Anjali Nair takes on National American Miss Jr. Teen Title


Junior Anjali Nair as her name is called out and wins National American Miss. “At the National finale, when Miss Iowa and I were the last two girls, I was nervous, but I told myself that I would be happy with the outcome regardless of who won. When they called Miss Iowa as the first runner up, I was definitely in shock, because I had never expected to be a national queen! But I was also very excited about the year ahead,” Nair said.

Ananya Yarlagadda and Saloni Shah

Two girls were left on the stage at a Marriott in Anaheim, California, on Sunday, Dec. 1. Miss Iowa was called up as runner up, and Anjali Nair, a junior at Jefferson, was crowned the winner of the National American Miss pageant. Formerly state queen, now National American Miss Jr. Teen, Nair recalls how it all started. 

“My mom kept receiving emails about an open call for a pageant called National American Miss in 2016. We decided to try it, and I went in with no pageant experience, and surprisingly placed first runner up at Miss Virginia Pre-Teen,” Nair said.

In 2019, she tried to compete again and won the American Miss Virginia Jr. Teen title in August. Later in November, she took an all-expense paid trip to California to compete in the national pageant representing Virginia where she won the national title.

“In November, we took an expense-paid trip to California to compete in the national pageant representing Virginia, where I competed against other state queens,” Nair said.

 During the state competition she had a formal wear competition, where she walked across the stage in pageant formation, a personal speech, and a round robin style interview. The six judges at the pageant score that based on poise and presentation. For nationals, the process was very similar. After, they called the top 12 finalists and recompeted for the national title, but there was a small difference. Instead of an interview, there was an onstage questionnaire. 

“At the state pageant, there is a formal wear competition, where I walked across the stage in a formation – the judges score that based on poise and presentation. I said a short speech about myself in front of the judges and audience. Lastly, there was an interview round robin style,” Nair said.

Unlike most pageant competitors, Nair is completely self-taught. Rather than being taught by a coach, she decided to teach herself using videos. 

“I realized that I learned the best from watching others/videos and applying those to my competition – how to walk, speak, etc,” Nair said. 

The competition itself has allowed her to gain her public speaking skills while making life-long friends. She has also been given the opportunity to travel the country for the next year, which includes taking part in an all-expense-paid photoshoot in Houston, paid-appearances at next year’s state competitions, New York Fashion Week, and a fun trip to go to California next year to crown the successor of the competition.

“Through National American Miss I have gained public speaking skills and lifelong friends,” Nair said.

Nair strongly believes that it [National American Miss] is not a beauty pageant, and encourages girls to participate, no matter what their height, weight, race, or religion are. She plans to utilize her position to promote the fact that girls can do anything. Nair strove to show herself as a strong independent woman and wants to make sure that every girl feels confident in herself. 

“I want to help them [girls] understand that they can be successful in any field or goal they choose to pursue, whether it be STEM, performing arts, or even winning a pageant, if they have good work ethic and determination,” Nair said.

Along with her position on this topic, Nair is a strong advocate against topics such as animal euthanasia.

“Also, I want to use my title to advocate against topics such as animal euthanasia. I volunteer with A Forever Home and Lost Dog and Cat Foundation to help find abandoned/shelter animals new homes, and I hope to encourage others to do the same,” Nair said.