On Sunday, Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu was officially named Miss Universe 2021. She was crowned by her predecessor, former Miss Mexico Andrea Meza, before taking her first walk on the show stage in Eilat, Israel.

Sandhu, 21, narrowly beat runner-up Miss Paraguay Nadia Ferreira and second runner-up Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane to claim the Miss Universe pageant crown.

Passionate about women’s empowerment, Sandhu cites inspiration from her mother’s story on her Miss Universe Delegate page. She said her mother “broke generations of patriarchy to become a successful gynecologist and led her family.”

Sandhu is also a fan of Priyanka Chopra, plays chess, and “never misses a chance to jump into a pool to rejuvenate herself.”


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This was the 70th annual Miss Universe pageant and was hosted by Steve Harvey for the first time since 2019, despite his many hilarious past blunders. The pageant features a swimsuit and evening gown segment, along with interviews of each contestant, before a winner was announced.

The show also featured a performance by Israeli pop star Noa Kirel, with a message about the dangers of climate change.

The 2021 pageant comes only seven months after Meza won the 2020 crown after several delays took place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said in a statement prior to Sunday’s contest that he hoped the pageant would highlight Israel as a “vaccination nation that invites tourists to visit.”

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