Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu has won the Miss Universe title 2021. The event was held in Eilat, Israel on Sunday. Miss India beat runner-ups, Miss Paraguay, and Miss South Africa.
India won the prestigious title after 21 years. The last Miss India to win the title was Lara Dutta, now a successful Bollywood actress in 2000. Harnaaz Sandhu won the competition which has representatives from 79 countries.
Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza presented the crown to the winner. Sandhu is a strong advocate for women's empowerment. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding, and playing chess.
This time the competition was a historic one since this is the first time a delegate from the United Arab Emirates has ever competed and the first time in over four decades that Miss Universe Morocco has returned to the pageant.
Miss Universe 2021 was held just 5 months after Miss Universe 2020 competition because the annual pageant went on a hiatus due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said, "Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic placed in our path, we knew how to maintain the balance between health and the economy, to bring tourism back to Israel.”