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India’s Harnaaz Sandhu made her country proud by bringing home the coveted Miss Universe crown after more than two decades. The Miss Universe beauty pageant which is one of the biggest beauty events in the world is more than just an international platform where young women from around the world display their beauty and talent. It is a multi billion – dollar industry which offers incredible economic benefits and prizes for the winner.

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Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu (Miss India) speaks to reporters after winning the 70th Miss Universe beauty pageant in Israel. Photo: AFP/ Menahem KAHANA


The Crown-‘Power of Unity’

The sparkling crown that Harnaaz Sandhu wore after winning the title costs a whopping Rs 38 crore (5 million UD dollars). The lanky beauty can keep the crown for the next 365 days or until the next winner is crowned.

Even though the title winner can wear it for selected events, the super expensive crown is the property of the Miss Universe Organization. The crown has been designed and sponsored by the Swiss luxury jewellery brand ‘Mouawad’. The crown is crafted with 18 carat gold and hand – set with 1,725 white diamonds and 3 canary diamonds. The centre stone alone weighs 62.83 carats. It signifies a woman’s inner strength and conveys the golden age of women. It was in 2019 that this crown, named ‘Power of Unity’ was designed. Even though Indian beauties like Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta had won the Miss Universe titles, they didn’t wear the ‘Power of Unity’ crown.

The crown that was used for the first edition of Miss Universe was a wedding tiara from the Russian royal family. In the last 70 years, nine different types of crowns were used for the Miss Universe pageant. Sushmita and Lara had worn the magnificent ‘Lady Crown’ that was used from 1961 to 2001.

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The top five Miss Universe contestants (L to R) Miss India, Harnaaz Sandhu; Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane; Miss Paraguay, Nadia Ferreira; Miss Colombia, Valeria Ayos; and Miss Philippines, Beatrice Gomez pose on stage during the 70th Miss Universe beauty pageant in Israel. Photo: AFP/ Menahem KAHANA


The grand prize

Besides wearing the most expensive crown, the winner of Miss Universe title gets a prize money of Rs 1.8 crore (250,000 dollars). She also gets a monthly salary and other allowances for a year. The winner is allowed to stay at the Miss Universe apartment in New York for one year. This opulent apartment in the heart of Manhattan in New York has been hailed as one of the most luxurious living spaces in the city. Changing background settings for video calls for Miss Universe and Miss USA, a book shelf with a good collection of books that have to be read by every beauty pageant winner and a brand – new coffee table crafted in brass are some of the latest additions in the apartment.

Apart from this, Harnaaz is given a team of assistants, professional make-up artists, hair stylists, costume designers, world’s best photographers, specialist doctors, nutritionists and even dentists. She will also get free supply of hair care and skin care products, outfits, footwear, jewellery and other grooming items for a year.

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The final three Miss Universe contestants (L to R) Miss Paraguay, Nadia Ferreira; Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane; and Miss India, Harnaaz Sandhu pose on stage during the 70th Miss Universe beauty pageant in Israel. Photo: AFP/ Menahem KAHANA


Hollywood and fashion

Winning the Miss Universe title opens up some of the best opportunities in the world of showbiz and fashion. The winner gets a chance to mingle with Hollywood A-listers and leading fashion models. Besides, she gets the chance to be the face of many luxury brands too. The winner gets exclusive access to high profile parties, events and movie premiers. Moreover, the title winner is also the ambassador of the Miss Universe Organization. So, she has to attend various campaigns, parties and social events representing the organization. She also has to visit various places as part of this commitment. Her travel, food and accommodation expenses are borne by the Miss Universe Organization. 

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