Posted: Monday, December 13, 2021. 2:13 am CST.
By Hugh O’Brien: Miss India, 21 year old Harnaaz Sandhu, was crowned Miss Universe 2021 on Sunday, December 12, 2021 after beating out 79 other contestants to win the prestigious title. The 70th annual Miss Universe competition was held in Eilat, Israel and was hosted by Steve Harvey. Harvey had a controversial bout with the pageant after he announced the wrong winner in 2015 but has since redeemed himself returning as host for the pageant in subsequent years.
Belize, along with Barbados and a couple other countries, did not participate in the 70th edition of the Miss Universe pageant. However, Belize did participate in the 69th Miss Universe pageant which was held on 16 May 2021 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida, U.S.A., and was represented by Iris Salguero, Miss Universe Belize 2020-2021.
Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu earned the prestigious crown in Eilat, Israel, on Sunday after beating out the runner-ups, Miss Paraguay and Miss South Africa. The 70th edition of the pageant had a focus on the current climate change crisis and included a green agenda that corresponds with the values of Israel.
Sandhu, an actor, is a strong advocate for women, and she enjoys yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding and playing chess in her spare time.
As the new Miss Universe 2021, Sandhu was crown by her predecessor, 27 year old Andrea Meza of Mexico. After receiving her crown, Sandhu took her first walk as the new Miss Universe on the stage in Eilat, Israel.
The schedules for Miss Universe and other international pageants have been plagued by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and as a result Miss Universe 2021 was held only seven months after Mexico’s Andrea Meza won the 2020 crown on 16 May 2021..
According to People magazine Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said prior to Sunday’s competition that “Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic placed in our path, we knew how to maintain the balance between health and the economy, to bring tourism back to Israel. We needed to create tourism anchors that will promote and present Israel to the world as a vaccination nation that invites tourists to visit. The Miss Universe pageant is, without [a] doubt, an important and significant anchor of this plan.”
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