality amongst the youngsters. The answer seemed to have convinced the judges enough to declare her the winner of the occasion.
Celebrated comedian, Steve Harvey, hosted the competition. After Sandhu's win was announced, she celebrated with other contestants' on stage, shouting to a camera, "Chak de Phatte, India," a Punjabi exclamation stating, "Let's do this, India!"