Miss World America

Ellensburg resident Shree Saini is competing for the Miss World America title.

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Ellensburg resident Shree Saini has qualified into the top 15 contestants in the Miss World America Pageant. Starting today (Oct. 12), this will be cut down to the top 10 contestants after a series of questions.

In an email to the Daily Record, Saini said, "I am here today because my mentors, teachers, friends, family members and community members who have held my hand and guided me through my journey."

Saini was inspired by pageantry when she was 5-years old and watching a pageant on TV with her mom. She said she was inspired by the confidence of the women on stage, and their ability to advocate for a cause that’s “dear to them.”

“Since that day I have just been passionate about service,” Saini said. “Miss World America is a way I can reach out to more people, and advocate for kindness, compassion and resilience.”

When she was 12 years old, Saini was diagnosed with complete heart block. This was something she had been born with and is still living with to this day. She was surgically fitted with an internal pacemaker, a device that is designed to counter a cardiac arrest. 

“There were times when my heart would not beat for five seconds, and times when it would only beat 20 times per minute,” Saini said.

She was told she would never be as physical active as she was before, and she wouldn’t be able to participate in sports, dance and P.E. at school.

With encouragement from her parents, she overcame these struggles, and was able to heal while following her dreams. She said a positive mental attitude was a key factor in her success. Eventually she was able to join ballet and resume dance.

During college, she was in a car collision that left her with facial burns. She decided she would “not be a victim” and she would not let her burns keep her down. She attended the University of Washington while still recovering from the injury.

“I took my medical kit to my college and cleaned my burns every few hours between classes to heal myself, but I didn’t stop my life and let this accident take over and make me feel defeated,” Saini said. “I chose resilience and continued my life’s journey and my life’s purpose to serve others despite my personal traumas.”

Saini grew up in Moses Lake, and moved to Ellensburg this year. Her family has owned Shree’s Truck Stop off I-90 for three years.

For her, it’s surreal to think about how far she has come. Growing up in small town Washington, she has been invited to 30 states, and visited many countries where she gave inspiring talks to people from across the country and globe.

“It’s such a huge honor and privilege to go to other countries and speak life into people, I see it as one of the greatest jobs on Earth that you get to encourage people and remind them of their potential,” Saini said. “You should never define your life based on your darkest moments, define your life based on the amount of effort you put in.”

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