Harnaaz Sandhu on her diet, exercise and being bullied for weight gain: ‘It’s not about how you look’


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The beauty pageant winner from India’s Chandigarh told People magazine recently that she doesn’t mind the weight per se, but it is the online bullying that has made her feel uncomfortable.

The 22-year-old told the publication from her New York apartment, “Physically I have kind of grown, got more pounds and increased my weight, which I am totally comfortable about right now.

“I was bullied for gaining weight. It was kind of uncomfortable and really surprising for me to see how people started having their opinions, which should not really matter. It’s not about how you look, it’s about who you are from inside and how you treat people and what you believe in.”

Sandhu talked about her diet and exercise in the days leading up to the competition, saying that it was all about winning. “I was really focused towards my goal and I was [not] thinking about my health. The whole time we were working out, doing so many activities, and just after winning, I had almost a month just to relax,” she was quoted as saying.

The former Miss Diva Universe added that during that period, she did not work out. “I was just eating and just enjoying that time with my family. I never realised that it would start showing on my body.”

She admitted that some social media comments were so cruel, it brought her to tears. “I definitely broke down so many times. Sometimes in the most unexpected times. I’m just about to go on stage or something and this whole thing comes to mind. It’s really sad.”

Earlier this year, Sandhu was quoted as saying by PTI that she has struggled with celiac disease. “Many people do not know I am allergic to gluten. I’m one of those individuals who was first bullied that ‘she’s too skinny’ and now they bully me by saying ‘she’s fat’. Nobody knows about my celiac disease. That I can’t eat wheat flour and many other things.”

She told People magazine that after moving to New York, she realised more about the foods that she is allergic to, saying that they include soy and coconut. “I’m allergic to eggs and I kind of realised that when I came to New York. Because, [eggs are considered] vegetarian and it’s known as non-vegetarian in India. It took me time to realise that the things which I was allergic to, I was still having. I didn’t know.”

Previously, the actor-model, while answering a question as to how she stays confident after all the cyber-bullying had said, “But, there are a lot of other individuals who are trolled every day irrespective of if they are Miss Universes or not. I am empowering them by making them feel that if I feel gorgeous, [they] are beautiful, too. It is in our minds how we perceive beauty.”

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