Shree Saini, a 25-year-old from Washington State, has become the first Indian-American to win the crown of Miss World America 2021.
Her family has various business ventures including Shree’s Truck Stop.
Shree has studied journalism at the University of Washington, and non-degree courses in acting at Yale School of Drama, non-profit management at Harvard and social entrepreneurship at Stanford University.
After winning the contest, Shree wrote on Instagram:
“I am the first American of Indian origin and first Asian to be crowned Miss World America.”
Shree’s story is very unique amongst the pageant winners to be crowned.
She was born in Ludhiana and has lived in the United States since the age of 5.
Shree is an advocate for heart health as she herself has had a permanent pacemaker since she was 12.
According to her website, Shree began dancing at age 3 and continued to dance, even after receiving a pacemaker at 12.
“To regain her strength, Shree took extra dance classes and danced up to 6 hours a day for years. Shree is trained in ballet en pointe, contemporary, jazz, clogging and she even danced in her college hip hop team.”
Apart from being bullied as a child for her ethnic background, in her freshman year of college, Shree also overcame a major fatal car accident which left her with burns all over her face.
At the young age of 15, Shree with the help of her family created a non-profit dedicated to advocating and raising money for heart health, mental and emotional health.
She told ABC7:
“My parents really helped me in that moment of adversity. They told me to constantly choose resilience. And I think in our life, we are going to be always, be met with hardships but what truly defines our life is our choices that we make.”
In addition, Shree holds the prestigious position of “MWA National Beauty with a Purpose Ambassador.”
This is a position that Shree earned by working tirelessly to help those less fortunate and in need.
In 2021, Kittitas County commissioners announced April 21 as “Shree Saini Day” as a way of honouring her community service.
In her statement after winning Shree Saini said:
“I am happy and quite nervous. I can’t express my feelings (in words). All the credit goes to my parents, especially my mother because of whose support I am here. Thank you Miss World America for this honour.”
The official social media handle of Miss World America wrote:
“We are certain Shree will continue to immaculately embody Beauty With A Purpose, and no doubt will be successful in raising awareness and attention to the Miss World America mission. Stay tuned and follow the Miss World America 2021 journey!”
Shree says being Miss World America was her childhood dream and she wishes to inspire others to rise above their challenges.
“My family is an immigrant family and we know the amount of resources, love and opportunities America has to offer. Truly, anyone can come here and start from the bottom and really go after any dream they aspire to.”
She was crowned Miss India Worldwide 2018 at a pageant held in the Fords City of New Jersey.
Indian beauty queen and Bollywood actor Diana Hayden crowned Shree Saini at the event, which was held at Miss World America headquarters in Los Angeles.
WATCH VIDEO: Miss World America 2021 Shree Saini on ABC!