Miss India USA 2022 : 74 contestants from 30 states vie for crown at 40th annual pageant

Aarya Walvekar, Miss India USA, flanked by Akshi Jain – Mrs. India USA and Tanvi Grover – Miss Teen India USA after being crowned at the Aug. 5, 2022 pageant. Photo: Jayesh Production and Ashish Nigam

Aarya Walvekar, 18, from Virginia was crowned Miss India USA 2022 at the annual pageant held in New Jersey Aug. 5, 2022, at Royal Albert’s Palace.

“It has been my childhood dream to see myself on the silver screen and work in films and TV,” Walvekar is quoted saying in the press release. An aspiring actress, her hobbies include exploring new places, cooking and debating.

On social media, the winner expressed her emotions at length.

The feelings I’m experiencing are indescribable. I have never been filled with this much gratitude in my life,” Walvekar said on Instagram posting her crowning. “It is my pleasure to announce that I, Aarya Abhijit Walvekar, am your newly crowned Miss India USA 2022. This weekend I had the honor of representing our nations capital, Washington DC at the national Miss India USA pageant,” she said.

“Filled with nervousness and excitement, I entered this weekend with no idea what to expect. However I left this weekend with a national crown, a precious pageant sisterhood, and tons of gratitude in my heart,” she added.

“I understand that this title is not just a crown, it is a duty, a responsibility. I plan on taking advantage of this amazing platform to spread love, positivity, and awareness. I hope you all send me your support, blessings, and love as I start my journey and take on my duties as your Miss India USA 2022,” she concluded posting a heart emoji.

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.

Founders and Chief Organizers – Neelam & Dharmatma Saran with the three winners at the August 5, 2022 Miss India USA pageant in New Jersey. Photo: Jayesh Production and Ashish Nigam

About 500 people attended the glamorous event, including 74 participants, lead organizer Dharmatma Saran, told Desi Talk.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the pageant, which is considered the longest-running Indian pageant to be held outside India.

The 74 contestants represent 30 states in the U.S., and were candidates in different pageants – Miss India USA, Mrs. India USA and Miss Teen India USA.

Akshi Jain from Washington State was crowned Mrs. India USA and Tanvi Grover from New York was crowned Miss Teen India USA.

Started by New York based Indian-Americans Dharmatma and Neelam Saran under the banner of Worldwide Pageants, the event was choreographed by Shilpa Jhurani.

It began with an opening dance number for all contestants. This was followed by the Ethnic Costume segment, then a Talent segment where the top 5 performed; and a Q&A segment.

Winners in all three categories – Miss India USA, Mrs. India USA, and Miss Teen India USA — receive complimentary tickets to fly to Mumbai where they  take part in worldwide pageants early next year,   also organized by the same company, the press release said.

This year’s pageant was presented by Morgan Stanley, and supported by TV Asia and Royal Albert’s Palace. It was a full house organizers said.

Panel of judges at the Aug. 5, 2022 Miss India USA 2022 pageant held in New Jersey. Photo: Jayesh Production and Ashish Nigam

The judges panel included Bollywood singer Shibani Kashyap, Swathi Vimal – the reigning Mrs. India Worldwide, Gietanjali Thakoer, national director of Worldwide Pageants from Suriname. 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 a Special Guest.

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 assisted by Shilpa Jhurani and Anushree Shah. Tabulation was done by Nilesh Choksi CPA.

Top five winners at the Miss India USA 2022 pageant held Aug. 5, 2022, in New Jersey. Photo: Jayesh Production and Ashish Nigam

“We are very proud of the fact that we have been able to imbibe Indian values, traditions, cultures and performing arts among Indian origin youth across the world” with our motto “bringing India closer,” Dharmatma Saran is quoted saying in the press release.

Bollywood singer Shibani Kashyap besides being a judge also enthralled audience with her singing at the Aug. 5, 2022 Miss India USA pageant in New Jersey. Photo: Jayesh Production and Ashish Nigam

In addition to Bollywood dance and songs on stage, participants show their ability in public speaking, and motivational speaking, mono acting, singing popular American songs, hip hop, and even painting, showcasing their well-rounded personalities.

Appreciation plaques were presented to H.R. Shah, chairman of TV Asia, and Albert Jasani of Royal Albert’s Palace for their continued support.



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