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India’s Harnaaz Sandhu Wins Miss Universe 2021

Miss Paraguay, Nadia Ferreira secured the second position followed by Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane who has been crowned the second runner up

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Ishita Chakraborty
Ishita Chakraborty
Editor-in-Chief at Transcontinental Times, Computer Science Graduate, PG diploma in Journalism and Mass communication. Ishita is a youth activist for PETA India, President of Girlup IWO, and a linguaphile. She covers fashion and lifestyle, politics, UN initiatives, sports, and diversity.

INDIA: India’s Harnaaz Sandhu brought glory to home after winning the 70th Miss Universe pageant. Former Miss Universe winner Andrea Meza crowned Sandhu at the event.

Around 80 contestants participated in the 70th edition of the Miss Universe that was held in Eilat, Israel on December 12. The three-hour event was broadcast to more than 160 countries. Miss Paraguay, Nadia Ferreira secured the second position followed by Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane who has been crowned the second runner up.

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India has won the Miss Universe title after 21 years. Several Bollywood celebrities congratulated Sandhu over social media post her historic win.

Former pageant winner and actress Priyanka Chopra also lauded Harnaaz and wrote, “And the new Miss Universe is. Miss India. Congratulations @harnaazsandhu_03 (for) bringing the crown home after 21 years.”

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Lara Dutta who bagged the Miss Universe title in 2000, posted, “Congratulations, @HarnaazSandhu03! Welcome to the club! We’ve waited 21 long years for this! You make us so, so proud! A billion dreams come true!”

India’s history in the pageant

India won the first Miss Universe title in 1994. Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen won the prestigious title when she was just 19.

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During the final interview round, she was asked, “What for you is the essence of being a woman?” She answered, “Just being a woman is a gift of God that all of us must appreciate. The origin of a child is a mother, who is a woman. She shows a man what caring, sharing, and loving is all about. That’s the essence of being a woman.”

Sushmita Sen after winning the 1994 Miss Universe title. Photo Credit: Twitter

Six years after Sen brought the title home, Lara Dutta created history by becoming the second Indian to win Miss Universe in 2000. Along with this, Dutta also created history by scoring the highest marks in the history of the Miss Universe pageant.

At that time, the Miss Universe event was held amid an ongoing protest in Cyprus. Many people claimed that the event was disrespectful towards women. Finalists were asked, “Right now there is a protest going on right outside here calling the Miss Universe Pageant disrespectful of women. Convince them they are wrong.”

To this, Dutta confidently replied, “I think pageants like the Miss Universe pageant give us young women a platform to foray into the fields that we want to and forge ahead, be it entrepreneurship, be it the armed force, be it politics. It gives us a platform to voice our choices and opinions and makes us strong, independent that we are today.”

Who is Harnaaz Sandhu

Hailing from Punjab, Sandhu made her modeling debut at the age of 17. The model-turned-actress considers her mother as her biggest inspiration. Her mother is a gynecologist who is a women’s rights activist. Sandhu has helped her mother at health camps addressing women’s health issues and menstrual hygiene. The pageant winner has previously won Miss Diva 2021 and Femina Miss India Punjab in the past.

Apart from her professional life, Sandhu enjoys dancing, cook and spending time with her friends.

The pageant winning answer

During the pageant when Sandhu was asked what advice she would give to young women on how to deal with the pressures they face, she 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.”

She continued, “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.”

Also Read: Beatboxer Veer Saluja on a Mission to Popularize the Art of Beatboxing in India

Author

  • Ishita Chakraborty

    Editor-in-Chief at Transcontinental Times, Computer Science Graduate, PG diploma in Journalism and Mass communication. Ishita is a youth activist for PETA India, President of Girlup IWO, and a linguaphile. She covers fashion and lifestyle, politics, UN initiatives, sports, and diversity.

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