Harnaaz Sandhu, from Punjab, representing India, marked a historic victory at the 70th Miss Universe. She was crowned Miss Universe 2021 on December 12 at the University Dome in Eilat, Israel. Harnaaz was the first Indian woman to win Miss Universe. In 1994, Sushmita Sen became the first woman to win the title. Six years later, in 2000, Lara Dutta was named Miss Universe. It has been 21 years since India last won the Miss Universe title, and Harnaaz took the crown 21 years after Lara Bhupathi did in 2000. She had won by defeating contestants from 80 different countries. The first runner-up was Paraguay's Nadia Ferreira, the second runner-up was South Africa's Lalela Mswane, and the pageant was won by the 21-year-old from Punjab. Sandhu was presented the crown by a Mexican model and beauty pageant titleholder, Andrea Meza, who was crowned Miss Universe 2020.
At the beauty pageant, the contender was asked, "What advice would you give to young ladies watching on how to deal with the issues they face today?" "Well, I think the biggest strain the kids of today are facing is believing in themselves," Harnaaz Sandhu said in response to this issue. To understand that you are unique, and that is what makes you wonderful, stop comparing yourself to others and instead focus on more pressing global issues. This, I believe, is what you must comprehend. Come out and speak for yourself, since you are the leader of your life. You are the narrator of your own journey. "I believe in myself, and that is why I am here today."
The first runner-up Nadia Ferreira, of Paraguay, said, "I've been through so many hard situations in my life. But I overcame it. So I want all women and all people who are watching at this moment to join forces and do what they're meant to do, because you can do it. Whatever scenario you find yourself in, you can overcome it and emerge victorious.
"I would advise young women today to choose courage above comfort at every chance," said the second runner-up, Lalela Mswane of South Africa. I also want young women to understand that they have had all they need to do anything they choose from the beginning of time. Unfortunately, the world was the one who persuaded us that we didn't.
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