After winning the coveted Miss Universe 2021 title, Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu made a stunning appearance at the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week earlier this year. However, netizens brutally trolled and body-shamed her for her considerable weight gain. Back then, Harnaaz had revealed that she struggles with celiac disease. But the online bullying took a toll on her mental health and she broke down several times thinking about what could have gone wrong.
“Physically I have kind of grown, got more pounds and increased my weight, which I am totally comfortable about right now. I was bullied for gaining weight. It was kind of uncomfortable and really surprising for me to see how people started having their opinions, which should not really matter. It’s not about how you look, it’s about who you are from inside and how you treat people and what you believe in,” Harnaaz told People.
Talking about how she gained this unexpected weight after maintaining a lean body during the beauty competition, Harnaaz explained, “I was really focused towards my goal and I was (not) thinking about my health. The whole time we were working out, doing so many activities, and just after winning, I had almost a month just to relax. During that time, I actually didn’t work out, and I was just eating and just enjoying that time with my family. I never realised that it would start showing on my body.”
Some of the online comments were very cruel. “I definitely broke down so many times,” Harnaaz admits. “Sometimes in the most unexpected times. I’m just about to go on stage or something and this whole thing comes in my mind. It’s really sad.”
Harnaaz gained weight but also didn’t feel well, and a doctor diagnosed her with allergies she never knew she had. “I have a gluten allergy. I can’t have wheat or anything which contains wheat. Apart from that, I also have some soy allergy (and) coconut allergies. I’m allergic to eggs and I kind of realised that when I came to New York. Because (eggs are considered) vegetarian and it’s known as non-vegetarian in India. It took me time to realise that the things which I was allergic to, I was still having. I didn’t know,” the model and actress shared.
Now that the 70th Miss Universe title holder has gotten a grasp on her health, her mindset has shifted. “I’ve gone through that phase of my life where I used to feel bad about everything,” Sandhu says. “Now, I started loving everything. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel sad.” Sandhu hopes sharing her story will help others who struggle with body image and self love. “We all are imperfect,” she says. “We need to realise that there’s a point where we understand that we need to embrace our flaws and when you do that, you can conquer anything in this world.”
(With IANS Inputs)