We only saw Andrea Meza crowned as Miss Universe 2020 last May, but we’re welcoming a new queen once again just six months later. The newly crowned Miss Universe 2021 is India’s Harnaaz Sandhu. Get to know the young beauty queen with these fast facts:
She’s only 21 years old
Yes, she’s that young — and already so accomplished! The beauty queen was born on 3 March 2000 in Chandigarh, India, where she also grew up. She’s one of the youngest winners in Miss Universe’s recent years, after USA’s Olivia Culpo (20 when crowned in 2012), Venezuela’s Stefanía Fernández (18, 2009), and Puerto Rico’s Zuleyka Rivera (18, 2006).
She holds a degree in IT
She graduated with a Bachelor of Information Technology degree from the Post Graduate Government College for Girls in Chandigarh.
She’s currently taking up further studies
While attending to her duties as Miss Universe India 2021, Harnaaz is simultaneously pursuing a master’s degree in public administration.
She’s an actress
She cites Priyanka Chopra as her favorite actor, from whom she draws a lot of inspiration. As a model and an actress, Harnaaz has been active for three years in the showbiz industry. She has two Punjabi films scheduled to be released next year, namely Yaara Diyan Poo Baran and Bai Ji Kuttange, where she is both lead actress. She wants to play characters that break the cliches and stereotypes women face every day.
She’s an active gal
According to her Miss Universe introduction, her hobbies include a lot of physical activity, like yoga, dancing, horse riding, and most especially, swimming. Harnaaz is a “water baby” and would always go for a swim whenever she has a chance. She also loves cooking and playing chess, which definitely makes this lady an all-rounded girl.
She’s got a unique talent
NO TE PUEDO CREER, CIERREN TODO pic.twitter.com/LRq8ZLKzx6
— Nacho Masulli (@nachomasulli) December 13, 2021
According to the beauty queen, she can mimic almost anyone — even animals! Which, by the way, the Miss U org asked her to demonstrate *onstage*.
She advocates for women empowerment
Harnaaz is a strong advocate for women’s empowerment, especially in regards to constitutional rights to education, careers, and their freedom of choice. Her advocacy is largely influenced by her mother, who became a successful gynecologist despite the trappings of patriarchy in her family and the country. As a child, Harnaaz joined her mother often at health camps to address women’s health and menstrual hygiene.
She also touched on this in her winning answer for the crown. Harnaaz, along with her fellow Top 3 candidates, was asked: “What advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?”
The newly crowned queen’s response was: “I think the biggest pressure the youth today is facing is to believe in themselves. To know that you are unique and that what makes you beautiful, stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk more important things that’s happening worldwide. I think this is what you need to understand. Come out and speak for yourself because you are the leader of your life, you are the voice of your own. I believed in myself, and that’s why I’m standing here today.”
Follow her on Instagram
The new Miss Universe is active on Instagram as @harnaazsandhu_03. She only has over 300k followers, as of writing, but we’re expecting that to skyrocket to higher numbers within the day.
Harnaaz Sandhu won the crown earlier this morning (last night in Israel) and has become the third Indian woman to be crowned Miss Universe. Behind her is 1st runner-up Miss Paraguay Nadia Ferreira and 2nd runner-up Miss South Africa Lalela Lali Mswane. Our very own Beatrice Luigi Gomez finished in the Top 5.