India’s Harnaaz Sandhu wins Miss Universe 2021

India takes home its third Miss Universe title.

India's Harnaaz Sandhu wins Miss Universe 2021
(Image from Instagram: @harnaazsandhu_03)

After an emotional competition, Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu was crowned Miss Universe 2021 at the pageant’s coronation night held on Sunday, December 12, in Eliat Israel. She bested 80 other candidates to become India’s third Miss Universe titleholder in history.

Passing on the crown to Sandhu is Mexico’s Andrea Meza, whose reign as Miss Universe only lasted for seven months after winning the title last May. 

During their respective final statements, Miss India hoped to relieve the pressure of constant comparison off of today’s youth.

“I think the biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves,” said the 21-year-old Sandhu. “To know that you are unique and that what makes you beautiful, stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that’s happening worldwide. I think this is what you need to understand. 

“Come out, speak for yourself because you are the leader of your life, you are the voice of your own. I believed in myself and that’s why I’m standing here today,” she added.

Meanwhile, during the pageant’s Top 5 Q & A segment, Sandhu was up first and was asked by Emmy winner Rena Sofer about how she could convince people that climate change is not a hoax. 

“Honestly, my heart breaks to see how nature is going through a lot of problems, and it’s all due to our irresponsible behavior,” Sandhu began. “I totally feel like this is the time to take actions and talk less, because each action could either kill or save nature.”

“Prevent and protect is better than repent and repair, and this is what I’m trying to convince you guys to do,” she added. 

Coincidentally, Sandhu is a public administrator as well as a staunch advocate for sustainability who has worked towards reducing the population’s carbon footprint.

A native of Chandigarh in India, Sandhu also works as a model and actress, having finished two Punjabi films just this year. She finished Information Technology and is currently taking up her master’s degree in public administration.

With her victory, Sandhu now becomes the third representative of India to win Miss Universe, after Lara Dutta in 2000 and Sushmita Sen in 1994.

She reached the final portion of the pageant alongside Miss Universe Paraguay Nadia Ferreira, who ended up winning first runner-up. South Africa’s Lalela Lali Mswane finished second runner-up. 

Miss Philippines Beatrice Luigi Gomez ended her run in the Top 5. 

Art Daniella Sison


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