Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu was crowned the 70th Miss Universe on December 13, 2021 in Israel, bagging the coveted title for India 21 years after Lara Dutta won in 2000.
Only two Indians before Sandhu have won the title of Miss Universe - actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.
The Chandigarh-based model was crowned by her predecessor Andrea Meza of Mexico. Sandhu emerged victorious, edging out contestants from 79 countries to bring the title back to India after over two decades.
During the final question and answer round, Sandhu was asked what advice would she give to young women on how to deal with the pressure they face today.
"The biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves, to know that you are unique and that's what makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let's talk about more important things happening worldwide.
"This is what you need to understand. Come out, speak for yourselves because you are the leader of your life, you are the voice of your own. I believed in myself and that's why I am standing here today," she said to thundering applause.
Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu's life and career
Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu, who was born on March 3, 2000, started her journey in pageantry when she won Times Fresh Face in 2017, representing Chandigarh at the age of 17.
She later won the LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2021 title. Sandhu has also worked in a few Punjabi films, including "Yaara Diyan Poo Baran" and "Bai Ji Kuttange".