Harnaaz Sandhu issues apology to Miss Universe Kyrgyzstan


Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu took to social media to issue an apology to Miss Universe Kyrgyzstan Altynai Botoyarova for a slip-up she made during the 71st Miss Universe national costume competition.

While co-hosting with Miss Universe Organization TV producer and writer Nick Teplitz, the Indian beauty mistakenly mentioned "Kazakhstan" instead of "Kyrgyzstan" as Altynai walked down the runway wearing her white swan-inspired national costume.

"During the preliminary event this week in New Orleans, I failed to properly say Kyrgyzstan. I am deeply sorry for this mistake," Harnaaz shared on her Instagram story and continued by saying she will never purposely say or do something to upset a contestant or their supporters.

"The preliminary competition was my first time ever co-hosting and the jitters got the best of me. My nervousness onstage is not a reflection of the deep respect I have for Kyrgyzstan. Altynai, please accept my sincerest apologies," she added.

Miss Universe Organization has also posted an apology statement and said: "Miss Universe prides itself in being an organization that gives women a platform to expose their culture to the world. In this spirit, our team is offering an apology to Kyrgyzstan for failing to correctly say the country’s name during the recent preliminary event in New Orleans. Our team promises to do better."

Altynai, a design student, professional model, and activist, is one of the 84 contestants vying to become the 71st Miss Universe. She represents Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked country in Central Asia bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the south, and the People's Republic of China to the east. Her country's capital and largest city is Bishkek.

During the national costume competition, she wore a traditional bride costume inspired by a white swan, a symbol of pure and faithful love. The designer felt the image of a gentle white swan emphasized her inner beauty and purity.

"I am grateful to the Miss Universe management for recognizing this mistake and publicly apologizing for it by introducing me as Miss Universe Kyrgyzstan. Thereby proving your high level and professionalism," she wrote in a statement on her own page.

Photos: Benjamin Askinas / Miss Universe Organization

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