Nitya pageant:

Nitya Kodali. (photo provided)

Nitya Kodali, a 15-year-old Indian American student, was crowned the world’s first ‘Miss Teen Telugu Universe’ during an international beauty pageant Oct. 3.

Kodali, who represented the U.S., won the coveted title after beating over 700 semifinalists.

The Telugu Universe pageant consisted of various rounds, including introduction, ramp walk, question-and-answer and talent. Contestants from over 40 countries, including India, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, competed for the prestigious title, and over 18,000 participants partook in this cultural event.

Miss Earth India Dr. Tejaswini Manogna crowned Kodali at the event.

“I was in complete shock when they announced my name at the pageant,” Kodali said. “This was my first time competing in a pageant and it is honestly a dream come true to be honored with such a prestigious title. My journey to the crown has certainly been unforgettable and required lots of hard work.”

Kodali, who is a high school sophomore, is pursuing a dual degree program, earning her high school diploma and associate degree at once. Following the pageant, she has competed in and won the titles of ‘Miss Yuvarani USA’ and ‘Miss International Congeniality.’

Kodali, a first-generation Indian American, hopes to inspire others to embrace their roots and culture. She volunteers as a teacher at the Houston Telugu school, helping promote Telugu language. She advocates for mental health as the founder and executive director of the global nonprofit, Letters and Love. Kodali is also a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and a member of Houston, Texas,’ Bollywood dance team.

“Pageants are a wonderful opportunity for self-development and confidence,” Kodali said. “You meet wonderful people along the way and truly foster beautiful connections. Telugu culture has always been a strong part of my identity and I am immensely grateful to represent the Telugu community across the globe as the world’s first ever Miss Teen Telugu Universe.”

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