Who is Harnaaz Sandhu? The Indian diva who crowned Miss Universe title, which India won after 21 years!

A new history is made on the world of beauty with India scripting it after 21 years through a 21-year-old woman. India's actor-model Harnaaz Sandhu has been crowned Miss Universe 2021 on Monday -December 13. The 70th edition of the global event was held in Eilat, Israel and Sandhu had decorated the top title by beating dozens of her fellow global competitors. 

With the crown, Sandhu had brought the title of Miss Universe to India after 21 years. Only two Indians before Sandhu had enjoyed the title of Miss Universe - actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000. According to PTI, 21-year-old Sandhu, a native of Chandigarh, has beaten contestants from 80 countries and she was crowned by her predecessor Andrea Meza of Mexico, who won the title in 2020. While Sandhu finished first, 22-year-old Nadia Ferreira from Paraguay and 24-year-old Lalela Mswane from South Africa has ended for a second and third place respectively.

During the final question and answer round, Sandhu was asked what advice would she give to young women over dealing with the pressure they face today. Answering this question, 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 are happening worldwide."

She further said, "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." As she occupied the headlines across and beyond India, Sandhu has been flooded with wishes and commendations from millions across India for winning the throne of Miss Universe for India after 21 years. 

She has been pursuing her Master's degree in Public Administration and she had begun her journey in pageantry when she won Times Fresh Face in 2017, representing Changidarh at the age of 17. Sandhu went on to win the LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2021 title and she also had worked in a few Punjabi films. She had previously won Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and placed as a semifinalist at Femina Miss India 2019. 

She had won Miss Diva Universe 2021 this September following which she had received the right to represent India at Miss Universe 2021. She flew to Israel and she has advanced from the initial pool of 80 contestants into the top sixteen, later advancing to the top ten, top five, and top three, before being crowned as the winner. After the crown, she has become the third Indian woman to win the title of Miss Universe. 

The Miss Universe ceremony was hosted by reputed television presenter Steve Harvey and witnessed the performances of American singer JoJo. The selection committee comprised of actor and Miss Universe India 2015 Urvashi Rautela, Adamari Lopez, Adriana Lima, Cheslie Kryst, Iris Mittenaere, Lori Harvey, Marian Rivera, and Rena Sofer. After winning the title, Sandhu has drawn more attention to her response to climate change. 

She said, "My heart breaks to see how nature is going through a lot of problems, and it is all due to our irresponsible behaviour. I totally feel that this is the time to take action and talk less. Because our each action could save or kill nature. Preventing and protecting is better than repent and repair and this is what I am trying to convince you guys today."