December 13, 2021 10:00:15 am
The coveted Miss Universe title has finally returned home — after 21 years — as Chandigarh-born Harnaaz Sandhu was declared the winner of the 70th edition of the pageant on Sunday night in Eliat, Israel.
Actor Lara Dutta had last won the title in 2000.
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In second place was Miss Paraguay Nadia Ferreira, followed by Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane.
The model, who’s Instagram bio reads, “Shine like the whole Universe is yours”, had previously won ‘Miss Diva Universe 2021’ title that paved her way to the Miss Universe 2021 pageant.
After the historic win, Harnaaz expressed gratitude for everyone who believed in her. “We did it. I said in my final answer, that I believed in myself and that’s why I was on that stage. I also want to mention a few people who believed in me too. Firstly I would like to thank my family and friends who have been there with me no matter what.They have seen me fall and get up and they have been there supporting me throughout,” she mentioned in a post.
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Harnaaz, who started modelling at a young age, gradually made her way to beauty pageants and won her first pageant — Miss Chandigarh 2017.
As per her Miss Universe delegate bio, Harnaaz, a Punjabi, draws inspiration from her mother, who “broke generations of patriarchy to become a successful gynecologist 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.
Harnaaz, who is an actor by profession, is inspired by actor and Miss World 2000 Priyanka Chopra and her body of work.
Former Miss Universe Lara Dutta also congratulated her on the win.
— Lara Dutta Bhupathi (@LaraDutta) December 13, 2021
“In her spare time, Harnaaz enjoys the company of friends, loves yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding, and playing chess. She is a water baby and never misses a chance to jump into a pool to rejuvenate herself. She believes in the saying – “Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful,” reads her delegate bio.
Did you know these fun facts about Harnaaz?
*She can “mimic almost anyone including animals”
*She is a “closet singer”
*Loves “writing couplets in my mother tongue Punjabi”
In the run up to the finale, the actor-model wrote how she is “already a winner” as she shared a video which shows her praying at Amritsar’s Golden Temple.
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“Faith is unseen. It’s felt. It’s the feeling I have in my heart today. I have faith in God, my family and the blessings you all have showered on me. I have enjoyed my journey and as we near the end of this beautiful pageant, I want to re-live memories with my family, my Punjab. I want you all to know, that I’m grateful for each and every one of you and for all the experiences I had in these 1.5 months. I’m already a winner. I have you all. See you at the Miss Universe 2021 Finale!” she wrote.
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