At least five Indian Americans are among the contestants selected for the 2019 “Miss World America” pageant, which is scheduled to commence Oct. 12 at the Hotel New Orleans in Las Vegas.
The contestants who will be representing their respective states at the pageant are Shree Saini, 23, of Seattle, Wash.; Manju Bangalore, 22, of Los Angeles, Calif.; Lekha Ravi, 26, of Miami, Florida; Jasmeet Ghoman, 20, of Des Moines, Iowa; and Amulya Chava, 17, Topeka, Kansas.
Saini, who is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington pursuing a double degree in public administration and business, has competed in and won a number of pageants in the past.
She was crowned Miss India Worldwide 2018 (see India-West article here: https://bit.ly/2rNs7aa) and Miss India USA 2017, which makes her 2019 feat another tally on her impressive record.
Shree said it was her dream to compete for a Miss World America title, according to reports.
Saini, who as a 12-year-old child overcame a heart ailment that required her to use a pacemaker, was told by the doctors that she would never be able to dance again. And yet, here she is, dancing her way to the pageant.
Saini, who has studied at Harvard, has been trained in acting at the Yale actors conservatory.
The Punjab native, who moved to Washington when she was seven, experienced hardships while in high school, where she was bullied. For years, she said, she felt like an outcast at school for being a person of color. As a response, she created the website www.ShreeSaini.com to educate people about her experiences.
Marisa Butler of Maine will crown her successor at the end of the event. All 50 states and the District of Columbia will compete for the crown. The winner will represent the United States at Miss World 2019 in London.
Bangalore is a physicist, actor, and the founder of Operation Period, a youth-led, menstrual health nonprofit that provides advocacy, education and services in the U.S. and India. She has worked at two NASA centers on spacecraft propulsion and display design, as well as in the White House on science policy under President Obama, according to https://worldamericawest.com. She placed as a semifinalist in the 2017 ‘Miss Oregon USA’, and was in the top ten of ‘Miss World America’ in 2018.
Ravi works full-time in private banking and has a degree in business and economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently pursuing her diploma in Financial Planning at New York University so she can become a certified financial planner and help clients reach their financial goals. Ravi, who is interested in financial literacy, recently launched a blog, “The Financial Boss,” that focuses on helping young professionals be savvy with their money.
Ghoman, a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois, currently manages her family business of managing properties. She will be pursuing her MBA in 2020. Her profile on the pageant’s website states that she is “really passionate about bettering my community” and has held several leadership positions in non-profit organizations, from working with the American Cancer Society to holding her own fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Illinois.
Chava, an aspiring civil rights attorney, is currently working with the Constitutional Rights Foundation to gain a deeper understanding of the justice system, she explains in her profile. “I have always been passionate about giving back to our American veterans which has led me to becoming the founding president of my local Wounded Warrior Project chapter. Through my efforts, I hope to encourage others to make a difference in the lives of struggling veterans,” she writes.