Madhu Valli of Virginia was crowned Miss India USA 2016, while Sarita Pattnaik of Georgia was crowned as Mrs. India USA during a colorful pageant held Fords, NJ on December 18th. The Miss Teen India USA title went to Rhea Manjrekar of New York. A total of 52 contestants from around the country participated in the national pageant. This is the 35th year of the popular beauty pageant for Indian Americans.
“As every year, the event was full of glamour and talent. This year particularly, talent of the contestants was outstanding. Teen contestants did a spectacular presentation of their talents. Contestants from Miss category had varied talents and their presentation was simply splendid,” said Namita Dodwadkar, the first Mrs. India USA and co-host of this year’s pageant.
Madhu Valli is an emerging Indian American hip hop artist, 19, is a student at George Mason University majoring in music and communications. With 14 singles already recorded, Valli’s ambition is to become the next biggest star in the music industry, reports a media release issued by the organizers, Dharmatma Saran, founder of the India USA pageant.
Pattnaik is an interior designer by profession and the mother of two children. She wants to be a social activist and become a voice for women’s empowerment. Rhea Manjrekar from New York was crowned Miss Teen USA. She loves to work to help homeless children and has raised over $50,000 in the last two years for the cause.
Winners of the India USA pageants will go onto the India Worldwide competition, which will be held in Mumbai next year. The pageant is organized and hosted by Dharmatma Saram, founder and president of the India USA pageant. In an earlier interview, Saran had said that of all the competitions, Mrs. India USA, which was started only two years ago, is growing the fastest.
“Mrs. India USA was first started in 2014 and it was my honor to be crowned as the First Mrs. India USA then. Since I was crowned, my goal has been to spread awareness of this unique platform and motivate married women to continue to chase their dreams,” said Dodwadkar. “The contestants in the Mrs. Category bring immense variety to the show. Each one has their unique story and journey to this coveted platform. It gives me immense pleasure to see that the participation in this category has been increasing ever year.”