Cover Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu of India waves onstage at the 70th Miss Universe Competition on December 12, 2021 in Eilat, Israel (Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images)

The new beauty queen, Harnaaz Sandhu ends India’s 21-year crown drought as its third Indian Miss Universe

The universe has crowned its new beauty queen: Miss India, Harnaaz Sandhu. The 21-year-old beauty queen beat out 79 other contestants at the Universe Dome in Eilat, Israel. Sandhu follows in the footsteps of Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000 as the third Indian Miss Universe.

Miss Paraguay Nadia Ferreira claimed the first runner-up spot while Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane was the second runner-up. Sandhu was crowned by Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza from Mexico and took her first walk as the new Miss Universe.

Sandhu is a strong advocate for women’s empowerment and her answer during the final question and answer portion proves that. Asked what advice she’d give young women when dealing with pressures, she answers, “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.”

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“Stop comparing yourself with others and let’s talk about more important things that are happening worldwide. Come out, speak for yourself, because you are the leader of your life,” she adds before ending with a powerful statement, “You are the voice of your own life. I believe in myself and that’s why I’m standing here today.”

In her spare time, Sandhu enjoys yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding and playing chess. She’s also an actress who’s inspired by Priyanka Chopra.

This year’s Miss Universe edition marked the first time that a beauty queen from the United Arab Emirates ever competed as well as the first time that Miss Universe Morroco returned to the stage after over four decades.

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