It took 21-year-old Harnaaz Sandhu to bring the coveted Miss Universe crown after 21 years to India. She is only the third Indian after Lara Dutta in 2000 and Sushmita Sen in 1994 to have been crowned Miss Universe. So, when the Chandigarh-based model defeated Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira and South Africa’s Lalela Mswane to win the title, Indians across the globe celebrated the milestone.
After winning the title, an excited Harnaaz was seen screaming “Chak de phatte, India.” The video, which has been posed on the official Twitter handle of Miss Universe, has gone viral. Her enthusiasm was palpable. Congratulatory messages poured in from all sections of society, including the former beauty pageant winners.
Bollywood actress Lara Dutta took to social media to congratulate Harnaaz on her historic win. “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!!!,” Lara tweeted.
An advocate of women rights, Harnaaz is highly inspired by Priyanka Chopra, who won the Miss World in 2000. Today, a global star, Priyanka congratulated the new “Miss Universe of India.” “And the new Miss Universe is… Miss India! Congratulations @HarnaazSandhu03… bringing the crown home after 21 years!,” tweeted Priyanka.
A nature-lover with strong voice on global warming and climate change, Harnaaz is pursuing a Master’s degree in public administration. The confident Punjab beauty gave an encouraging response when she was asked in the final round, “What advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?”
To this, she replied, “Well, I think 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. 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 life. I believe in myself and that’s why I’m standing here today. Thank you.”
With a knack for horse riding and playing chess, Harnaaz started participating in the beauty pageants since she was a teenager and have won titles like Miss Chandigarh 2017, Miss Max Emerging Star India 2018 and Femina Miss India Punjab 2019.
Apart from ruling the ramp world, Harnaaz has also acted in films like ‘Bai Ji Kuttange’ and ‘Yaara Diyan Poo Baran’. So, it’s quite likely that we will soon see her in Bollywood.