Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu opened up about being bullied online over her weight gain.
The 22-year-old beauty queen told People that despite her weight gain, she is “totally comfortable” about it right now but the bullying has been “uncomfortable.”
“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,” Sandhu said.
Sandhu competed and won the crown in December 2021 and said she was not really focused on her health at the time.
“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,” she said.
Continuing, she said, “During that time, I actually didn’t work out, and I was just eating and just enjoying that time with my family. I never realized that it would start showing on my body.”
Sandhu spoke to ETimes, an entertainment news site based in India, and said she makes sure to use “the power of social media to support women”
However, the negative comments she received online started to affect her.
“I definitely broke down so many times,” Sandhu shared. “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.”
At the same time, Sandhu was diagnosed with a gluten allergy. It was something she never even 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,” Sandhu explained.
She told People that it took her time to realize that the things which she was allergic to, she was still having and just “didn’t know.”
Going forward, Sandhu hopes that her story will help others embrace their own imperfections.
“We all are imperfect. We need to realize 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,” she said.
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