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Shree Saini dreamed of being “Miss World” as a six-year-old, but it wasn’t till her third attempt at Miss America that she achieved her goal. Washington state resident Shree Saini made history when she became the first American of Indian and Asian descent to become Miss World America, set to represent the US at Miss World 2021.
After winning she 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 honor.”
And her journey was far from easy. At twelve, she received a permanent pacemaker when her heartbeat was found to have an average of just 20 beats per minute. Little did she know, she was born with a complete heart block that went undiagnosed for years. Doctors told her she could never dance again, but she proved them wrong. She joined ballet and went through relentless hours of practice. Just as she was getting back on her feet, Saini faced a significant car accident that resulted in substantial facial burns. Doctors advised her to recover for a year, but she returned to her classes after just two weeks.
Starting with WA state-level pageants to Miss World America 2021, she has used her platform to spread love and kindness. She wants to share her life story, her message being that we can create a loving world with hard work and endless kindness. It’s not always easy to talk about her deepest pains, but she speaks to empower others. Her aim is to serve and reach a more extensive, more significant, and more diversified population. Being a heart health ambassador and campaigner for anti-bullying, she served over 100 nonprofits focusing on heart and emotional health. She has traveled to schools in more than 150 cities, both nationally and internationally, to further her mission.
I met her during her talent round choreography at the Miss India USA platform. Although I have been teaching dance for quite some time, it is always rare to find highly passionate students like Shree – peacemaker with a pacemaker, incredible dancer, speaker, and angel with a beautiful soul. She worked hard for this moment and finds that pageantry is a service job for her.
Shree’s win is vital as she is the first Asian and Indian American to represent the USA at Miss World. Through actions like this, one can hope for a US that celebrates diversity and welcomes all ethnicities, races, and colors. Shree is truly remarkable and I rejoice in her success and wish her the best in her future endeavors.
Piyali Biswas De is an accomplished Bharatnatyam and Non-classical dance exponent, guru, and well-known choreographer in the Greater Seattle region. When she is not dancing, Piyali works as an IT professional in Seattle and spends time with two beautiful daughters who seem eager to follow in her footsteps.