India's Harnaaz Sandhu crowned Miss Universe 2021
New Delhi, December 13, 2021
After a wait of more than two decades, Chandigarh's Harnaaz Sandhu finally brought home the Miss Universe crown.
The 21-year-old won the title Sunday night at a glittering event held at the Universe Dome in Eilat, Israel.
"I am immensely grateful to the Almighty, my parents, and the Miss India Organisation for guiding and supporting me throughout. Loads of love to everyone who prayed and wished the crown for me. Bringing the glorious crown back after 21 years to India is a moment of great pride," Harnaaz told IANS.
Sandhu beat out 79 contestants to be crowned Miss Universe. Nadia Ferreira, Miss Paraguay was the runner-up and second runner-up was Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane.
The Miss Universe Organisation posted the news on their official Instagram handle, with a clip showing last year's winner, Andrea Meza of Mexico, crowning an overjoyed Harnaaz.
The young model will bring home the crown 21 years after Lara Dutta won in 2000.
Before setting out for Israel, Sandhu told IANS in an interview that she was going to make sure that she is the "best version of our country" and that she would make India proud this year.
She also stated that she was looking forward to strengthening relations between Israel and India and was super excited about the challenge. She said, "I have to bring back the crown home".
The Bollywood aspirant has kept her word and made India proud. Sandhu said, "One must keep growing through life as we all learn something every day. To believe in yourself is the key to success. I represented myself as the best version of myself."
Sandhu believes that pageants are a platform where women come forward to celebrate sisterhood and womanhood and people across the world celebrate their beauty queens and their successes with great pride. "According to me, it's all about being true to the self and people around you will definitely look at that spark in you," she stated.
Harnaaz is an alumnus of Chandigarh's Post Graduate Government College and also a Punjabi film actress. Her mother is a gynaecologist.
The young model has numerous pageant titles to her name like Times Fresh Face Miss Chandigarh 2017, Miss Max Emerging Star India 2018 and Femina Miss India Punjab 2019.
She has also starred in Punjabi films like 'Yaara Diyan Poo Baran' and 'Bai Ji Kuttange'.