Twenty-five-year-old Vaidehi Dongre from Michigan won the Miss India USA 2021 title, while Arshi Lalani from Georgia was crowned the first runner-up.
Dongre, who graduated in International Studies at the University of Michigan, works as a business development manager for a big firm.
Speaking about what she wishes to do with her victory, Vaidehi said: ‘I want to leave a positive lasting impact on my community and focus on women’s financial independence and literacy.’
Vaidehi won the ‘Miss Talented’ title after she gave a flawless performance of Indian classical dance form Kathak. In the days leading up to the win, Vaidehi said in an Instagram post: ‘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.’
She added: ‘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.’
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 in all three categories will receive complimentary tickets to Mumbai to compete in international pageants.
Miss India USA, the longest-running Indian pageant outside of India, was founded about 40 years ago by New York-based renowned Indian-Americans Dharmatma and Neelam Saran under the name of Worldwide Pageants.