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Sheena Patel is Miss India New England

Chitra Parayath

An evening of Glitz and Glamour

A glimpse into Boston’s best was offered to an enthusiastic, (albeit a wee too loud) audience last Friday as the Miss India New England crown was contested by ten area beauties. Ms. Sheena Patel was declared the new Miss India New England. The contest which had many components such as the Talent segment and Evening wear segment, showcased many talents and abilities of the contestants.

The ladies were judged on over all personality, poise, achievement & talent. All the contestants were beautiful and each individual, clearly, had a special and unique value. The judges for the evening were Shipra Palriwala, Lekha Patel and Anjali Rajput.

Anita Patel, Shilpa Shrivatsav, Dimple Rana, Kashmira Rana, Anu Karna, Kashish Chopra, Sheena Patel, Neelu Johar, Namita Gupta and Roma Patel contested the crown.

The Miss congeniality title as well as the second runner up category was won by Ms. Kashish Chopra, Miss Dimple Rana was named Ms. Popular Vote and Ms. Roma Patel was the first runner up in the contest. Ms. Sheena Patel was also declared the winner in the talent section for her dance ‘Kahe Ched Ched mohe’ from Devdas.

Miss India New England 2002, Ms. Shweta Sinha crowned the new winner. Said Rupal Patel of Arya International who organized this impressive event, “ We want to present a quality, professional, well organized, fun filled pageant, replete with an entertainment package. All the ten contestants were very graceful and talented. This beauty pageant is for empowering Indian American women to achieve their personal and professional goals, while providing a forum for them to express their opinions, talents, and intelligence.”

“The outcome is not decided on one’s outer beauty alone, many aspects of the contestants personality are taken into account before the winner is declared.” She added. “We are committed to producing quality events that offer both the enjoyment of competition and the personal growth of the participants and operating events with highest level of integrity and professionalism.”

There was not a dull moment in the Copley Theater as boisterous dance numbers from Area Colleges like BU, BC and Tufts punctuated the evening. Soundarya botique from Andover, MA put up a fashion show where men, women and children modelled exquisite Indian dresses.

Lokvani caught up with the new Ms. India New England and are pleased to present Sheena Patel, the graceful young winner for this year.

Lokvani : Can you tell us something about your background, academic and other? What do you do, have you competed before, do you have modeling experience?
Sheena : I am currently a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, studying Computer Science and Management Information Systems. I had a wonderful opportunity to study at Kings College in London for a semester. In London I was a choreographer for a charity event sponsored by the Indian club in support of the St. Thomas Hospital. At least 5,000 people showed up at the event and we raised $50,000 for the hospital. Attending the Angikam Dance Academy where I graduated from developed my true passion for Indian dance. I also preformed my arangethram through the guidance of Jasmine Shah. Currently I am an instructor for yoga and kickboxing, at Gold’s Gym on the weekends. I love to spend time with my family and friends. In my spare time I’ll go for a run, cook gourmet Indian food, or go out to Boston. I was captain of my track and field team in high school, winning many titles, and was awarded athletic scholarships at a couple of Universities.

Lokvani : What was the first thought that popped into your head when you heard your name announced?
I was absolutely ecstatic and overjoyed as I accepted the title. I tried to fight back my tears and wanted to thank my mom and aunt for pushing me to participate in this event. It was a moment that I will cherish all my life.

Lokvani : What will your responsibilities be as Miss India NE?
Sheena : As Miss Indian New England I am going to represent and be a voice for the Indian community. Participate in community events and promote Indian culture. I am very happy to be an Indian woman and feel very close to my heritage and traditions. This will give me an opportunity to be present and take part at various Indian functions.

Lokvani : What is your goal in life? Your ambitions and plans for the future?
Sheena : My goal in life is to balance a career in computer science and have a happy and healthy family. I plan to be successful in my career by working hard. I would love to be able to pass on my Indian values and traditions that I have acquired from my ba (grandmother), Kishore Mama (my uncle), and my parents, and pass those same values to my children. I just want to continue to be a happy person from the inside and make the most out of everyday, and to spread that happiness around. I would like to live an active life and give back to my community.

Lokvani : How did your folks feel about your win? Were you/they confident you'd make it?
Sheena : My parents were so excited. The very minute they announced my name; my Dad jumped up from his seat and started dancing (bangra style). My sister and mom were very excited and proud. My sister who is high-spirited was my cheerleader throughout the pageant. Ba, Kishore Mama, my aunties and cousins all came to the show, and were all very pleased and happy for me.

The reason I entered the pageant was because my mom and aunt pushed me as they both felt confident that I would win. As for me I looked at the competition with an open mind. My mission was just to have fun, try my best, and let the results naturally play out. I have participated in numerous competitions in my life and I always tell myself never think of the results, just try hard with a positive mental attitude and make the most out of any experience.

Lokvani : Any advice for girls/ women who'd want to compete? What do you think of folks who say that it is demeaning for women to participate in beauty contests?
Sheena : Girls / woman who want to compete, go for it! Have fun because you have a platform to show who you are and what you have to offer. It’s a great opportunity to participate in different events, become more confident and make great friends. It’s a process, which requires personal commitment, hard work and talent. Compete with a smile on your face and have a ball. All you need is dedication, determination, talent, and aspiration.
There are many stereotypes that are linked to beauty pageants. But, this competition does not only award outward beauty, but also inner beauty and intelligence. After looking at each phase of the competition: presentation, talent, and the platform I realized the true value of competition, I was able to share common values with other Indian women. I do not think it’s demeaning for woman to participate in a beauty pageant. It’s an opportunity where they can learn from other confident woman.

Lokvani : And anything else you may want to share with lokvani readers.
Sheena : “Learning and wisdom are superfluities, the surface glitter merely, but it is the heart that is the seat of all power.” - Vivekananda's Quote of the Day

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