US-born teenager represented the United States at global event with entries from 40 countries, including India.
Nitya Kodali, a US born teenager of Indian descent has been crowned the world’s first Miss Teen Telugu Universe at an international beauty pageant with entries from 40 countries including India.
Kodali, 15, a high school sophomore and valedictorian of her class, was among 22 finalists competing in the grand finale of the Telugu Universe pageant earlier this month.
Miss Earth India, Tejaswini Manogna crowned Kodali at the event with multiple rounds including Telugu speaking, ramp walk, talent, and question-and-answer. Over 18,000 participants attended the event.
“To win one of the most prestigious titles in my first ever pageant is a huge honor and I am still in disbelief,” Kodali wrote on her Instagram page.
“The pageant has changed my life forever, and for that, I am always grateful,” she wrote. “This victory is not just mine, but the amazing people in my life that have taught me everything I know today. This crown is dedicated to you all.”
The first runner up award was bagged by Sathvika Movva and the second runner up award went to Sushmita Kolloju.
The pageant’s vision and goal is to nurture, promote and advance Telugu culture in young women across the world.
Kodali is working towards a career in medicine and is the founder of the global nonprofit, Letters & Love, a student-led volunteer organization dedicated to spreading positivity across the world through letters.
She is also a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and on Houston’s Bollywood dance team. She also volunteers at Houston’s local Telugu school as a teacher to help promote her language and culture.
Since winning the initial crown Kodali has bagged two more titles — Miss Yuvarani USA and Miss International Congeniality.
“Pageants are a wonderful opportunity for self-development and confidence,” Kodali said.
“You meet wonderful people along the way and truly foster beautiful connections,” she said. “Telugu culture has always been a strong part of my identity.