“Chak De Phatte, India” Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu Makes History as first Sikh Miss Universe 2021

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Courtesy of Miss Universe (Instagram)

Harnaaz Sandhu has crowned Miss Universe 2021 a few hours ago. The 21-year old representing India brought the crown home, 20 years after Lara Dutta bagged the title in 2000.

Courtesy of Fox

Harnaaz Sandhu of India has been crowned the 70th Miss Universe, topping a field of some 80 contestants in a pageant that was touched by politics and the pandemic.

Born and raised in Punjab, Harnaaz Sandhu attended Shivalik Public School and Post Graduate Government College for Girls, both in Chandigarh. The diva is currently pursuing her Masters’ degree in Public Administration.

Courtesy of Miss Universe (Instagram)

Ms. Sandhu began competing in pageantry at the age of 17 and has won titles such as Miss Chandigarh 2017 and Miss Max Emerging Star India 2018.

In 2019, she won the title of Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 after which she competed in Femina Miss India. She was in the top 12 in Femina Miss India.

Courtesy of Miss Universe (Instagram)

Now Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu will reside in New York and participate in a number of events globally.

The previously reigning Miss Universe, Andrea Meza of Mexico, crowned her successor, a 21-year-old model, early on Monday in the Israeli Red Sea resort town of Eilat.

The pageant included traditional displays of national costumes, swimwear, and a series of interview questions to test contestants’ public speaking skills. The top 10 showed off intricately bedazzled full-length gowns in either gold, silver, or bronze.

Courtesy of Miss Universe (Instagram)

Before Sandhu, two Indians have won the Miss Universe title: Bollywood actresses Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.

Eighty contestants competed in this year’s pageant, including the first-ever entry from the Kingdom of Bahrain. But at the close of the two-hour event, only one would receive a crown and sash from reigning Miss Universe Andrea Meza.

This year’s selection committee included American model Lori Harvey, Brazilian model Adriana Lima, Puerto Rican actress Adamari López, Miss Universe 2016 winner (and former Miss France) Iris Mittenaere, Indian actress and Miss Diva 2015 winner Urvashi Rautela, Filipino actress and model Marian Rivera, American actress Rena Sofer, Miss USA 2019 winner Chelsie Kryst, and Miss Universe 1976 winner Rina Mor.