Back in Chandigarh, Miss Universe Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu talks about the winning moment, family support, social causes and trolls : The Tribune India


Miss Universe Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu brings the crown to Chandigarh, as she returns home for the first time after her win in December 2021. “I am glad to be back. It has been six months since I was last here; in between I did come for one day when I won Miss Diva India title. I am happy to meet my parents and people of Punjab,” she says, craving for homemade makki ki roti and sarson ka saag, although she had learnt how to make it on her own in New York.

Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu – Photo: Manoj Mahajan

I am getting to learn about different cultures, as I spread awareness about various causes. Harnaaz Sandhu, Miss Universe 2021

About the crowning moment, she says, “Only the person who is living those moments will be able to feel and experience it. You don’t realise it while living it. But, I credit my family and my team. Even though I got a few hours to sleep in between, Miss Diva team went sleepless for many nights to help me achieve the unbelievable. My family has been very supportive.”

Winning note

And what really happens after winning a pageant, Harnaaz replies in her mother tongue, Punjabi, “You beam with confidence, you have a clearer vision of your goals. On a lighter note, I got a chance to visit many countries. I am getting to learn about different cultures, as I spread awareness about various causes. I get to be part of a lot of national and international shoots. Sometimes, I hold meeting with members of world organisations to ideate and share the common goals we can work on to ensure growth of humanity. If you follow my journey on social media, you will get to know what pageants are all about; these are much beyond beauty and glamour.”

Trolls don’t matter

About the trolls on her weight gain, Harnaaz says, “I was bullied for being thin earlier and now for my weight gain! Nobody knows about my celiac disease; I cannot eat gluten and many other things, so I refuse to give an explanation about it. It doesn’t matter to me. If you think I am the most beautiful girl and that’s why I have won Miss Universe, I am sorry you are wrong. I might not be the most beautiful, but I might am courageous and confident.”

Wait & watch

Harnaaz is no hurry to make her Bollywood debut. “It’s about yesterday that I was crowned Miss Universe, and it’s a huge deal. Even though I earned it, I will not let myself forget that it’s not just a personal win but for the nation. I bring home the crown after 21 years. So, my focus is on being the spokesperson of Miss Universe Organisation and to advocate various causes,” she adds. Earlier, Harnaaz had met the Chief Minister of Punjab Bhagwant Mann. She says, “It was a dream-come-true moment for me to have met him. I am also a theatre artiste and a big fan of Bhagwant Mann.”

As for her views on the hijab controversy, Harnaaz says, “There are so many people who are stating I am supporting the hijab. I think I just gave my perspective on it. If a girl is wearing a hijab, it’s totally her choice. Let her live the way she wants to live. We as women need to respect each other.” 

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