When the Indian saree represents America at the Miss World pageant 

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Shree Saini, March 16, 2022, at the miss World pageant held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo: courtesy Shree Saini

Shree Saini, an Indian-American and former Miss India USA and Miss World American, won the 1st Runner Up prize at the Miss World pageant, the finals of which were held March 16, 2022, at Coca-Cola Music Hall in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Karolina Bielawska of Poland won the Miss World crown and Cote D’Ivoire’s Olivia Vace won 2nd Runner Up.)

The very next day Saini, who hails from Washington State, represented America wearing a colorful Indian saree and won Miss Continent Queen of the Americas! Not only that, Saini won the coveted award of “Miss World Beauty With A Purpose Ambassador” title which means she will be accompanying Miss World for a whole year in touring around the globe, her mother Ekta Saini told Desi Talk.

Shree Saini in a saree, 3rd from right, at the Continental Queen contest the day after the March 16, 2022 Miss World pageant. She was selected Continental Queen of the Americas. Photo: courtesy Facebook

Shree indicated that in wearing a saree to represent America she made a statement about her origins as much as her nation, saying, “Yes, I am 100% Indian and a 100% American,” she texted in response to a query from Desi Talk.

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“I proudly represented 333 million Americans and billions of Indians all over the world,” Shree Saini added.

She went on to say, “Being a heart patient and a facial burn survivor, I represented every disabled person and everyone who felt  excluded or defeated.”

Saini was referring to the pacemaker for her heart that she has needed since she was 12, and to the severe burns she suffered in an accident. Those facts have made her an inspiring candidate not just the beauty pageants, but for the numerous causes she is committed to over the years.

Shree Saini was the first Indian-American to win the Miss World America pageant in October 2021, and remains one of the most unique pageant winners to be crowned. At that time, she told this writer, “My win shows America stands for diversity and inclusion. We are already doing a good job with diversity, but we can always do more for inclusivity,” she added.

When she won 1st Runner Up, on March 16, 2022, Saini tweeted, “Wow God God helped me fulfill the highest honor of my life to become Miss World 1st Runner Up, Miss World BWAP Ambassador and Miss World AmericaS: Continent Queen Title of Americas.”

The acronym BWAP stands for ‘Beauty With A Purpose” the slogan of the Miss World pageant.

“Being “Miss World BWAP Ambassador” means a lifetime of a service job,” Saini said in her tweet..

She will be traveling with Miss World for a whole year, under that Ambassador title.

“The Global Ambassadorship — That’s bigger than 1st Runner Up,” her mother told Desi Talk. It means traveling around the world with Miss World.

Shree Saini, left, Karolina Bielawska, center and Olivia Vace, the Miss World pageant winners March 16, 2022. Photo: courtesy Ekta Saini

Shree Saini went on to tweet after her latest win –

“This is not just about me.

It’s about the people I get to serve.

It’s about the symbolic global messages of

Endless Kindness,

Relentless Hard Work and

TRULY Caring about people.

It’s about having a moral obligation to take care of others like our own.

It’s about encouraging anyone who is struggling to remain hopeful and persevere.

BWAP is about taking care of people like our ONE large world family,” Saini continued in her Tweet.

It was her personal struggles Saini says, which led her to dedicate her life to service for the last 10 years working with more than one hundred charities.

“Especially now, when our hearts have been broken over several issues: with 2 years of Covid and now the war; there has never been a greater time for LOVE AND PEACE ambassadors to travel and uplift our humanity.

WORLD , I am here to WHOLEHEARTEDLY serve YOU,” Saini tweeted.

Ekta Saini also provided interesting titbits about the gold embellished floor-length gown her daughter wore for the final day. It was the same as the one worn by the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton at the World Premiere of the Bond movie ‘No Time To Die’ designed by Jenny Packham.

Shree saini dress for Miss World pageant March 16, 2022. Photo courtesy Ekta Saini

“Shree loved that dress,” Ekta Saini said. So it was imported from England. “She (Shree) is taller than Kate Middleton, so I had to add length to it and had to get extra gold material to do that,” said Ekta Saini who did the alterations herself. She also had to make other adjustments to the dress because it has a flowing cape at the back which had to be altered to allow for the sash that indicates the country the person is representing.

There will be a celebratory party in New York for Shree Saini’s latest achievements. While a date has not been finalized, her mother said, it would be within the next few weeks.

 

Saini came with her parents from Punjab when she was just 5 years old, and was brought up in small towns of Colville and Moses Lake in Washington State. Her first pageant win was when she was 6 and dressed for the school pageant, she recalled during her 2021 interview with this writer.

At 14, Saini took to ballet dancing, and her eponymous website Shreesaini.org, notes she was accepted to the prestigious New York City Joffrey Ballet, an offer she did not take up. Instead, she took a gap year, and spent time in India, traveling to Kolkata, Punjab and other places, and after her return to the U.S., studying in various higher education institutions like Yale and Harvard.

Since childhood the question that plagued her was – why are so many people so poor?

“And I still have that question plaguing me. I want to make a radical difference, and my dream is to be able to do that through this pageant and my experiences,” Saini told Desi Talk in 2018.

Through the Covid pandemic, Shree Saini raised thousands of dollars not just for India covid relief work but also for those in need around the U.S.

 

 

 

 

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