Chandigarh model Harnaaz Sandhu was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday evening, beating out contestants from Brazil, Venezuela and the Philippines to bring home India's first Miss Universe title in 21 years since it was won by Lara Dutta in 2000.
The 21 year-old beat runners up South Africa and Paraguay to be crowned Miss Universe by Andrea Meza, former Miss Universe 2020 from Mexico at the event which was live-streamed globally. While Paraguay's Nadia Ferreira, 22, finished second, South Africa's Lalela Mswane, 24, came third.
Harnaaz is a 21-year-old model from Chandigarh who finished her school and college in the city. She has been in the industry for many years and even has many numerous pageant titles to her name. She has also starred in Punjabi films like Yaara Diyan Poo Baran and Bai Ji Kuttange.
She was the winner of Times Fresh Face Miss Chandigarh 2017, Miss Max Emerging Star India 2018 and Femina Miss India Punjab 2019.
The young woman received appreciation for the confidence and poise she displayed in the question rounds before the title was awarded, impressing judges and audience alike.
On being asked what advice she would give to young women on how to deal with the pressures they face, a composed Ms 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's happening worldwide."
The ceremony was hosted by Steve Harvey and saw performances from American singer JoJo. The final round of the coveted Miss Universe pageant was held in Eilat, Israel and hosted competitors from over 80 countries around the world.