The desired Miss Universe title has finally returned home after 21 years as Chandigarh-born Harnaaz Sandhu was announced the winner of the 70th edition of the pageant on Sunday night in Eliat, Israel.
Actor Lara Dutta had last won the title in 2000.
In second place was Miss Paraguay Nadia Ferreira, followed by Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane.
The model, whose Instagram bio reads, “Shine like the whole Universe is yours”, had previously won ‘Miss Diva Universe 2021’ title that paved her way to the Miss Universe 2021 pageant.
Harnaaz, who started modelling at a young age, gradually made her way to beauty pageants and won her first pageant Miss Chandigarh 2017.
Harnaaz, a Punjabi, draws inspiration from her mother, who “broke generations of patriarchy to become a successful gynecologist and led her family”.
“Driven to support other women the same way, Harnaaz grew up working with her mother at health camps addressing women’s health and menstrual hygiene. Deeply conscious of the privilege her mother’s struggles have gifted her, Harnaaz today is a strong advocate for women’s empowerment, particularly their constitutional rights to education, careers, and their freedom of choice,” the bio reads.
Harnaaz, who is an actor by profession, is inspired by actor and Miss World 2000 Priyanka Chopra and her body of work.
Former Miss Universe Lara Dutta also congratulated her on the win.
“In her spare time, Harnaaz enjoys the company of friends, loves yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding, and playing chess. She is a water baby and never misses a chance to jump into a pool to rejuvenate her. She believes in the saying – “Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful,” reads her delegate bio.