San Leandro, Calif. — Indian American entrepreneur Riti Chikkerur was named the winner of the Judges’ and People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Ms. America pageant, held Aug. 9 at the Curtis Theater in Brea, Calif.
She beat out 22 hopefuls for the award. Dr. Stephanie Mills, a chiropractor from New Hampshire, took the pageant’s top title of Ms. America 2014.
Entering the national pageant as Ms. Southwest America, Chikkerur ran on the platform of “I2R: Idea to Revolution,” which invests in women who seek to “turn a simple idea into a revolutionary positive change in society,” said a spokesperson.
Chikkerur is the founder and CEO of Four Sisters Petroleum LLC, a petroleum import/export distribution business. According to a pageant press release, Chikkerur is the only minority and woman petroleum distributor in the state of Texas.
“She is one of the few women thriving in a predominantly male dominated industry such as the oil and gas industry. In 2002, with less than $1,200 and no support, Riti came to the United States and made partner in a financial services company, earning [a salary of] more than $200,000,” said a spokesperson.
Another Indian American female entrepreneur, Ms. Southeast America Dreamy Patel of Orlando, Fla., competed. The Ms. America Pageant is for women 26 years of age and up who are single, divorced, married, widowed, with or without children. The pageant is based on four areas of competition: evening gown, interview, sportswear and finalists’ on-stage questions.