Steve Harvey asked Miss India to do an animal impression while other Miss Universe contestants got to speak about their accomplishments

Miss India and Steve Harvey at Miss Universe 2021

Steve Harvey presenting the semifinalist Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu during the 70th Miss Universe beauty pageant in Eilat, Israel.MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images

  • Steve Harvey asked Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu to do her best animal impersonation at Miss Universe.

  • Harnaaz took the question in stride and meowed in front of millions of viewers.

  • Many on Twitter criticized the question, as other finalists were asked about their accomplishments.

The 2021 Miss Universe competition started with a bang — and a meow.

Many fans of the international beauty pageant were left bewildered after the host Steve Harvey asked one of the top 16 finalists to do her best animal impersonation onstage — while other women were given the chance to talk about their accomplishments.

Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu seemed taken by surprise as Harvey told her: “I hear you do some pretty good animal impersonations. Let’s hear your best one.”

Miss India at the 2021 Miss Universe pageant

Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu presenting herself during the preliminary stage of the 70th Miss Universe beauty pageant.MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images

“Oh, my God, Steve, I was not expecting to do this on the world stage,” she told him.

But she took it all in stride.

“I have to do this — I have no other option,” she joked.

Sandu said that since she loved cats she would do her best to impersonate one.

“Brace yourself everyone,” she warned, before letting out a few impressive “meows.”

It was a moment that stood out to many viewers, who questioned why Sandhu hadn’t been given a meaningful moment to share more about herself.

Miss Panama Brenda Smith was able to talk about getting a position at the UN, and Miss Great Britain Emma Collingridge discussed how learning about Medusa’s origin story inspired her to fight against gender-based violence.

Sandhu, 21, is a women’s-empowerment advocate who has helped her mother teach women’s health and hygiene at camps.

The pageant queen works as an actor and told Insider she’d done two Punjabi feature films that would be released soon.

Sandhu said she always chose strong characters because she wanted to “break stereotypes of what women are and what they can be.”

“I hope I get to inspire people by following my passion and my heart,” she added.

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