Madhu Valli

Madhu Valli, a 20-year-old Indian American criminal law student at George Mason University in Virginia, was crowned Miss India Worldwide 2017 Oct. 8 at a pageant held in New Jersey. (Madhu Valli/Instagram photo)

WASHINGTON — Madhu Valli, an emerging hip-hop artist and a student of criminal law at George Mason University in Virginia, has been crowned Miss India Worldwide 2017.

Stephanie Madavane from France was declared the runner-up at the 26th edition of the beauty pageant held in New Jersey, Oct. 8.

Sangeeta Bahadur from Guyana took the third spot at the pageant that had contestants from 18 countries.

“I want to be the next biggest bridge between Bollywood and Hollywood,” Valli, 20, told PTI, a day after winning the pageant.

Her latest album was released a day earlier. She said her dream is to be a recording artist.

Music, she said, is her passion. She started learning vocals at the age of eight.

The beauty pageant attracts people of Indian origin from across the world. It provides a platform to showcase how Indian culture has been preserved thousands of miles away, she said.

“I definitely want to speak to a lot of young Indian American women about women empowerment and positive self-image,” Valli said. “I love both my countries, India and the U.S. and I always wanted to discover a way to be a leader in both!”

Texas-based Sarita Pattnaik was declared Mrs. India Worldwide.

Pattnaik is an interior designer by profession and a mother of two children.

She wants to be a social activist and become a voice for women empowerment.

Organized by New York-based India Festival Committee, Miss India Worldwide is the only international Indian pageant with affiliates in over 35 countries and is considered among the top ethnic pageants in the world.

In 2016, it also launched Mrs. India Worldwide, which provides a platform for married women of Indian origin. 

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