Earlier this month, one morning we rubbed our eyes in disbelief as after a 21-year hiatus, history had been scripted in the name of India. The ever-promising Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu was crowned as Miss Universe 2021.
The 21-year-old from Chandigarh who radiates confidence from her persona swayed the world or more precisely, the universe.
In conversation with ScoopWhoop, Harnaaz Sandhu gets real about beauty in the world of filters, her family’s initial concerns and left a powerful message for all the young women.
Undeniably, there is a chasm that leads to a generation gap. Harnaaz’s father too had his reservations about her joining the fashion industry at a young age.
My father was a little under-confident but today, he’s the proudest member of my family and it fills my heart with pride when he calls me ‘Punjab di Sherni’.
Her mother was her backbone and with her support, she could build confidence and defy all stereotypes.
While a beauty pageant may exude glamour from its very concept, it serves a much deeper purpose. And the way Harnaaz puts it, has us all convinced.
Beauty pageant is where we share sisterhood. It empowers women all around the world. These talented women came from different parts of the world and the platform embraces them all as one.
She further expresses that despite the diversity, these women have the unwavering spirit to represent their culture and promote it. The platform infuses a transformation in them that will stay for the rest of their lives.
Harnaaz’s charisma had the entire world rooting for her and perhaps that’s why Steve Harvey asking her to do an animal impression in the question-answer round didn’t sit well with the audience.
What in the living 🤬 was this about? While other contestants were asked about their accomplishments Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu was asked to do an animal impression and she meow’d on stage. I want to know who wrote this question for her?#MissUniverse #MissIndia #SteveHarvey— Neeha Curtis (@NeehaCurtis) December 13, 2021
In the same round, other contenders were asked questions about their lives and careers. Similarly, Miss India too had the competence to answer better questions.
Responding to the same she stated that initially she was ‘surprised’ too because Steve asked her a ‘different question’. Yet, she’s of the opinion that ‘everything happens for a reason’ and went on to say,
I’m glad Steve asked me that question because after that I felt more comfortable on stage. My ultimate motto was to make everybody laugh and make them realise that this is Harnaaz, so I’m sure it was pretty enjoyable.
Although light-hearted, she’s pleased that she could entertain the crowd on such a big stage. She sportingly added that it was an opportunity that not everybody gets.
In this day and age, when we have more filters than we have friends, the true essence of beauty gets ambiguous. And Harnaaz too believes that this society has set some bars for women’s beauty.
“We should feel comfortable in our skin. Makeup never makes us beautiful, it just enhances the beauty that’s within us.”
She is convinced that it’s the personality that captures the heart.
Her thoughts about individuality proves that she’s a strong advocate of women rights which also mirrored in her winning answer. She eagerly urges the young women to know that it’s their life and they have the power to change it.
The lack of confidence in women makes her question,
My mom did it, I did the same. If we can, why can you not?
For the uninitiated, Lara Dutta (2000) was the last reigning Miss Universe from India and Sushmita Sen (1994) preceded her.
The humility with which they conduct themselves is admirable. The way they have dealt with difficult circumstances in professional and personal life inspired me to become the inspiration of the youth.
So it goes unsaid that the queens certainly had an influence on Harnaaz, who is now carrying forward their legacy.