Harnaaz Sandhu, who was crowned Miss Universe 2021, revealed that people have “bullied” her online for gaining weight.
“Physically I have kind of grown, got more pounds and increased my weight, which I am totally comfortable about right now,” the model, 22, told People on Thursday. “[But] I was bullied for gaining weight.”
She added that it was both “uncomfortable and really surprising” that people had such strong opinions about her body.
“It’s not about how you look, it’s about who you are inside and how you treat people and what you believe in,” she told the outlet.
Despite her positive outlook, the harsh backlash has been enough to drive her to tears.
“I definitely broke down so many times,” Sandhu admitted. “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.”
Following her being crowned Miss Universe, the Bollywood actress said she spent more time with family and less time focused on food and exercise.
“I’ve gone through that phase of my life where I used to feel bad about everything,” she explained. “Now, I started loving everything. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel sad.”
By sharing her story, Sandhu said she hopes that others will learn to embrace their changing bodies as well.
“We all are imperfect,” she said, adding that people need to “embrace” their flaws.
Back in December, Sandhu was crowned as the most beautiful woman in the world, which she later described as “overwhelmed because it’s been 21 years since India got Miss Universe crown — and it’s happening right now.”