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Miss Universe 2021 is Harnaz Sandhu The weight has piled on since winning the crown in December – and online bullies have relentlessly targeted the star.

“Physically I’ve kind of grown up, gained more pounds and put on my weight, and I’m totally comfortable right now,” the 22-year-old told People magazine on Thursday.

She said that the real problem is constant criticism on social media.

I was bullied for gaining weight,” says Andala Bhama, who was born in India. “It’s really uncomfortable and really surprising to me to see how people start to have opinions that don’t really matter. It’s not about how you look, it’s about who you are on the inside and how you treat people and what you believe.”

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Miss Universe 2021 Harnaz Sandhu (Miss India) poses for photos after winning the 70th Miss Universe beauty pageant in Israel's southern Red Sea city of Eilat on December 13, 2021.

Miss Universe 2021 Harnaz Sandhu (Miss India) poses for photos after winning the 70th Miss Universe beauty pageant in Israel’s southern Red Sea city of Eilat on December 13, 2021.
(Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)

Sandhu said leading to competition, she has a no-nonsense approach to diet and exercise in hopes of winning. After achieving her goal, she was able to rest for about a month.

“At that time, I wasn’t really working, and I was eating and enjoying the time with my family,” explains Sandhu. “I never realized it would start showing up on my body.”

Sandhu told the outlet that some of the comments were so cruel that he cried.

“I definitely broke down a lot of times,” she admits. “Sometimes at the most unexpected times. I’m going to go on stage or something and then the whole thing comes [to] my brain It’s really sad.”

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Harnaz Sandhu attends the New York Premiere of 'Not OK' at Angelica Film Center on July 28, 2022 in New York City.

Harnaz Sandhu attends the New York Premiere of ‘Not OK’ at Angelica Film Center on July 28, 2022 in New York City.
(Photo by Cindy Ord/WireImage)

Sandhu is not feeling well either. A The doctor diagnosed her with allergies It affected her health.

“I can’t have wheat or anything that contains wheat,” she says of her gluten allergy. “Besides that, I also have a soy allergy [and] Coconut Allergies I’m allergic to eggs and I kind of realized when I got to New York… It took me a while to realize that I still have the things I’m allergic to. I don’t know.”

The 70th Miss Universe titleholder now has a different mindset about her body, saying, “It’s not okay to cry. It’s okay to be sad.”

The Bollywood actress also hopes that her story will inspire others struggling with their body image to embrace themselves regardless of their size.

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Miss Universe 2021 Harnaj Sandhu admits she is disgusted after being bullied online for gaining weight.

Miss Universe 2021 Harnaj Sandhu admits she is disgusted after being bullied online for gaining weight.
(Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)

“We are all imperfect,” said Sandhu. “We have to realize that there is a point where we understand that we need to embrace our flaws and when you do that, you can conquer anything in this world.”

At the time of her win, Sandhu said “It’s been 21 years since India got the Miss Universe crown and it’s happening right now”.

Last year’s competition grabbed headlines for a variety of reasons.

A boycott led by grassroots Palestinians called on competitors to boycott the event to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. In the end, Malaysia, a Muslim country with close ties to the Palestinians, was the only one not to send a representative. Global COVID-19 situation. The South African government, which also strongly supports the Palestinian cause, withdrew support for the country’s representative over her participation.

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Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza presents the Miss Universe 2021 crown to India's Harnaz Sandhu during the 70th Miss Universe pageant, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, in Eilat, Israel.

Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza presents the Miss Universe 2021 crown to India’s Harnaz Sandhu during the 70th Miss Universe pageant, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, in Eilat, Israel.
(AP Photo/Ariel Shalit)

Sarah Salansky, an officer Israel Ministry of TourismThe country was said to have been chosen to host the competition because of Israel’s successful coronavirus vaccination program.

The competition suffered a last-minute setback with the arrival of the Omicron variant, which forced the closure of Israel’s borders to foreign tourists at the end of November 2021. Most of the Miss Universe contestants were in the country before the new rules came into effect. . However, those arriving after that are given special permission to enter, subject to a mandatory 72-hour quarantine period.

During Sunday’s competition, all contestants were tested for the coronavirus every 48 hours and required to adhere to strict masking requirements.

Amidst all the safeguards, France’s competitor, Clemence Bottineau, tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after arriving in Israel. After a 10-day quarantine, she was declared virus-free last week and allowed to rejoin the competition.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.