The news of Harnaaz Sandhu being crowned Miss Universe at the 70th iteration of the beauty pageant has been received with great jubilation. The 21-year-old model from Punjab brought the crown back home after a gap of 21 years with Lara Dutta being the most recent winner in 2000. From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the biggest superstars in India, many have taken to social media to congratulate Harnaaz Sandhu on the feat.
And in the same vein came Kannada actor Parul Yadav’s post which not only lauded Harnaaz on her achievement but also highlighted an important aspect concerning body stereotyping and conventional beauty standards.
“Congratulations to @HarnaazSandhu03 on such a historic win! ???? Was truly an exemplary representative of ????????…may you reign supreme! Aaj har Hindustani ko aap par naaz hai! ????????????. So while I can’t deny that seeing #Harnaaz win brought happy tears to my eyes I have to say that it’s time we move away from the stereotype that you have to be tall and slim to be beautiful.. all body types, all colours, all women slim, plump, short, tall, etc are beautiful. So either these pageants actively promote a more inclusive concept of beauty or they have to be shut down. Simple. #Sisterhood,” wrote Parul Yadav in her most recent tweets.
Parul’s poignant post comes in relation to a growing global movement, of sorts, which challenges the conventional standards with respect to beauty, especially among women. Many have voiced a similar concern in the past to urge global beauty pageants to move past the traditional outlook towards judging beauty and instead become an inclusive community, which identifies all body types.
The 2021 Miss Diva Universe pageant saw entrants from across 80 countries with the South African model Lalela Mswane finishing the second runner up and Nadia Ferreira of Paraguay adjudged first runner up; it was the Chandigarh girl Harnaaz Sandhu, however, who impressed the judges the most to become only the third Indian after Sushmita Sen (1994) and Lara Dutta (2000) to win the Miss Universe title.