After 21 years to Lara Dutta’s win, India bagged the Miss Universe crown again yesterday when Chandigarh girl Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu won the title at a grand pageant in Israel.
The 21-year-old’s winning response to a question on climate change — “This is the time to take action and talk less. … Prevent and protect is better than repair and repent” — helped her clinch the coveted title.
On Sunday, the present titleholder was crowned by the outgoing Miss Universe Andrea Meza of Mexico, at a glittering ceremony held at the Universe Dome in Eilat, Israel.
She defeated Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira and South Africa’s Lalela Mswane. India is wearing the third crown after Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.
Sandhu 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 are happening worldwide.
“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.”
Sandhu, whose mother is a gynecologist, has a number of pageant titles to her name, such as Times Fresh Face Miss Chandigarh 2017, Miss Max Emerging Star India 2018, and Femina Miss India Punjab 2019.
She has also featured in Punjabi films like ‘Yaara Diyan Poo Baran’ and ‘Bai Ji Kuttange.’
Sandhu told IANS before setting out for Israel that she was going to make sure that she is the “best version of our country” and that she would make India proud this year.
The aspirant of Bollywood believes that pageants are a platform where women come forward to celebrate sisterhood and womanhood and people across the world celebrate their beauty queens and their successes with great pride. “According to me, it’s all about being true to the self, and people around you will definitely look at that spark in you,” she stated.