Miss Universe India Harnaaz Sandhu was crowned Miss Universe live on FOX and Telemundo tonight from Eilat, Israel. Harnaaz will use her time as Miss Universe to advocate for menstrual equity through public administration.
After a two week-long visit to Jerusalem and Eilat, a beautiful National Costume Competition, rounds of interviews, a preliminary competition and the live Finals, Harnaaz was crowned with the iconic Mouawad “Power of Unity” Crown, presented to her by outgoing Miss Universe, Andrea Meza. Harnaaz will move to New York City in the new year to represent the brand and various philanthropic organizations during her reign.
“This has been an experience of a lifetime!” said Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu. “The past three weeks have been a dream getting to know these exceptional women, and I’m honored to be chosen among them to represent this inspiring organization. I hope to serve the global community to the best of my ability in the year to come.”
Miss Universe India, Harnaaz Sandhu, credits her mother, who broke generations of patriarchy to become a successful gynecologist, for inspiring her to follow her own dreams. Driven to support women in a similar way, Harnaaz grew up working with her mother at health camps, educating women about their health and menstrual hygiene. Deeply conscious of the privilege her mother’s struggles have gifted her, Harnaaz is a strong advocate for women’s empowerment today, particularly their constitutional rights to education, careers, and their freedom of choice. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Public Administration. Harnaaz is also an actress, and enjoys yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding and playing chess in her free time.
“It’s been very special getting to know the contestants through our shared admiration of the history and beauty of our host country, these past two weeks,” stated Paula M. Shugart, President of the Miss Universe Organization. “I’m thrilled to have Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu represent Miss Universe this year, as her passion to help educate women, and fight for their freedoms emulates all the crown stands for.”
The 70th MISS UNIVERSE competition aired live from a bespoke venue in Eilat, Israel, and was hosted by legendary entertainer Steve Harvey, along with backstage correspondents, Emmy Award-winning TV personality and style expert Carson Kressley (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”) and TV presenter and former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst (“Extra”). One of the evening’s many highlights included the powerful performances from GRAMMY Award-winning artist, JoJo and Israeli singer Noa Kirel. Women representing 80 countries competed for the opportunity to become the next Miss Universe in this anniversary spectacular. Selection committee members for the 70th annual show included: international super model, actress and businesswoman Adriana Lima; model, television host and Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere; beauty entrepreneur and model Lori Harvey; Bollywood actress Urvashi Rautela; Filipino actress Marian Rivera; actress, author, TV host & Telemundo star Adamari Lopez; and “The Bold and the Beautiful” actress Rena Sofer.
During the telecast that aired in over 160 countries and territories across the globe, the outgoing Miss Universe, Andrea Meza, broke the news of her new role as a TV presenter for Telemundo. Other telecast highlights included Miss Universe Chile Antonia Figueroa being presented with the second annual Miss Universe Impact Award in partnership with ImapctWayv, for her career in environmental engineering. Finally, Miss Universe Bahamas Chantel O’Brian was presented with The Carnival Spirit Award, for exhibiting the spirit of friendship throughout the competition.