61 contestants from 30 states participate in Miss India USA, Mrs. India USA and Miss Teen India USA organized by Dharmatma and Neelam Saran
Vaidehi Dongre, a resident of Troy, Michigan, was crowned Miss India USA 2021. The 25-year-old graduated from University of Michigan majoring in International Studies and is employed as Business Development Manager with a major corporation. “I want to leave a positive lasting impact on my community and focus on women’s financial independence and literacy” Vaidehi said. Vaidehi also was awarded Miss Talented award for her flawless performance of Indian Classical Dance Kathak. Vaidehi is pursuing M.A. in Kathak at Bharti Vidyapeeth, Pune.
Arshi Lalani, 20, from Georgia, who suffers from brain tumor, dazzled every one with her performance and confidence, was declared first runner up while North Carolina’s Mira Kasari became the second runner-up. At the beauty pageant, school teacher Swathy Vimalkumar from Connecticut was declared Mrs. India USA 2021. Sonal Dua from North Carolina was the first runner up while Sunitha Shambulingappa from Virginia was declared second runner up for this title. Navya Paingol,17, from Michigan was crowned with Miss Teen India USA 2021. Aashna Shah from Florida was the first runner up while Asees Kaur from Virginia was declared second runner up for this title.
Some 61 contestants from 30 states participated in three different pageants – Miss India USA, Mrs. India USA and Miss Teen India USA. Winners of all three categories gets complimentary tickets to Mumbai to take part in worldwide pageants, also organized by this organization, in October this year.
Started by New York-based eminent Indian Americans Dharmatma and Neelam Saran, under the banner of Worldwide Pageants around 40 years ago, Miss India USA is the longest-running Indian pageant outside of India. This year pageant was presented by Yash Pandya, a young corporate professional and supported by TV Asia and Royal Albert’s palace. It was a full house show with over 500 people in attendance. This was the first major in person event after pandemic.
Dharmatma saran, Chairman, presented an appreciation plaque to Diana Hayden for her contributions to pageantry, entertainment and philanthropy. Besides Diana Hayden who acted as Chief Judge, other judges were Yash Pandya – Corporate Professional, Satya Shaw – a financial advisor, Shree Saini – Miss India Worldwide 2018, Hanisha Alwani – National Director of Miss India Sint Maarten, Reshma Dordi – owner of Reshma Beauty and Hashim Alli – National Director of Miss India Guyana. Menka Soni – State Director of Washington State and Oregon was awarded Director of the Year Award.
The winners of the pageants here have gone to act in various Bollywood movies. “In addition to Bollywood dance and songs on stage, they give speeches, do motivational speaking, mono acting, sing popular American songs, hip hop, paintings” said Dharmatma Saran. Diana Hayden, Miss World 1997 who besides Chief Guest also acted as Chief Judge for the pageant. Ms. Diana Hayden was given an appreciation plaque by the Chairman Dharmatma Saran for her contributions to pageantry, entertainment and philanthropy.
“We are very proud of the fact that we have been able to imbibe Indian values, traditions, cultures and performing arts among Indian origin youth across the world” with our motto “bringing India closer”, Said Dharmatma Saran.
Tarana Kaur – Mrs. India Worldwide 2019 and Shruthi Bekal – Mrs. India USA 2020 were emcees for the finals while Kim Kumari – Miss India USA 2019 and Esha Kode – Miss Teen India Worldwide were emcees for preliminaries. Nishi Bahl was the choreographer assisted by Shilpa Jhurani. Tabulation was done by Nilesh Choksi assisted by Vidhi Dave.
All photos: Hemant Pandya of Friday Films