Harnaaz Sandhu of India was crowned the 70th Miss Universe on Sunday, topping a field of some 80 contestants in the Israeli Red Sea resort town of Eilat.
In the finale round, Harnaaz beat Paraguay's Nadia Ferreira and South Africa's Lalela Mswane.
Only two Indians have won the title of Miss Universe before Harnaaz Sandhu - actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.
The moment her name was declared as the winner, Actor-model Harnaaz Sandhu broke down with tears of joy.
In a video going viral on Twitter, Harnaaz is seen saying 'Chak de phatte, India' moments after winning the crown.
In an Instagram post, Harnaaz dedicated her journey to the world event to India saying, “India, this one’s for you.”
A Chandigarh-based model, Harnaaz Sandhu has won several beauty pageants in the past.
She has been crowned Miss Diva 2021 and Femina Miss India Punjab 2019. Harnaaz, in fact, was also placed in the Top 12 at Femina Miss India 2019.
Harnaaz Sandhu has also worked in Punjabi films such as Yaara Diyan Poo Baran and Bai Ji Kuttange. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Public Administration.
In her spare time, Harnaaz enjoys the company of friends, loves yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding, and playing chess.
She is a water baby and never misses a chance to jump into a pool to rejuvenate herself. She believes in the saying - “Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful."
Harnaaz draws her inspiration from her mother, who broke generations of patriarchy to become a successful gynecologist and led her family.
Driven to support other women the same way, Harnaaz grew up working with her mother at health camps addressing women's health and menstrual hygiene.
Deeply conscious of the privilege her mother's struggles have gifted her, Harnaaz today is a strong advocate for women's empowerment, particularly their constitutional rights to education, careers, and their freedom of choice.
Her favorite actor is Priyanka Chopra (former Miss World 2000), and she draws inspiration from her body of work.
The previously reigning Miss Universe, Andrea Meza of Mexico, crowned her successor.
The pageant was held in the middle of the night, wrapping up at 5 a.m. local time (10 p.m. EST) to accommodate the primetime schedule in the U.S.
The pageant included traditional displays of national costumes, evening gowns and swimwear, as well as a series of interview questions to test contestants’ public speaking skills.
The contest also suffered a last-minute hiccup with the arrival of the omicron variant, which forced Israel to close its borders to foreign tourists late last month.
Most of the Miss Universe contestants were already in the country before the new regulations came into effect. But those who came afterward were given special permission to enter, albeit with a mandatory 72-hour quarantine period.
Throughout the run-up to Sunday’s contest, all contestants were tested for the coronavirus every 48 hours and required to obey strict mask requirements.
Last year’s pageant was delayed due to the pandemic before Meza was crowned in May for her abbreviated tenure.
Sunday’s contest was hosted by U.S. TV personality Steve Harvey. Organizers said the pageant was expected to reach an estimated 600 million viewers via the FOX network in 172 countries.
Washington had argued that the passage of such a resolution would endanger ongoing delicate diplomatic negotiations which could see the release of hostages
He played 86 times for his country, scoring eight goals, the most famous of which, an 85th-minute penalty against Argentina
Afzal Basira defeated Rajgan Cricket Club by 26 runs to claim the crown
The 57,000 sqm facility incorporates advanced technologies that include automated sort systems
The couple, who tied the knot in 2017, had their first child Vamika in 2021
Report notes that the GCC banking sector has experienced steady growth due to infrastructure projects, economic diversification efforts
The schedule is yet to be announced as the league coincides with India's general elections