Harnaaz Sandhu of India was crowned the 70th Miss Universe in Eilat, Israel on Sunday (Monday morning in the Philippines), making her the third titleholder during the pandemic after Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa and Andrea Meza of Mexico.
Her runners-up include Nadia Ferreira of Paraguay and Lalela Mswane of South Africa.
During the Final Word round of the competition, the Top 3 candidates were asked: "What advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?"
Sandhu, considered a frontrunner in the competition, answered: "I think the biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves. To know that you are unique, that's what makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let's talk about more important things that are happening worldwide. I think this is what you need to understand."
"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's why I'm standing here today."
The Philippines' representative, Beatrice Gomez, finished in the Top 5 of the pageant.
During the question and answer round, Gomez was asked by Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere: "Given the ever-changing COVID situation, what is your opinion on mandating a universal vaccine passport?"
To which she replied: "I believe that public health is everyone's responsibility, and to mandate inoculation is necessary. If mandating vaccine passports would help us in regulating the rollout of vaccines and mitigate the situation of the pandemic today, then I would agree on mandating the necessary passport of vaccination."
70TH MISS UNIVERSE RECAP
5. Puerto Rico
6. The Bahamas
8. Great Britain
11. Vietnam (fan vote)
16. South Africa
2. Puerto Rico
5. South Africa
6. The Bahamas
2. South Africa
1. South Africa