List of Miss Universe Winners From India [ 1952 to 2021 ]

List of Miss Universe winners

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Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant in which different countries compete, and the winner is crowned Miss Universe for the year. Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu, the most recent Miss Universe (2021), is from India. This article will present a list of Miss Universe winners, facts about the Miss Universe pageant, and the difference between Miss World and Miss Universe.

So, without further ado, let us begin our reading adventure!

Indian Miss Universe List 

There are three Miss Universe pageants from India (as of 2021). They are: 

Let us know about them in detail: 

Sushmita Sen – Indian Miss Universe in 1994 

  • Sushmita Sen was born on 19 November 1975 in Hyderabad to parents Shubeer Sen and Subhra Sen. 
  • Sushmita Sen was the first Indian to win the “Miss Universe” pageant in 1994. 
  • Before receiving the title of “Miss Universe”, she was crowned “Femina Miss India” in 1994 at the age of 18. 
  • She received the Filmfare Award for the Best Supporting Actress for her comedy film “Biwi No. 1“. 
  • She was also nominated for the Filmfare Awards for the Best Supporting Actress for Sirf Tum (1999) and Filhaal (2002). 
  • Sushmita Sen has also won the “Best Actress” (2020) at the Filmfare OTT Awards for her performance in the drama series “Aarya“. 
  • The Tantra Entertainment in collaboration with Sushmita Sen started a project “I Am She- Miss Universe India” that would send its representatives to Miss India from 2010 to 2012.   The license was relinquished back to Femina Miss India. 

Lara Dutta – Indian Miss Universe in 2000 

  • Lara Dutta was born on 16 April 1978 to parents L.K. Dutta (Hindu) and Jennifer Dutta (Anglo-Indian). 
  • Lara Dutta was the second Indian to win the “Miss Universe” pageant in the year 2000 held in Cyprus. 
  • Prior to that, she received the title “Miss Intercontinental 1997. 
  • Lara Dutta hails from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh in India. 
  • She is also an Indian actress and entrepreneur. 
  • Lara Dutta has got a Filmfare award for Best Female Debut for her film “Andaaz” (2003). 
  • Lara Dutta was also appointed as the UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador in the year 2001. 
  • She is the first Indian beauty pageant winner to win the title of ” Miss Grand Slam 2000″. 
  • Lara Dutta has excellent eloquent speaking skills for which she is widely known. 
  • Her recent performance can be seen in Bell Bottom (2021) where she had played the role of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. 

Miss universe 2021: Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu 

  • 21-year-old Harmaaz Kaur Sandhu was crowned the 70th “Miss Universe” in December, 2022 by her predecessor and 69th Miss Universe Andrea Meza (2020). 
  • She was awarded the title of “Miss Universe” 21 years after Lara Dutta was crowned. Both Lara Dutta and Sushmita Sen called her “destined” to become the Indian Miss Universe. 
  • The first runner-up was Nadia Ferreira from Paraguay and the second-runner up was Lalela Mswane from South Africa. 
  • The Miss Universe 2021 contest took place in the Universe Dome in Eilat, Israel. 
  • Harnaaz Kaur hails from Gurdaspur, Punjab in India. 
  • She is currently pursuing Masters’ degree in Public Administration. 
  • Harnaaz topped the list of women contesting from 80 other countries. 
  • She has won significant titles like the Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and Miss Diva Universe 2021. 
  • The last question put to her during the Miss Universe contest was “What advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?” 
  • To this, she responded by saying: “The biggest pressure the youth of today is facing, is to believe in themselves. To know that you are unique makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that are happening worldwide. This is what you need to understand. 
  • Further adding, she asks women to “Come out, speak for yourself, because you are the leader of your life. You are the voice of your own. I believed in myself and that is why I am standing here today.” 
  • Harnaaz Sandhu will be seen in her debut film “Bai Ji Kuttange” that is set to release on 19th August, 2022. She has also worked in a Punjabi film named “Yaara Diyan Poo Baran”. 

List of Miss Universe Winners 


1952  Armi Kuusela   Finland 
1953  Christiane Martel   France 
1954  Miriam Stevenson   USA 
1955  Hellevi Rombin   Sweden 
1956  Carol Morris   USA 
1957  Gladys Zender   Peru 
1958  Luz Marina Zuluaga   Columbia 
1959  Akiko Kojima   Japan 
1960  Linda Bement   USA 
1961  Marlene Schmidt   Germany 
1962  Norma Nolan   Argentina 
1963  Idea Maria Vargas   Brazil 
1964  Corinna Tsopei   Greece 
1965  Apasra Hongsakula   Thailand 
1966  Margareta Arvidsson   Sweden 
1967  Sylvia Hitchcock   USA 
1968  Martha Vasconcellos   Brazil 
1969  Gloria Diaz   Philippines 
1970  Marisol Malaret   Puerto Rico 
1971  Georgina Rizk  Lebanon 
1972  Kerry Anne Wells   Australia 
1973  Margie Moran   Philippines 
1974  Amparo Munoz   Spain 
1975  Anne Marie Puhtamo   Finland 
1976  Rina Messinger   Israel 
1977  Janelle Commissiong   Trinidad & Tobago 
1978  Margaret Gardiner   South Africa 
1979  Maritza Sayalero   Venezuela 
1980  Shawn Weatherly   USA 
1981  Irene Saez   Venezuela 
1982  Karen Baldwin   Canada 
1983  Lorraine Downes   New Zealand 
1984  Yvonne Ryding   Sweden 
1985  Deborah Carthy–Deu   Puerto Rico 
1986  Barbara Palacios Teyde   Venezuela 
1987  Cecilia Bolocco   Chile 
1988  Porntip Nakhirunkanok   Thailand 
1989  Angela Visser   Holland 
1990  Mona Grudt   Norway 
1991  Lupita Jones   Mexico 
1992  Michelle McLean   Namibia 
1993  Dayanara Torres   Puerto Rico 
1994  Sushmita Sen   India 
1995  Chelsi Smith   USA 
1996  Alicia Machado   Venezuela 
1997  Brook Lee   USA 
1998  Wendy Fitzwilliam   Trinidad & Tobago 
1999  Mpule Kwelagobe   Botswana 
2000  Lara Dutta   India 
2001  Denise M. Quiñones   Puerto Rico 
2002  Justine Pasek   Panama Previously 1st runner up. 
2002  Oksana Fyodorova   Russia Dethroned. 
2003  Amelia Vega Polanco   Dominican Republic 
2004  Jennifer Hawkins   Australia 
2005  Natalie Glebova   Canada 
2006  Zuleyka Riviera Mendoza   Puerto Rico 
2007  Riyo Mori   Japan 
2008  Dayana Mendoza   Venezuela 
2009  Stefanía Fernández   Venezuela 
2010  Ximena Navarrete   México 
2011  Leila Lopes   Angola 
2012  Olivia Culpo   USA 
2013  Gabriela Isler   Venezuela 
2014  Paulina Vega Dieppa   Colombia 
2015  Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach   Philippines 
2016  Iris Mittenaere   France 
2017  Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters   South Africa 
2018  Catriona Gray   Philippines 
2019  Zozibini Tunzi   South Africa 
2020  Andrea Meza   México 
2021  Harnaaz Sandhu   India 


Facts About Miss Universe pageant 

  • USA ranks 1 to have the maximum Miss Universe titles, followed by Venezuela and Puerto Rico. While USA has 8 Miss Universe winners, Venezuela has 7 and Puerto Rico has 5. 
  • The first Miss Universe was Armi Kuusela who was a Finnish-American model and beauty queen. The first Miss Universe pageant was held in 1952 in the United States. 
  • Mexico, Sweden, South Africa and Sweden has 3 Miss Universe wins. 
  • The first black Miss Universe winner was Janelle  Commissiong from Trinidad, Tobago (1977). Often referred to as Penny, she was an advocate for equal rights for black men and women and also world peace. 
  • The first Miss Universe from South Africa was Margaret Gardiner in the year 1978. After a long period of 39 years, another South African beauty queen Demi-Leigh-Tebow was crowned the Miss Universe in 2017. A short period later (2019), Zozibini Tunzi from South Africa won the “Miss Universe” pageant. 

What is the Difference between Miss World and Miss Universe?

The difference in Miss World and Miss Universe are as follows: 

  • Miss World is the oldest-running beauty pageant in the world that was created in July 1951. Miss Universe is the second oldest-running pageant that was created a year later (1952). 
  • The headquarters of Miss World is located in London, UK. The headquarters of Miss Universe is located in New York, US. 
  • The incumbent President of the Miss World pageant is Julia Morley. The incumbent President of the Miss Universe pageant is Paula Shugart. 
  • The motto of Miss World is “Beauty with a Purpose”. The motto of Miss Universe is “Beautifully Confident”. 
  • Miss World beauty pageant is administered by Miss World Limited. Miss Universe beauty pageant is administered by Miss Universe Organization. 
  • The tiara of the Miss World was designed and made by jeweller David Morris. The tiara of the Miss Universe was designed by Diamond Nexus Labs. 
  • The first Miss World from India was Reita Faria (1966). The first Miss Universe from India was Sushmita Sen (1994). 
  • India has won the title of Miss World 6 times. India has won the title of Miss Universe 3 times. 
  • The last time India won the Miss World pageant was in 2017 by Manushi Chhillar. India won the Miss Universe title recently in December 2021 by Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu. 

List of Indian Miss World 

The list of Indian Miss World are as follows: 

  • Reita Faria (1966) 
  • Aishwarya Rai (1994) 
  • Diana Hayden (1997) 
  • Yukta Mookhey (1999) 
  • Priyanka Chopra Jonas (2000) 
  • Manushi Chhillar (2017) 

Miss Universe 2022: Harnaaz Sandhu

  • The next Miss Universe contest after Harnaaz Sandhu’s win will take place in 2022. 
  • It will be the 71st Miss Universe pageant where Harnaaz will be crowning her successor to her title. 
  • 55 countries will be competing against each other in the Miss Universe 2022 pageant (as of August, 2022). 
  • Bhutan will be participating in the Miss Universe 2022 contest for the first time while Romania will withdraw from the contest due to unknown reasons. 

Final Thought! 

In every field, India has produced many jewels capable of competing globally and standing as the “best” among the rest. The three finest contestants who competed against the world to bring back the “revered tiara” are listed as Miss Universe winners from India. Harnaaz Sandhu, along with Lara Dutta and Sushmita Sen, are examples of Indian “beauties with brains.” Harnaaz, as her name suggests, is “everyone’s pride.” India truly beams with pride when its representatives return with a crown that have enormous value for the nation.

Who is your favourite Indian Miss Universe contestant, and why? Do you know who is representing India in  Miss Universe 2022?

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