Harnaaz Sandhu Says She Was Bullied Online After Gaining Weight

Despite gaining weight since being crowned Miss Universe 2021 in December, Harnzaaz Sandhu isn’t bothered. There has been an issue with online bullying.

Harnaaz tells PEOPLE, “Physically, I have grown, got more pounds, and increased my weight, which I am comfortable about right now.”

She says, “I was bullied for gaining weight. I was surprised at how people started having their opinions, which shouldn’t matter. What matters is who you are and your beliefs, not how you look.”

The Indian-born beauty queen’s diet and exercise were everything during the competition.

Harnaaz admits, “I was focused on my goal and 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 to relax.”

Harnaaz was brought to tears by some of the online comments.

She said, “It broke my heart so many times. Sometimes in the most unexpected times. This whole thing comes to mind just before I go on stage. It’s deplorable.”

Her weight gained, and she did not feel well, and a doctor diagnosed her with allergies she did not know she had.

Harnaaz shares, “I have a gluten allergy. I can’t have wheat or anything which contains wheat. Apart from that, I also have some soy allergies and coconut allergies.”

Having regained control of her health, the 70th Miss Universe has changed her outlook.

She says, “I’ve gone through that phase of my life where I used to feel bad about everything.”

Harnaaz hopes to share her story with others struggling with body image and self-love.

She says, “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.”