India's Harnaaz Sandhu crowned Miss Universe 2021

Menahem KAHANA / AFP

Actor-model Harnaaz Sandhu made history on Monday as she was crowned Miss Universe 2021, beating contestants from 80 countries.

It has been 21 years since India last claimed the title.

“This has been an experience of a lifetime!” said Harnaaz Sandhu.

After a two-week-long visit to Jerusalem and Eilat, a National Costume Competition, rounds of interviews, a preliminary competition and the live finals, Harnaaz was presented with the “Power of Unity” Crown, presented to her by outgoing Miss Universe, Andrea Meza.

Only two Indians before Sandhu have won the title of Miss Universe - actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.

The Chandigarh-based model is pursuing her master's degree in public administration.

Paraguay's Nadia Ferreira, 22, finished second, South Africa's Lalela Mswane, 24, came third.

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