After 21 years, Harnaaz Sandhu brings Miss Universe back to India


It’s a proud moment for India as Harnaaz Sandhu brought home the prestigious Miss Universe 2021 title-winning the hearts of 1 billion people.

The 21-year-old was crowned Miss Universe on December 12, being only the third Indian to do so after Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta.

This stunner journeyed to the top all the way from Chandigarh. Harnaaz started modeling at the young age of 17 and has won titles like the Miss Chandigarh 2021, Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and Miss Diva Universe. With her killer looks and graceful demeanor, it’s no surprise that this beauty was able to make her way to the crown.

“Be unique. Believe in yourself. Don’t compare yourself” is what Harnaaz said during her crowning ceremony.

These words were etched in her mind from the time she was in school where she used her to recite the same words in the morning assembly.

Hearing her recite the same words was so endearing and emotional, said her teacher, Preetinder, who taught her English in Class VIII.

Originally from Batala, Harnaaz’s family moved to Kharar in 2008 to provide the kids with better facilities. Harnaaz completed her elementary education from Shivalik Public School in Chandigarh. After that, she went on to pursue a Bachelor’s in Information Technology from Government College for Girls in Chandigarh.

As of now, she’s pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration from Chandigarh. Harnaaz plans to utilize her time as Miss Universe to lobby for menstruation equity through public administration.

In her opening statement during the grand finale, Harnaaz won all hearts when she said, “From a young girl with fragile mental health who faced bullying and body shaming to a woman who emerged like a phoenix, realizing her true potential. From an individual who once doubted her own existence to a woman who is aspiring to inspire the youth. Today, I stand proudly in front of the Universe as a courageous, vivacious, and compassionate woman who is all set to lead a life with a purpose, and to leave behind a remarkable legacy.”

Harnaaz father is Gurucharan Singh Sandhu and her mother is Amrit Kaur Sandhu. According to Harnaaz, she is inspired by her mother who broke generations of patriarchy to become a successful gynecologist and led her family.

Harnaaz thanks her mother, who defied sexism to become a renowned doctor, by encouraging her to pursue her own goals. Harnaaz grew up working with her mother at health camps, educating women about reproductive health issues, their physical and mental well-being, as well as their menstrual hygiene. She is acutely aware of the blessings her mother’s hardships have bestowed.

The model has also been a part of a few acting stints. Sandhu appeared in The Landers music video ‘Tarthalli’ and has two Punjabi films in her kitty namely, ‘Bai Ji Kuttange’ and ‘Yaara Diyan Poo Baran,’ that will release next year.

Sandhu who was born into a Sikh family is a yoga enthusiast and a fitness lover. She enjoys acting, singing, dancing, swimming, horse riding and cooking, Sandhu is fluent in Hindi, Punjabi, and English language and loves writing couplets in her mother tongue Punjabi.

In the final round of the competition, the top 3 contestants were asked “What advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?”

To this, Harnaaz Sandhu answered, “The biggest pressure the youth today is facing, is to believe in themselves, to know that you are unique makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that are happening worldwide. Come out, speak for yourself, because you are the leader of your life. You are the voice of your own. I believe in myself and that is why I am standing here today.