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.

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As a child, a role model can be one of the most important factors in shaping you into the person you will become. Often in today’s digital world, young girls choose their roles models not just from within their families or communities, but from the celebrities they see on glossy magazine covers, on television or on the pageant world.

Gabriella Garza, who'll be competing in the 2018 Miss Texas USA Pageant, aspires to be a role model for young women. "As a young women I'd like to motivate my generation and those to come to be confident and determined. I've been from public, private to homeschool so I've experienced a fair share of bullying and loosing self esteem. I learned to overcome my insecurities and I'd love to help others do the same. I always tell my little sister stay true to who you are and what you stand for. If you have a goal and stay focused there's nothing you can't accomplish." she explained

Gabriella would like to be an entertainment reporter one day so she's currently in school working on completing my degree. She has had the opportunity to work at the Houston radio station 104.1 KRBE as a morning show and promotions intern. 

She's currently working on developing her own segment that she has been working on for a while. She volunteers with the Mission Continues which is a non-profit veterans organization. "We renovate schools and help clean up parks and landmarks around the Houston area. I volunteer with my dad and cousin which makes it even more special to me because I get to spend time with my family doing something I love." she said

Here we bring you the untold facts about Gabriella’s life and also her ideas, objectives and opinions… Have a look!

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In the last 3 years only three girls with Albanian roots took part in the Miss USA Pageant. Will she be the next ? The gorgeous Jasmina Cunmulaj will compete in Miss Michigan USA later this year and she's proud to be able to call herself an American-Albanian. "I am extremely proud because of the perseverance, support, and grit that our community has. I was raised in a culture that is extremely uplifting to one another, despite where we live or what religion we are, since we, as a community, have been tested with many years of oppression, discrimination, and war, but we still continue to rise and stay true to who we are." she explained.

The U.S.-Albanian relationship dates back to the early years of the 20th century, when President Woodrow Wilson extended American support for the young Albanian state. Since rejoining the international community, Albania has made many valuable contributions to promote international peace and security. 

Jasmina is currently a full time student at the University of Detroit Mercy, studying Neuropsychology. Since her first year of university, she has taken part of research and just recently was published into a medical journal. Aside from school, she is also a model. She just signed her first contract recently at the start of 2017. She was living in Chicago to model for her agency after her second year of University was completed.

She made the Top 15 at Miss Michigan Teen USA 2016 and competed for Miss Earth United States in Washington D.C, July 31-August 2, 2016. Lets know a little more about this beautiful and inspiring woman through this interview!

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In a pageant confidence is the key. Anyone who has ever pursued their dreams knows that they are never as simple as you set out expecting them to be. Don’t let that deter you. Confident winners do not let setbacks deter them from their goals or allow others’ opinions to deter them from their full potential.

Perseverance in pageantry is a valuable lesson that applies in every other area of life. The best things in life are challenging. Know that whatever setbacks you may have, they don’t define you. 

The beautiful Michelle Laino will compete for the crown of Miss New York Teen USA 2018. This will be her 5th time. She believes that you don't need a crown to be a queen - "Every year I competed I got to know myself more and more. That was the most important thing I have done to prepare, is to know myself inside and out. I think the most important part of preparation in pageants is getting to know who you are and why you are competing." she explained.

Michelle, 18, graduated high school and she is currently enrolled in a personal training certification program. After she obtains her certification she plans to continue her education in nutrition. She works as a sales associate at Club Pilates - "I just really love fitness, exercise, and the human body. As for extracurricular work, I have a health blog and I also volunteer at Gilda's Club, which is an organization to help families, friends, and patients affected by cancer." she said

Michelle's dedication towards her goals, and her success which has been a result of her ambitions and efforts, will surely take her long on the road of victory! Discover more about her story below

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Generally Iranians have very high esteem for Zoroastrianism as a faith and regard Zoroastrians as genuinely authentic Iranians who preserved the ancestral faith. It is one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions. Found by the Prophet Zoroaster in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago. This religion makes Shiva Abadi proud of being Persian-American - "Zoroastrianism believes in three things: Good thoughts, good words and good deeds. This is how I was raised and still practice to be the best version of myself through this phrase." she explained.

Shiva Abadi, who'll be competing in Miss California USA later this year, graduated from the University of California-San Francisco at the age of 25 with her Masters of Science in Dental Hygiene. She has been practicing Dental Hygiene for the past 5 years in clinical, advocacy, volunteer, and educational setting. As an educator for Waterpik, she gives continuing education units to Dentists, Registered Dental Hygienist, and Registered Dental Assistants. She practices Dental Hygiene 4 days a week at a state of the art dental office in San Diego and enjoys preventing diseases, improving oral health, educating and connecting with her patients.

In her spare time she loves hiking, camping, swimming, playing the piano and taking her motorcycle or manual car out for a ride in the canyons.

Here we bring you the untold facts about Shiva’s life and also her ideas, objectives and opinions… Have a look!

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Depression and suicidal thoughts are two of the most frightening things a person can face in their lifetime. Unfortunately, acting on those suicidal thoughts is a far too common scenario for many across the world, including young people. In fact, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 24.

Each year, more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. In many cases, friends and families affected by a suicide loss (often called “suicide loss survivors”) are left in the dark. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic. Alana Morgan, who'll be competing for the title of Miss California Teen USA later this year, closely works in teen suicide prevention and saving lives through mental health advocacy. She volunteers regularly in her school and with the Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation - "I was chosen to be  on a suicide prevention nonprofit as a teen board member for The weRpossible Project. There we battle teen suicide with the most powerful teenager thing there is-there phones. We work on YouTube and Instagram and other platforms. We recently partnered with Ainsley Hutto, owner of Teen Music Insider, so we can interview teen influencers and help teens everywhere know that everyone is battling something." she explained

I had the opportunity to interview the beautiful Alana a few weeks before the Miss California Teen USA Pageant. Check it below!

Did you know ? The Miss California Teen USA competition is the pageant that selects the representative for the state of California in the Miss Teen USA pageant. This pageant is part of the Miss Universe Organization, owned by William Morris Endeavor (also known as WME).

The state won the Miss Teen USA Pageant two times : In 1994 with Shauna Gambill and in 2013 with Cassidy Wolf.

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