“Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful” – Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu. Born in Gurdaspur, Punjab, Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu represented India at the 70th Miss Universe 2021, held in Israel, and became the third Indian to win the title after Lara Dutta in 2000 and Sushmita Sen in 1994.
Sandhu’s final round’s answer left her with thundering applause. On being asked about her advice on ways to deal with the pressure young women face today, 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 are 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.”
Sandhu overcame her past with respect to the body-shaming incidents and her introverted nature, by having self-belief in her strength and uniqueness. Inspired by Priyanka Chopra’s courage, determination, and never-give-up attitude, she chose modeling as her career, aspiring to make India proud on a global level. As she wore the Miss Universe crown, she remembered the promise she made to her parents, “tuhaanu naaz hoga mere te, te pure desh nu.”
Sandhu’s family always encouraged her to pursue her dreams. She started her career with some minor beauty pageants and won various titles – Miss Chandigarh in 2017, Miss Max Emerging Star India in 2018, Femina Miss India Punjab in 2021, Miss Diva Universe in 2021, and finally Miss Universe in 2021. Not only this, but she also featured in two Punjabi movies ‘Yaara Diyan Poo Baran and ‘Bai Ji Kuttange,’ which are scheduled to release in 2022. Harnaaz made her television debut with a cameo role in Colors TV’s ongoing series ‘Udaariyaan.’
Harnaaz was always inclined towards the upliftment of women’s hygiene and facilities for underprivileged children. She had organized a free health camp for women with the support of the Israeli Embassy, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, and Khushi NGO. Talking about her future prospects, she said, “I would love to be a part of Bollywood and Hollywood. I am looking forward to that along with talking about the issues and differences in society which, I think we all need to focus on.”