It's only been four months since Harnaaz Sandhu won the Miss Universe 2021 crown, but her reign has already been nothing short of inspiring. ICYMI, the 22-year-old Indian is currently in the Philippines for a couple of guest appearances, one of which will be at the MUPH Coronation Night this April 30.
Despite her young age, Harnaaz has already exemplified just how mature she already is. Case in point: Her recent response to netizens bashing her for her apparent weight gain.
She's previously made it clear that "everyone is beautiful," and that no amount of hate could possibly bring her down. In an exclusive interview, she expounds on this by saying that, "we are women of all colors, all sizes, all shapes. The way you look never matters."
Harnaaz is aware that her position as Miss Universe makes her an easy target to this type of bashing. "I think [that] with the impact of social media, there [were] a lot of people who tried to make me feel that I'm not beautiful. I made them realize that it's not about how you look, it's about how you feel, and what kind of heart you have towards everyone."
"The fact that we, as Miss Universe, talk about body positivity, and for the very first time, one of the Miss Universe's has been through it, this is a test for all the fans who love pageantry," she adds. "There [are] so many young people around the world who are being bashed every single day on the basis of how they look."
This sentiment resounds with what Harnaaz said on the international stage last December in Israel. When asked about the advice she would give young women, she shared, "Know that you are unique and that's what makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others."
"Trust me when I say that we are all unique, and that is what makes us beautiful. We need to appreciate everyone because everyone has a different story, everyone has a different lifestyle, and everyone has a different way of handling sensitivities. We have the power of social media so let's use it to uplift each other."
Overall, Harnaaz reiterates that being a beauty queen is more than skin-deep. "We, as Miss Universe, and we, as women, want to support everyone out there. The way you speak and what you say is what really matters at the end of the day."
Hear, hear, Harnaaz! We're excited to see you onstage this April 30!