Anjali pageant

Anjali Nair, an Indian American student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, was crowned the winner of the National American Miss Junior Teen 2019-2020 pageant held Dec. 1 in Anaheim, Calif. (National American Miss/Facebook photo)

Loud cheers ensued Dec. 1 at Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, Calif., as Indian American high school student Anjali Nair walked away with the title of ‘National American Miss Junior Teen 2019-2020.’

As the winner of the ‘American Miss Virginia Jr. Teen’ title, Nair, a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, represented her state at the national pageant.

This was Nair’s second attempt at the pageant. Her first shot was at the Miss Virginia Pre-Teen contest in 2016, according to tjtoday.org, the school’s online newspaper. But for a newbie, she did pretty well, placing first runner-up at the contest.

The newspaper highlighted that unlike most pageant competitors, Nair is completely “self-taught.”

“I realized that I learned the best from watching others/videos and applying those to my competition – how to walk, speak, etc.” Nair told tjtoday.org.

Nair shared that being a part of the competition has allowed her to hone her public speaking skills and make lifelong friends.

Being a winner of the competition, Nair will now travel the country in 2020, which includes taking part in an all-expense-paid photoshoot in Houston, Texas, paid-appearances at this year’s state competitions, attending New York Fashion Week, and travelling to California to crown the successor of the competition, said the paper.

Nair added that she hopes to use the platform to shine a light on the strength and resilience of girls.

“I want to help them (girls) understand that they can be successful in any field or goal they choose to pursue, whether it be STEM, performing arts, or even winning a pageant, if they have good work ethic and determination,” tjtoday.org quoted Nair as saying.

Also a staunch supporter of animal welfare, Nair added, “I want to use my title to advocate against topics such as animal euthanasia. I volunteer with A Forever Home and Lost Dog and Cat Foundation to help find abandoned/shelter animals new homes, and I hope to encourage others to do the same.”

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