Twenty years after Lara Dutta bagged the Miss Universe title in Cyprus, model and actress Harnaaz Sandhu, 21, accepted her bouquet and crown in Eilat, Israel. It was an emotional moment for India as she is only the third Indian to win the contest.
Of the runners up, Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira, 22, finished second, while South Africa’s Lalela Mswane, 24, came third.
A seasoned pageant participant, the Miss Universe win comes after a slew of wins at the India level, including Times Fresh Face, Miss Chandigarh and Miss Max Emerging Star, and she also holds the title of Femina Miss India Punjab 2019. According to her family, she was set on a career in the glamour industry ever since she was a child.
Sandhu is the only female child in her father’s entire extended family and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Public Administration. She will now be moving to New York to act as an ambassador for various social causes.
In the final question round, when asked what advice she would give to young women on how to deal with the pressure they face today, she answered:
“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…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,” she added.