Harnaaz Sandhu was crowned Miss Universe at the 70th Miss Universe Organization competition live from Eilat, Israel in December 2021 at the age of 21, bringing the crown back to India for the first time in 20 years.
She draws her inspiration from her mother, who broke generations of patriarchy to become a successful gynecologist and led her family. Driven to support other women the same way, Harnaaz grew up working with her mother at health camps addressing women's health and menstrual hygiene.
In March 2022, Harnaaz helped to launched a new coalition for menstrual equity in her home country of India, a partnership group that is dedicated to increasing access to safe menstrual care in India and around the world by increasing awareness of, and access to, low-cost, sustainable, and proven solutions that will improve the lives of women, girls, and their families. This initiative will reach 5 million women and girls in 200 locations throughout India by 2025 and create a platform for impact globally. Then on September 24th, this collective group was announced globally at the 2022 Global Citizen Festival in New York City, as Harnaaz introduced the, “Global Menstrual Equity Accelerator” (GMEA) which will fight stigma, influence policy and secure resources needed to end period poverty through their Period for Change campaign. Deeply conscious of the privilege her mother's struggles have gifted her, Harnaaz continues today to be a strong advocate for women's empowerment, particularly their constitutional rights to education, careers, and freedom of choice.
Professionally, Harnaaz is an actor. One of her two Punjabi films premiered in August 2022, and the other is slated for release at the end of the year. Harnaaz hopes in any roles she takes she can break stereotypes. Her favorite actor is Priyanka Chopra, and she draws inspiration from her body of work.
In her spare time, Harnaaz enjoys the company of friends, loves yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding, and playing chess. She is a water baby and never misses a chance to jump into a pool to rejuvenate herself. She believes in the saying - “Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful."