This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu Crowned Miss Universe 2021
Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu was awarded the prestigious title at the 70th Miss Universe pageant on Sunday, Dec. 12.
Miss Paraguay Nadia Ferreira took home the title of runner-up, while Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane placed third in the competition.
Sandhu succeeds Andrea Meza of Mexico, who was crowned Miss Universe in May after 2020's pageant was delayed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a strong advocate for women's empowerment and an actor. According to her profile, Priyanka Chopra is her favorite actor. And after Sandhu received the crown, the Quantico star congratulated her on social media.
Held in Eilat, Israel, this year's show saw 80 delegates from a diverse range of backgrounds—including an architect from Albania, a flight attendant from Iceland and a lawyer from Armenia. Manar Nadeem Deyani made history as the first woman to ever represent Bahrain in the pageant. The televised event also marked the first time Morocco—represented by Kawtar Benhalima—appeared in the competition since 1978.
Additionally, the 70th Miss Universe pageant saw the return of Steve Harvey as its host. The comedian's daughter, Lori Harvey, was a part of this year's selection committee alongside model Adriana Lima, The Bold and the Beautiful star Rena Sofer, Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere and actresses Adamari López, Urvashi Rautela and Marian Rivera.
JoJo and Israeli singer Noa Kirel also took the stage to perform.
The competition came just weeks after Miss Kentucky Elle Smith was named the winner of the 2021 Miss USA pageant. The Louisville-based journalist, who was given the Mouawad Miss USA Power of Positivity Crown, succeeded Asya Branch to represent the United States in the latest Miss Universe competition. She was among the top 10 finalists in the pageant. Currently, Miss Florida Breanna Myles is Miss Teen USA of 2021.
The Miss Universe pageant consists of preliminary and live show events, including the interviews, swimsuit or athletic wear, evening gown and final question rounds. To see the contestants' dresses from the evening gown portion.