Vaidehi Dongre 25, from Michigan was crowned Miss India USA 2021 over the 17-18 July weekend. Arshi Lalani from Georgia was declared the first runner-up at the beauty pageant.
Born in India and raised in America, Vaidehi graduated from the University of Michigan, majoring in international studies. She works as a business development manager with a major corporation.
“I want to leave a positive lasting impact on my community and focus on women’s financial independence and literacy,” Vaidehi said on winning the Crown.
Vaidehi also won the ‘Miss Talented’ award for her flawless performance of Indian classical dance Kathak.
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Lalani, 20, dazzled everyone with her performance and confidence and was declared the first runner-up. She suffers from brain tumour.
North Carolina’s Mira Kasari was declared the second runner-up.
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. 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.”
Vaidehi Dongre dedicated her win to her ‘Aai'(mother)
Diana Hayden, Miss World 1997, was the chief guest and chief judge for the pageant.
As many as 61 contestants from 30 states participated in three different pageants – Miss India USA, Mrs India USA and Miss Teen India USA. Winners of all three categories get complimentary tickets to travel to Mumbai to take part in worldwide pageants.
Started by New York-based eminent Indian-Americans Dharmatma and Neelam Saran under the banner of Worldwide Pageants around 40 years ago, Miss India USA is the longest-running Indian pageant outside India.