Is Bengaluru-based stylist Bia Sandhu Taneja related to Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu?

Post Harnaaz Sandhu’s win as Miss Universe 2021, city-based Bia Sandhu Taneja, a stylist, has been inundated with queries about their connection
Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu
Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu

Over the last couple of days, Bia Sandhu Taneja’s phone has been buzzing non-stop. Friends and acquaintances have been curious to know if Taneja shares any connection, besides her middle name, with Harnaaz Sandhu who was recently crowned Miss Universe 2021.

“Not really except that we are both Sandhu girls,” says Taneja with a laugh. “I’m glad that Harnaaz is making India proud. But I didn’t have anything to do with her styling.”

Incidentally, Taneja is a stylist who runs Parfait Image Consulting. She is preparing to head to Pune soon for Femina Mrs Stylista 2021. “I have taken two girls (23 and 28) from Bengaluru under my wing and hope they will win the title,” she says.

Taneja works with youngsters and married women for pageants with each posing its own challenges. “It’s definitely easier to work with young girls for pageants because they are confident. But for the ‘Mrs pageants’, it takes more effort. Having said that, such diverse experiences and backgrounds also come as an advantage because these women want to partake in pageants to break away from their regular duties,” she explains, adding, “It’s always heartwarming to hear back from clients who tell me that I’ve changed their lives.”

In her two-decade career, Taneja has groomed participants for Savvy Mrs India, Mrs India UK, Miss Progress International, Mrs Classic International, Mrs India Universe, Mrs India International and more. She is a consultant for various other international pageants in the UK, Italy, Australia and USA. This, in addition to being a jury member for various of these national and international beauty pageants.

Who said only women need to be groomed for the stage? She rebukes the common assumption that men don’t worry about what they wear. “Many people think that men don’t think about keeping themselves groomed or worry about what they wear. That’s where I come in and help them go shopping, teach them the right etiquette...all of this so they look presentable and are confident about themselves,” Taneja explains.

For the stylist, the compliments she receives at the end of the day are what keeps her going. “I am an Army kid, so I’ve grown up in different parts of the country. Perhaps that’s what  helped me grow in this profession. It’s important to see people in different walks of life holding on and achieving goals at any stage in their lives,” she says.

“There weren’t many pageants, especially international ones, taking place last year because of the pandemic. Things are picking up, and now and then, there seems to be a lot of scope. Our work gets more significance when one of our own gets crowned Miss Universe,” she says.

Taneja adds that the way Harnaaz presented herself on an international platform was great, especially for a 21-year-old. “There are definitely pointers from her that I’ve picked up and I hope to train my clients as well. The manner in which she answered the question ‘What advice would you give  young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?’, confidently was really good. Even after Harnaaz won, she said Chak de phatte India which showed the pride she has for the country. That’s something we should never forget, no matter which stage of life we are in,” she says. 

In other news

Dr Sasilekha Nair was crowned Mrs Grand Universe 2021. The pageant was to be held at Manila, Philippines, but due to the pandemic, it was held online; the crown was sent to India. Nair was crowned by D Roopa, IPS, in Bengaluru recently.

Nair is the former Mrs Asia International Charming and Mrs India Kerala. She’s a graduate in Microbiology and has a post graduate degree in English Literature. She has been awarded the honorary doctorate in Humanities by St Mother Theresa University. Based out of Bengaluru, she’s the CEO of an IT firm and is also part of an international human rights association.

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