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For the first time in 21 years, Miss India will be bringing home the title of Miss Universe 2021. Meet Harnaaz Sandhu who won with her intellect and beauty.

Who won Miss Universe 2021? Meet Harnaaz Sandhu

In the past, beauty pageants & contests were highly exploitative towards the women who participated in them. Most of the ceremony was fixated on the male gaze, giving little credence to what the participants actually thought. While there are still detractors for these events today, Miss Universe 2021 proves that perhaps we’re moving in a different direction. 

Indian actress-model Harnaaz Sandhu took home the top prize at Miss Universe 2021. Sandhu was picked over women from seventy-nine other countries in order to bring the honor home to India for the first time in twenty-one years. As far as location goes, the Miss Universe 2021 competition was held in Eliat, Israel on the coast of the Red Sea. 

Harnaaz Sandhu was picked over first runner-up Nadia Ferreira from Paraguay. South Africa’s Lalela Mswane was awarded third place. However, all eyes were on Sandhu as she became the first Indian woman to hold the honor since Lara Dutta in 2000. Yet Sandhu’s beauty wasn’t the only reason she became Miss Universe 2021.

Harnaaz Sandhu addresses climate change

In the question & answer portion of Miss Universe 2021, the contestants were scrutinized over topics that we encounter in modern discourse. The show was hosted & moderated by the infamous Steve Harvey, who was wearing a jacket that would make your head spin. This is the portion of Miss Universe where we get to hear what the contestants really think.

Harnaaz Sandhu received a question that continues to stump many people. The questioner said, “Many people think climate change is a hoax. What would you do to convince them otherwise?” Other beauty pageant participants in the past may dance around the question or give a vague answer. Not Harnaaz Sandhu.

Sandhu responded, “Honestly my heart breaks to see how nature is going through a lot of problems, and it’s all due to our irresponsible behavior.” Harnaaz continued, “I totally feel this is the time to take actions and talk less.” Right away, you get the sense that global warming is an issue that hits close to home for Harnaaz. Her answer shows that she feels we’re all accountable.

Harnaaz Sandhu added, “Each action could either kill or save nature. Prevent & protect is better than repent & repair.” Slap that on a bumper sticker. With such a succinct, profound, and powerful response, don’t be surprised if you see Harnaaz Sandhu running for public office in the future. In another question, Harnaaz moved from the global to the personal.

Sandhu speaks to today’s youth

In another portion of the question & answer section, Harnaaz Sandhu addressed what advice she’d give to young women on how to deal with the pressures of today. Sandhu answered, “I think 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. 

Harnaaz followed up, “Stop comparing yourself with others and let’s talk about more important things that’s happening worldwide.” Sandhu gave the boisterous closing, “Come out, 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.

While some may see this answer as someone speaking down from their ivory tower, you can really feel the passion with which Sandhu delivers these answers. Perhaps the judges saw that she’s a good role model for young people everywhere. How many Miss Universe contestants have spoken out on climate change or the precarious state of the youth?

Harnaaz Sandhu let out a burst of emotion when it was announced that she won. Even India’s Prime Minister congratulated her on bringing the title back to the country. We’ll see if she can use this honor as a force for good.

Harnaaz Sandhu won Miss Universe 2021 with well-spoken answers to tough questions. What did you think of the competition this year? Let us know in the comments!

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