What we can learn from Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu

Published December 18, 2021, 1:04 PM

by Manila Bulletin

The beauty queen inspires the youth to believe in themselves and use their voice to make the world a better place

In our current era, technology is like a magical genie that allows us to have everything we ever want. Feeling hungry or in need to buy something? No need to get out of the house, food delivery services are online. If you need information, the internet is a digital library, a home to the collective knowledge of man. If you’re too busy or lazy to do makeup, there is a bunch of filters that can be applied through our smartphones. Everything is available in just a few clicks.

Whatever we want or need to do, technology has us covered. The best part is that this modern genie is not limited to granting three wishes. But because of how convenient technology is, we tend to rely on it too much. We forget about the dangers of “extremes” and overdependence. Too much of anything is bad. With technology and social media, the life of the people we admire becomes an open book for everyone to see and judge. Social media becomes a place of insecurities and other societal pressures due to standards set by the majority.

YOUTH EMPOWERING YOUTH Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu showing her advocacy for children with cleft lip/palette.

Even before the 70th Miss Universe competition, Ms. India, Harnaaz Sandhu, has been the talk of the town for her outstanding beauty and confidence. In the preliminary competition, Harnaaz proved to everyone that she was deserving of the crown after “slaying” every segment of the competition. She shone even brighter with her timely and inspiring statement for the question and answer segment.

“What advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?” That was the last question asked to the final three candidates of this year’s pageant. Among the three candidates, Harnaaz stood out with her response that won her the crown.

INDIA WINS Newly crowned Harnaaz Sandhu after the coronation (Miss Universe)

“I think the biggest pressure the youth of today are facing is to believe in themselves” the 21-year-old beauty queen started. “To know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that are happening worldwide.”

India last got the Miss Universe title in 2000, with their candidate Lara Dutta. Twenty-one years later, Harnaaz brings the crown back to her home country.

SUMMER SMILE Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu during the swimsuit competition (Miss Universe)

Today’s generation is distracted by the technology and everything that we consume online. We become blind and forgetful of the significance of youth participation in addressing real problems everywhere. Harnaaz is an example of a youth who uses her voice to inspire others but also actively participates in addressing issues. The newly crowned Miss Universe 2021 couldn’t have said it any better:

“Come out, speak for yourself because you are the leader of your life, you are the voice of your own,” says Harnaaz. “I believed in myself and that’s why I’m standing here today.”—Pam Rapal