Indian beauty queen Monika Patel makes it obvious that the American dream is alive

Indian-Americans constitute less than 1 percent of the U.S. population. Yet you will find them at the helm of great companies such as PepsiCo and MasterCard; as presidents and deans of America’s most prestigious colleges; at the pinnacles of journalism; dominating fields such as technology, scientific research and medicine; and thriving in industries such as hospitality, transportation and real estate. They have also achieved extraordinary success in government.

Monika Patel's parents migrated to America in hopes of being able to create a better life for her family. Like most immigrants like to call it, Following the American dream. Growing up with a traditional family Monika faced many challenges appropriating to the American culture. "I was always treated differently, no one wanted to understand where my family came from, they would just point and laugh at me or tease me for having dark skin. The kids ended up telling me I looked “unusual” I always hoped that one day my differences would be put aside and I would fit in with the rest of the crowd." she explained.

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This year, Monika Patel will have the opportunity to represent the indian-american community at the prestigious Miss Texas USA Pageant. And it is not common to see Indian-American beauties in major national pageants of the country.  There was a lot of controversy when Nina Davuluri won Miss America title in 2013. The first placement of Indian-American beauty in Miss USA was achieved by Pratima Yarlagadda in 1999. 

The next and the most recent Indian-American to achieve success in Miss USA is Chhavi Verg. She even spoke fluent Hindi on the Miss USA stage. Her presence in Top 10, Top 5 and then Top 3 was not a surprise.  In fact many wanted her to win because her final answer was good.  However, she had to settle with 1st runner-up placement.  Nevertheless it is a huge achievement. 

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Let us hope to see soon an Indian-American winning Miss USA. It would be interesting to see how the country perceives the event!

So, who is Monika Patel ? She is studying Psychology and Fashion at Texas State University.

She also works at a gear manufacturing company. She assists in creating company culture making sure they do not follow the footsteps of the corporations that have failed before them. When she first started working at Rave Gears she was learning the ropes of Quality Procurement so she took a reverse engineering approach to the system so she can one day maintain a scale of multiple department instruction. During the summer she was able to work full time and she got the opportunity to manage work flow and follow production. Her logic for choosing this type of work is because of her focus in Industrial Organizational Psychology.  Working in an industrial environment is not glitz and glam. But it just goes to show that it is very possible to have beauty and brains.

She was born in Chicago and moved to Texas when she was about the age of five. She was put into a very small Christian private school where she quickly learned to lean on God for answers. "I had bowed to my fate taking into consideration I had to coexist in a dual Hindu/Christian life. Trying to find harmony within the two cultures was difficult for me to evaluate on my own, especially as a child." she explained.

I had the opportunity to interview the beautiful Monika on her preparation for the next Miss Texas USA Pageant. Lets know a little more about her below!

What inspired you to walk on the course of beauty pageants? 

I learned how to count my blessings, acknowledging those less fortunate than me, but I also learned that I have to work my butt off and be the best I could be. I grew up having positive expectations of myself and my outcomes. But the sad thing is that during the course of growing up, we lose this positive expectation mindset and we become afraid to hope and dream. Basically, we become pessimistic and fearful. I was inspired to walk on the course of beauty pageants because I want to embody a solution-based proactive plan. I want to condition my mindset and reprogram my brain to think differently. If I could use my brain to bring out my beauty I think it can be very powerful.


Who do you think will be your strongest competitor for the Miss Texas USA Competition ?

Every girl entering is considered as competition but I think my strongest competitor is myself. I am the only thing that is stopping me from getting that crown- that and my love for food! I have a hankering admiration for all types of food, I love to try new eats. And the fact that I love to cook doesn’t make it any better. But overall that’s all up to me.

"I have a huge respect for the traditional American Barbie but this was much easier for me to relate to Bollywood Stars because those girls in the films had dark hair and tan skin just like me! "

Some people say that beauty pageants are degrading to women, same with fashion magazines. How can you convince them that they’re wrong?

 I think pageant girls are really dedicated people, they work really hard to get to where they are and must be disciplined – there is so much more to it than what you see. I also see nothing wrong in developing good habits to better yourself as a human being. They say that “we can always be better than we were yesterday” and if that means setting goals and attaining them I would not oppose to it. My family is conservative and they enjoy seeing me learn and grow in the process of preparation. My dedication and what I consider is important is solely up to me. If anyone frowned upon my interests I don’t think it would phase me, for the sake that I have already evolved into a more confident and secure woman and I thank beauty pageants for allowing me to attain that free spirit.  

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What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry?

A step closer to reaching self-actualization.

What is your opinion about pageants that are being held worldwide for kids (-18 year old) ?

I mean depending on their root cause for why they want to rep themselves in such a manner needs to be regulated by their parents and coaches. These girls are supposed to be our future and with that they need to be a positive influence for the ones that need a role model to look up to. Also my opinion about minors competing in pageants is that their guardians should fully support them and keep note of their physical health as well as their mental health because it is just as important.

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Who is your ideal beauty queen and how has she helped you to evolve as a beauty queen?

Aishwarya Rai, she is an Indian actress, model and the winner of Miss World 1994 pageant. Aishwarya Rai crowned at the age of 21 was an architecture student she received offers to act in film after being recognized in the pageant world.  dedicated to her work because I am aware that she puts her family and culture first. I have seen a few interviews where someone tries to belittle for her cultural stance but she always has something witty up her sleeve and never fails to smile.


Thanks to the beautiful Monika for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss Texas USA pageant.