Vaidehi Dongre, born in India and raised in America, was crowned Miss India USA 2021 over the weekend. Dongre is a business development manager with a company. The 25-year-old is a graduate from the University of Michigan.
“I want to leave a positive lasting impact on my community and focus on women’s financial independence and literacy,” said Dongre on winning the crown. Arshi Lalani from Georgia was declared the first runner up and North Carolina’s Mira Kasari was declared the second runner up.
Post the win, Dongre expressed her happiness in a post on Instagram, “Less than 48 hours before I leave to go compete at the Miss India USA National pageant in NJ and I could not be more excited!! This past year has been one of the toughest of my life as I am sure it has been for many others. On a personal level, I moved back home in February of 2020 due to the pandemic and stayed to support my family through a difficult time. After a full year of deep reflection and work on myself, the Miss India Michigan pageant made me realize how much growth can come from leaning into challenges. Participating in and winning the Miss India Michigan pageant brought me a level of internal clarity and confidence that I didn’t think was possible.” Dongre dedicated her win to her ‘Aai'(mother).
Former Miss World Diana Hayden was the chief guest and chief judge for the pageant. There were 61 contestants from 30 states participating in three different pageants – Miss India USA, Mrs. India USA and Miss Teen India USA. The winners of all three categories get complimentary tickets to travel to Mumbai, India to take part in worldwide pageants.