Miss India USA

Shree Saini, an Indian American student who is educating and empowering others to fight against nonverbal bullying, secured the title of ‘Miss India USA 2017’ at a glittering ceremony held Dec. 17 at the Royal Alberts Palace in Edison, New Jersey. (Shree Saini/Facebook photo)

Anti-bullying activist Shree Saini of Moses Lake, Washington, was crowned ‘Miss India USA 2017’ at a pageant held Dec. 17 at the Royal Alberts Palace in Edison, New Jersey.

The 21-year-old Indian American, who is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington pursuing a double degree in public administration and business, previously told India-West that she wants to “lead a life of service.”

The Punjab native, who moved to Washington when she was 7, experienced hardships while in high school, where she was bullied. As a response, she created the website www.ShreeSaini.com to educate people about her experiences.

“My website was created based on my personal struggles during my high school,” Saini told India-West. “My journey was from a silent sufferer to a bitter person and finally an enabled victor.”

Saini also said that she wants to inspire others to follow suit.

“I am very passionate about my nonprofit and want to lead a life of service,” she stressed. “I want to end human trafficking and work to promote the importance of emotional well-being in our society.” (Read Saini’s interview here: http://bit.ly/2yUHlLA)

Twenty-two-year-old medical student Prachi Singh from Connecticut, was declared the first runner-up, while North Carolina’s Fareena took the second runner-up title.

The contest, which attracted Indian American participants from across the U.S., also announced the winners of the ‘Mrs. India USA’ and “Miss Teen India USA’ titles.

Cancer surgeon Kavita Malhotra Pattani from Florida was crowned ‘Mrs. India USA 2017’ and Swapna Mannam, 17, from New Jersey, was declared ‘Miss Teen India USA 2017.’

Started by the New York-based community leaders Dharmatma Saran and Neelam Saran, under the banner of the India Festival Committee around 36 years ago, Miss India USA is the longest running Indian pageant outside India.

“It has evolved over the years. Earlier, the participants of pageants presented their talent around Bollywood dance and songs and classical dances. But now pageant participants come out with their own innovations,” Dharmatma Saran told PTI.

“In addition to Bollywood dance and songs on stage, they give speeches, do motivational speaking, mono acting, sing popular American songs, hip-hop, fusion music and even do real time painting,” he added.

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