The 3 Indian 'Miss Universe' who brought glory to the nation

The 3 Indian 'Miss Universe' who brought glory to the nation

By: Anindita, writer

Indian women have been making a mark in the world excelling in different fields among which winning this ‘Miss Universe’ pageant is noteworthy. From Sushmita Sen (1994) and Lara Dutta (2000) to Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu (2021), India has been glorified by these ‘Miss Universe’ winners. Run by the United States-based Miss Universe Organization, Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant established in June 1952, to empower and celebrate women of all backgrounds. Miss Universe is one of the four international beauty pageants, along with Miss Earth, Miss International and Miss World. The Miss Universe competition is held between early November and late January for the past few years. During the final competition, the winners are being crowned by the previous year’s titleholder. Intelligent, well-mannered and cultured are some of the requisites to earn this title. Let’s take a glance at the journey of the 3 Indian ‘Miss Universe’.

Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu

The Miss Universe 2021 was born on 3 March 2000 in Chandigarh in a Sikh family. Her mother is a gynaecologist and her father is a realtor. She attended Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Chandigarh and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration. She has won titles such as Miss Chandigarh 2017 and Miss Max Emerging Star India 2018 and has started her career at the age of 17. She was placed in Top 12 in Femina Miss India and also won the Femina Miss India Punjab 2019. Her accomplishments do not end here. Sindhu won the Miss Diva Universe 2021 competition. Sindhu during the Miss Diva Universe 2021 grand finale said, “From a young girl with fragile mental health who faced bullying and body shaming to a woman who emerged like a phoenix, realising her true potential. Form an individual who once doubted her existence to a woman who is aspiring to inspire the youth. Today, I stand proudly in front of the Universe as a courageous, vivacious, and compassionate woman who is all set to lead a life with a purpose, and to leave behind a remarkable legacy.”

Harnaaz Sandhu represented India at the Miss Universe 2021 which was held on 12 December 2021 in Israel’s Eilat, after winning Miss Diva 2021. Harnaaz advanced to the top three, from a pool of 80 contestants before finally winning the Miss Universe 2021 title. She pays all the tribute to her family which stayed with her during her worst time. Priyanka Chopra is her source of inspiration as Miss Universe believes her aura reflects courage, determination and a never-give-up attitude. Former pageant holders Lara Dutta and Sushmita Sen also sent her a heartfelt note congratulating her on her win.

Lara Dutta

Dutta was born to an Anglo-Indian mother and a Punjabi Hindu father in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. Her father is a Wing Commander and her siblings have served in the Indian Air Force. She pursued her graduation in economics and a minor in communications. Dutta was crowned Miss Intercontinental in 1997. She took part in the Femina Miss India contest in 2000 and won the title. She participated in Miss Universe 2000 contest in Cyprus and was crowned Miss Universe 2000, at the end of the event. Shortly after her Miss Universe win, she has been a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador since 2001.

She started her acting career with the Tamil film, Arasatchi in 2002 and made her Hindi debut with the film Andaaz in 2003, for which she won a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. She has also hosted the IIFA awards 5 times. For the reality show High Fever, she was featured as a talent judge. Lara Dutta offers several videos on YouTube mostly for prenatal yoga. She began mentoring contestants of the Miss Diva contest in 2017. Dutta launched Arias, a vegetarian beauty line in 2019. She has also been supporting the Me Too movement in India. She is married to Indian tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi and has a daughter named Saira Bhupathi.

Sushmita Sen

The Miss Universe 1994 pageant winner, an actress and model Sushmita, was born on 19 November 1975 to a Bengali family. Her father was a former Indian Air Force Wing Commander and her mother was a jewellery designer and owner of a Dubai-based store. She studied at Air Force Golden Jubilee Institute in New Delhi and St. Ann’s High School in Secunderabad. In 1994, she won the title ‘Femina Miss India Universe’ and after that competed at the Miss Universe 1994 contest. At the contest, she was the first Indian to win the title of Miss Universe. She returned to Manila Philippines as one of the judges of the Miss Universe 2016 beauty pageant.

Sushmita became an actress after her reign as Miss Universe. In 1996, she made her debut with the film Dastak. She won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award in 1999 for her movie Biwi No.1. She is also well known for her humanitarian works. In 2000, Sen adopted a baby Girl Renee and in 2010 she adopted a second girl, Alisah.

With such dynamic women, it is sure that India will witness more of such titles coming to the nation.