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Harnaaz, You Made Us Proud!

January 16, 2023 09:32 IST
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A rewind of when our own Harnaaz Sandhu was Miss Universe 2021.    

IMAGE: January 14 wasn't just about finding a new Miss Universe. It was also about saying goodbye to our own apna Miss Universe of the past year.

During 2022 Harnaaz Sandhu didn't need to wear designer gowns to standout. She made heads swivel just being herself, a charming, courageous young woman of 22.
Photograph: Kind courtesy Harnaaz Sandhu/Instagram and Miss Universe/Instagram

Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu bid the universe she ruled farewell, when she took her final walk, with heavy feet and a heavy heart, on Sunday, India time, in New Orleans, to place the crown on the head of USA's R'Bonney Gabriel, Miss Universe 2022.

Emotions brimming, tears rolling down her face, her hands folded in a namaste, a bittersweet smile playing on her face, Harnaaz made her way slowly but regally across the stage, paying tribute, in a sweet gesture, to her Indian predecessors Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta in a glitzy black gown featuring prints of their crowning moments.

Her deep-neck Saisha Shinde ballroom dress had a huge bow and portraits of the beauty queens on either side in the back and brought her journey a full circle -- she won her title, two Decembers ago, in Eilat, Israel in a sumptuous pink costume by Saisha.

The Gurdaspur-born, Chandigarh-raised Harnaaz was the third Indian to win the Miss Universe title.

She carried the crown back to India 21 long years after Lara Dutta's win in 2000. Sushmita Sen won the Miss Universe title in 1994.

She marked an end to her reign with an outfit that will be etched in our hearts. Thank you, Harnaaz.

IMAGE: As showstopper for Shivan and Narresh at FDCI x LFW last year she looked every inch the empress of the universe.
Photograph: Kind courtesy FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week/Instagram

Harnaaz's Miss Universe journey was not easy.

The beauty queen, who suffers from celiac disease (inflammation due to gluten), gained weight post her win and was diagnosed with allergies she never knew she had. It was a very tough phase, and, in an interview, she revealed that she 'broke down so many times'.

To add to her woes, the public showed her no mercy. She was subject to a lot of criticism online, especially around the time she was in India for the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week last year.

Yet Harnaaz continued to inspire change by asking people to accept that everyone is imperfect in some way.

'It was kind of uncomfortable and really surprising for me to see how people started having their opinions, which should not really matter. It's not about how you look, it's about who you are from inside and how you treat people and what you believe in,' she said.

An undisputed paragon of style, Harnaaz was always a portrait of beauty and a complete delight to look at all the way through 2022. 

IMAGE: Reflecting the greener side of life, simply, elegantly. Harnaaz, firmly believed, whatever her challenges, that the grass was aways greener on her side.
Photographs: Kind courtesy Harnaaz Sandhu/Instagram and Miss Universe/Instagram


IMAGE: For the love of white: The heroine of her own life, she lives up to her Punjaban image in all-white.


IMAGE: Looking at Manhattan via cat-eye sunglasses: The black-and-white beret distracts a tad from the Snow White look.


IMAGE: If Harnaaz were a colour, what would she be? Why, green of course. For her interest in the environment. In metres and metres of haryali she's queenly in Jakarta.


IMAGE: Take time to smell the flowers. Is that Mis Sandhu's message?
Photograph: Jason Mendez/Getty Images


IMAGE: Green Green Grass, Blue Blue Sky could be her song. Remember the time she chose pin stripes and a sea-foam green cropped jacket with matching billowing pants, for the Glam Slam presented by NYFW and Serena Williams? Yes, Harnaaz you won our hearts last year. Sayonara, girl.
But we agree with Lara Dutta who rightly commented, touched seeing Harnaaz's Saturday dress: 'Am sure she's going to blaze her own individual, glorious path'.
Photograph: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

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