‘Even if you admire all the girls who have come before you — from Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, me, Priyanka Chopra, Dia Mirza — it is very important to retain your own personality.’
‘All of us won because we were very individually different people.’
On Sunday, December 12, night, Harnaaz Sandhu won Miss Universe 21 years after Lara Dutta had won the title in 2000.
Lara took to Instagram to congratulate the Chandigarh beauty.
‘My dearest @harnaazsandhu_03, when I spoke to you yesterday, you promised me that ‘it will be worth it’!! YOU are worth all your triumphant glory and much, much more!! You had an unshakeable belief in yourself and JUST KNEW, you were born for this!! You were born in the year I won Miss Universe!!! That’s how long we’ve waited for you to come along and lift that crown once more for India!!’
‘Perhaps, it was destined!! I know what lies in store for you, and I wish you a glorious reign!! May this only be the start of the heights you will scale! God bless you, my heartiest congratulations to your parents and family! The universe now, is your oyster – OUR STAR!’, Lara posted.
“Spend time on yourself, groom yourself, create an individual thought process so that you are able to talk about things and have an opinion on things that are different from others and are really your point of viewing things,” is Lara’s advice for aspiring beauty queens.
Lara, who has served as the mentor for Liva Miss Diva, speaks to Rediff.com Contributor PS Aaryan Khanna.
How do you stay so positive and confident?
My biggest learning through this pandemic has been that I realised that life is very short and we need to live in the present.
It has taught me to just slow down, the art of slow living. To savour the present moment and to just be here and now in the present and not be constantly living in a future moment and planning future things and anticipating future disasters.
We should just savour the little things in life with a lot of gratitude.
How would you define your personal style statement?
My style statement is just quite classic.
I don’t normally follow a lot of fashion facts. I am pretty classic in my choices.
I believe in investing in a few good pieces that could be expensive, but those are the things that would last in my wardrobe for 20-25 years.
I still wear things from the time when I was Miss Universe…beautiful things that were given to me by Ritu Kumar.
I like buying fashion that is sustainable. You could also call it slow fashion.
I keep pieces like that which hopefully one day I will pass down to my daughter.
Your favourite designers?
Shahab Durazi has always been an all-time favourite. I don’t think there is anybody in India, any designer who is like him.
I honestly call him the grandmaster in terms of execution of his garments, especially the finish.
I think he is truly a master and I love wearing his pieces. I do own quite a few of them that I have kept for years and years and I will always cherish those.
And of course, Ritu (Kumar) is the grandeur of Indian fashion.
What she has done for India is really incredible. So, some beautiful pieces from Ritu Kumar.
Internationally, I have always kind of been an Armani girl.
As I said, I am very classic in my approach, I do like very sharp tailored pieces.
Your tips for young girls who aspire to be a beauty queen.
You are your own person.
You are an incredible personality and it is the most refreshing thing to see somebody who is comfortable and confident in their own skin.
So, even if you admire all the girls who have come before you — from Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, me, Priyanka Chopra, Dia Mirza — it is very important to retain your own personality.
All of us won because we were very individually different people.
None of us were really cookie cut-outs of somebody who was a predecessor. So, I would advise that to young girls.
Spend time on yourself, groom yourself, create an individual thought process so that you are able to talk about things and have an opinion on things that are different from others and are really your point of viewing things.
It is extremely refreshing to meet a young girl who is confident and comfortable in her own skin.
I think those are the kind of world ambassadors that Miss Universe and Miss World are looking for.
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