- The Indian American was also the Miss World Beauty With A Purpose (BWAP) ambassador.
Indian American Shree Saini has been crowned first runner-up at the 2021 Miss World pageant held on March 16 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, after it was delayed in 2020 due to COVID-19. Karolina Bielawska of Poland won the coveted Miss World title, while Olivia Yace from Cote d’Ivoire was the second runner-up.
Miss India World 2020 Manasa Varanasi represented India at the Miss World 2021. She reached the Top 13 contestants but could not make it to the Top 6 finalists.
Saini, also the Miss World Beauty With A Purpose (BWAP) ambassador, has overcome several hardships to make her name in beauty pageants. When Saini was 12, she was told she would never be able to dance. That’s the year she had a pacemaker implanted: her heart rate was only 20 beats per minute. Since then the Moses Lake, Washington resident has emerged stronger and stronger against all subsequent challenges. In October last year, she became the first Indian American to be elected Miss World America 2021. Saini was crowned by model and the winner of Miss World 1997 pageant Diana Hayden.
She also overcame a major car accident which left her with burns all over her face. The 26-year-old has completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and works as a Business Manager at her father’s company.
Ahead of the Miss World event, she took to Instagram and shared a photo from her childhood. With a crown on her head, the photo showed her dressed up as Miss World. “Miss World Started! When I was just 6, I dressed up as Miss World, because I saw Miss World as a Superhero. A woman who serves with her loving heart,” she wrote in the caption.
In an earlier interview with this writer, Saini, who always wanted to compete in pageants since first grade, admitted that her journey to the coveted crown was “long, and tough.” Born in Ludhiana, Punjab, Saini came to the U.S. at age 7. Back in India, she learned Bollywood dance and Kathak. Her surgery changed everything, and at age 15, Saini had to relearn dance once again. Along with the Indian dance forms, she learned Western dance forms like ballet, jazz and hip-hop.
She did not dance until she was 15, and that wasn’t easy either, as there was no diversity in the town. But these challenges taught her “how to cope with adversaries,” she says. Saini, who started her non-profit organization when she was 15 has been a victim of bullying in high school and has been campaigning against non-verbal bullying through her website