Aarya Walveka From Virginia Is Crowned As Miss India USA

As many as 74 contestants representing 30 States from across the United States participated in three different categories – Miss India USA, Mrs. India USA and Miss Teen India USA held in New Jersey

Aarya Walvekar, 18, from Virginia was crowned Miss India USA 2022 during a glittering pageant held at the Royal Alberts Palace, Edison in New Jersey on Friday, August 5th, 2022. Saumya Sharma, a second year premedical student at the University of Virginia, was declared the first runner-up and Sanjana Chekuri of New Jersey was the second runner-up.

As many as 74 contestants representing 30 States from across the United States participated in three different categories – Miss India USA, Mrs. India USA and Miss Teen India USA. Akshi Jain from Washington State has crowned Mrs. India USA and Tanvi Grover from New York was crowned Miss Teen India USA.

During the talent competition, the contestants performed Bollywood dances and songs on stage, gave motivational speeches, did mono acting, sang popular American songs, performed hip hop, and did paintings. Esha Kode – The First Ever Miss Teen India Worldwide and Navya Paingol – the reigning Miss Teen India USA were emcees for the pageant. Nishi Bahl was the choreographer, and was assisted by Shilpa Jhurani and Anushree Shah. Tabulation was done by Nilesh Choksi CPA. 

Neelam Saran and Dharmatma Saran, chairman and founder of the New York based India Cultural Festival (IFC) that organizes the trail blazing Miss India Worldwide, are pioneers in entertainment, holding Indian pageants and fashion shows in the USA and worldwide. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the pageant, which is the longest-running Indian pageant outside of India. The pageant was presented by Morgan Stanley and was supported by  TV Asia and Royal Albert’s palace. 

The annual pageants started in a basement in New York in 1980 with the first ever Miss India New York and Miss India USA, has evolved and expanded, now incorporating and having membership from over 40 countries, that promote Indian heritage and providing a platform for people of Indian origin to unite and showcase their talents, skills and beauty. Winners of all three categories gets complimentary tickets to Mumbai to take part in worldwide pageants, also organized by the same organization, early next year.

“It has been my childhood dream to see myself on the silver screen and work in films and TV,” said Aarya who is an aspiring actress. The Bollywood fan also shared on Instagram that she got the opportunity to showcase herself in front of leading playback singers from the 80s and 90s. “It was an honor to open the show for Bollywood legends Kumar Saanu, Alka Yagnik, and Udit Narayan. Forever grateful,” she wrote. Her hobbies include exploring new places, cooking and debating. 

Attended by over five hundred participants from across the nation, the beauty pageant began with an opening dance number for all contestants choreographed by Shilpa Jhurani and followed by Ethnic costume and talent performances by the top five and the finale was the question/answer segment.

Dharmatma Saran presented an appreciation plaque to Padmashree Dr. H.R. Shah – Chairman of TV Asia and Albert Jasani of Royal Albert’s Palace for their continued support. Judging panel included Bollywood singer Shibani Kashyap, Swathi Vimal – the reigning Mrs. India Worldwide, Gietanjali Thakoer – National Director of Worldwide Pageants from Suriname, Sachin Mally CEO of Lucid Technologies, Sonika Krishna – Vice President of UST Contineo Health and Diamandi Devereaux – Hollywood actor and model. Sumathi Narayanan, State Director of Connecticut, was awarded “State Director of the Year” award.  Khushi Patel, the reigning Miss India Worldwide, attended the pageant as the Special Guest.

Saran said, he is “very proud of the fact that we have been able to provide a common platform for the international Indian community through pageantry. We are equally proud of the fact that we have been able to imbibe Indian values, traditions and culture among the youth of Indian origin around the world. We have also been successful in promoting Indian performing arts around the world.”

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