On Monday, India’s Harnaaz Sandhu won the title of Miss Universe 2021, 21 years after Lara Dutta brought home the crown in 2000. Lara congratulated Harnaaz in a heartfelt tweet.
“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 wrote in her shout-out for Harnaaz Sandhu.
Priyanka Chopra, who won Miss World in 2000, also congratulated Harleen on Instagram. Sharing a video of the moment when the host announced Harnaaz’s name as Miss Universe 2021, Priyanka penned a note for her. She wrote, “And the new Miss Universe is.. Miss India.” She added, “Congratulations @harnaazsandhu_03 (for) bringing the crown home after 21 years.”
Harnaaz, who is 21, was presented the crown by Andrea Meza, who was the former Miss Universe 2020 from Mexico. Before Harnaaz, only two Indians have won the title of Miss Universe – Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000. In 2000, Priyanka was crowned with the Miss World title.
During the pageant, Harnaaz was asked what advice she would give to young women on how to deal with the pressures they face. She said, “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.” She added: “This is what you need to understand. 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.”
The ceremony took place at the Israeli Red Sea resort town at Eilat, Israel and it was broadcast to over 600 million viewers across 172 countries.
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Harnaaz, started her modelling career when she was just 17. She has previously been crowned Miss Diva 2021, Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and was even placed in the Top 12 at Femina Miss India 2019.