Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu on Sunday December 12, was crowned Miss Universe 2021.
Sandhu was crowned the new Miss Universe in Eilat, Israel, defeating 79 other contestants from various countries and territories including first runner-up Miss Paraguay Nadia Ferreira and second runner-up Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane.
She was presented the crown by her successor, Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza, before taking her first walk as the new Miss Universe on stage.
The competition was a historic one, as it marked the first time that a delegate from the United Arab Emirates has ever competed and the first time in over four decades that Miss Universe Morocco has returned to the pageant.
Miss Universe 2021 was held seven months after Meza, 27, earned the 2020 crown this past May. Her win came about five months later than usual because the annual pageant went on a hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The pageant included traditional displays of national costumes, swimwear and a series of interview questions to test contestants’ public speaking skills. The top 10 showed off intricately bedazzled full-length gowns in either gold, silver or bronze.
The competition was hosted by comedian Steve Harvey, who at one point in the night asked Sandhu, “I hear you do some pretty good animal impersonations, let’s hear your best one.”
Harvey was later criticized online for singling her out with what many have suggested was an inappropriate question.