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India’s Harnaaz Sandhu crowned Miss Universe, wins title 21 years after Lara Datta

Moment of glory! Harnaaz Sandhu who became the Miss Universe 2021, brought home the title after 21 years

Chandigarh-based model Harnaaz Sandhu has been crowned the new Miss Universe, becoming the third Indian to win the title after Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta won the title in 2000.

Harnaaz represented India today at the 70th Miss Universe 2021, held in Eilat, Israel.

The 21-year-old from Punjab pipped Paraguay's Nadia Ferreira and South Africa's Lalela Mswane in the final round to win the coveted title.

Harnaaz was presented the crown by Andrea Meza, former Miss Universe 2020 from Mexico.

On being asked what advice she would give to young women on how to deal with the pressures they face, Harnaaz nonchalantly replied: "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's 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," Harnaaz said.

She has been participating in beauty pageants since she was 17 and has previously won the titles of Miss Diva 2021, Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and was placed in the Top 12 at Femina Miss India 2019.

Unlike the other two winners of Miss Universe from India, who made their film debut after being crowned, Sandhu has already worked in Punjabi films like "Yaara Diyan Poo Baran" and "Bai Ji Kuttange".