India’s Harnaaz Sandhu crowned Miss Universe 2021
Harnaaz Sandhu of India was crowned Miss Universe 2021 on Sunday night in Eliat, Israel.
In a speech on stage during the pageant, Sandhu urged young people to “know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful, stop comparing yourself to others.
“I believed in myself, and that’s why I’m standing here today,” she added, to loud applause from the audience.
Nadia Ferreira of Paraguay and Lalela Mswane of South Africa were the first and second runners-up, respectively.
On reaching the top 5, Sandhu took the opportunity to spread a message on climate change. She said, “this is the time to take action and talk less.” “Prevent and protect is better than repent and repair.”
After her win was announced, she celebrated with other contestants on stage, shouting to a camera, “Chak de Phatte India,” a Punjabi exclamation similar in meaning to “Let’s do this, India!”
As per Harnaaz’s Miss Universe delegate bio, she is a Punjabi who draws inspiration from her mother. She says her mother, “broke generations of patriarchy to become a successful gynaecologist 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.
Featured Image: Ariel Schalit/AP