21-year-old Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu has been crowned Miss Universe 2021 in an event hosted this year in southern Israel.
Harnaaz is a model hailing from Chandigarh, where she finished her schooling and college.
She is now pursuing her master’s degree in public administration as well.
She has been active in the fashion industry and has even starred in films like Yaara Diyan Poo Baran and Bai Ji Kuttange.
Hranaaz was crowned by her predecessor Andrea Meza of Mexico, who won the pageant in 2020.
In her speech, Harnaaz 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.”
This year’s beauty pageant was held in the beautiful city of Eilat and was hosted by comedian Steve Harvey.
Eighty women from around the world competed for the crown.
Nadia Ferreira of Paraguay and Lalela Mswane of South Africa were the first and second runners-up.
Steve was criticised online for asking Harnaaz: “I hear you do some pretty good animal impersonations, let’s hear your best one.”
Harnaaz looked surprised but demonstrated her skills.
“Oh my god, Steve, I was not expecting to do this on the world stage. I have to do this, I have no other option. Brace yourselves, everyone.”
Harnaaz even took the opportunity to spread a message on climate change.
“This is the time to take action and talk less. Prevent and protect is better than repent and repair.”
After her win was announced, Harnaaz celebrated with other contestants on stage and shouted: “Chak de Phatte India.”
Harnaaz’s win is a historic one for India as she brings home the title 21 years after Lara Dutta Bhupathi won it in the year 2000. She is also the third Indian woman to be crowned Miss Universe.