India born Michigan University graduate dedicates win to her ‘Aai’ (mother)
Vaidehi Dongre, born in India and raised in America, was crowned Miss India USA 2021 over the weekend in New Jersey. The 25-year-old is a graduate in international studies from the University of Michigan, is a business development manager with a company.
“I want to leave a positive lasting impact on my community and focus on women’s financial independence and literacy,” said Dongre on winning the crown, according to wionews.com
Arshi Lalani from Georgia was declared the first runner up and North Carolina’s Mira Kasari was declared the second runner up.
Read: University of Washington student Shree Saini crowned Miss India USA 2017 (December 20, 2017)
There were 61 contestants from 30 states participating in three different pageants – Miss India USA, Mrs India USA and Miss Teen India USA. The winners of all three categories get complimentary tickets to travel to Mumbai, India to take part in worldwide pageants.
Dongre also won the ‘Miss Talented’ title in the pageant for giving a flawless performance of Indian classical dance form Kathak.
Post the win, Dongre expressed her happiness in a post on Instagram, “Less than 48 hours before I leave to go compete at the Miss India USA National pageant in NJ and I could not be more excited!!”
“This past year has been one of the toughest of my life as I am sure it has been for many others. On a personal level, I moved back home in February of 2020 due to the pandemic and stayed to support my family through a difficult time,” she wrote.
“After a full year of deep reflection and work on myself, the Miss India Michigan pageant made me realize how much growth can come from leaning into challenges.”
“Participating in and winning the Miss India Michigan pageant brought me a level of internal clarity and confidence that I didn’t think was possible,” Dongre wrote.
Dongre dedicated her win to her ‘Aai’ (mother)
“Thrilled to be representing the state of Michigan at Miss India USA in July! “ she wrote in an instagram post.
“The Miss India USA pageants have always provided a platform to empower and encourage women of Indian origin. As a little girl having been born in India and raised in the US, I have always straddled the line between Indian & American culture and values & discovered all the amazing gifts that both have to offer.
“I believe that the Miss India USA platform will give me the confidence & resources to further my goals, and leave a positive lasting impact on my community.
“Wish me luck. This one is for my Aai (Mom)”
Former Miss World Diana Hayden was the chief guest and chief judge for the pageant. It was started four decades ago by Indian-Americans Neelam and Dharmatma Saran.