Mumbai: Model Harnaaz Sandhu says winning the title of LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2021 comes with a huge responsibility of carrying forward a legacy but she is determined to give her best while representing India at the global pageant of Miss Universe 2021.
The Chandigarh-based model was crowned LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2021, last week.
Sandhu says the news of the win is yet to sink in but she has already started preparing for Miss Universe 2021, to be held in December in Israel.
"It feels surreal and I cannot explain it in words how grateful I am to God and each and everyone who has been a part of my journey. But, along with the title comes a great responsibility to carry forward a legacy with utmost determination and passion.
"I will make sure that I represent myself as the best version of my country and make India proud at Miss Universe 2021. Also, I see this opportunity as a way of strengthening the relations between Israel and India," Sandhu told PTI.
The 21-year-old, who is currently pursuing her master's degree in public administration, said getting an opportunity to represent the country at the global pageant in itself is a "huge success".
Sandhu, however, is aware that the road to the coveted pageant won't be easy. So far, only two Indians -- actors Sushmita Sen (1994) and Lara Dutta (2000) -- have won the title of Miss Universe.
"The challenges are definitely going to be there as no success path is easy. We have only 45 days to prepare and we are not leaving any stone unturned. There is a lot of work that is being done. It's definitely going to be a roller-coaster ride but I'm ready for it as vision, hard work and goals are what create a winner," she added.
Sandhu started her journey in pageantry when she won Times Fresh Face in 2017, representing Chandigarh at the age of 17.
Post the win, she said she recognised her potential and soon became a part of Femina Miss India pageant in 2019, where she was crowned Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and made it to the Top 12.
"From being a girl-next-door to becoming a woman, the transformation has been incredibly overwhelming and challenging. On this journey, I found the purpose of my life," she said.
Sandhu has also worked in a few Punjabi films, including the upcoming "Yaara Diyan Poo Baran" and "Bai Ji Kuttange" and said being in front of the camera as an actor was a humbling experience.
"It has been an incredible experience to be a part of the acting industry as I got to showcase my hidden talents. I love acting as I enjoy being on the screen and it has been a great learning experience as well. I cannot wait to share the release dates soon," she added.