Kittitas County’s Shree Saini crowned Miss World America

THORP, Wash. — You may have seen her name or heard her story, now Kittitas County’s Shree Saini is making headlines worldwide as the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss World America.

Saini, who previously won the title of Miss World America Washington, was crowned on October 2 in West Hollywood.

Saini, 25, is the namesake of Shree’s Travel Plaza in Thorp, where she helped install one of the largest flags in America last Veterans Day.

KAPP-KVEW Local News profiled Saini in 2020. Her family came to the U.S. from India when she was 5. Since then, the family has fostered a deep sense of patriotism.

“My family is an immigrant family and we know the amount of resources, love and opportunities America has to offer,” Saini said. “Truly, anyone can come here and start from the bottom and really go after any dream they aspire to.”

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When Saini was young, she loved to dance and wanted to do it professionally. At 12, she learned she had a congenital heart defect and was told she would never dance again. After receiving surgery to implant a pacemaker, she became a trained ballerina and was accepted to the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.

The beauty queen was also bullied as a child, so she became a motivational speaker and advocate against bullying in order to help young people who share her experiences. At 15, Saini and her family created a non-profit dedicated to advocating and raising money for heart health, mental and emotional health, and other causes.

Saini, who has lived in Ellensburg, Moses Lake and Seattle, studied journalism at the University of Washington, acting at Yale School of Drama, non-profit management at Harvard and social entrepreneurship at Stanford. In college, she was in a rollover crash that badly burned her face; she recovered and went on to win pageants.

Shree Saini “holds the prestigious position of ‘MWA National Beauty with a Purpose Ambassador’, a position she earned by working tirelessly to help those less fortunate and in need.” Miss World America organizers said. “Her work has been recognized by UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, Susan G Komen, and many others.”

Earlier this year, Kittitas County commissioners announced April 21 as “Shree Saini Day” as a way of honoring her community service.

Saini’s family also owns Shree’s Truck Stop in George, which she wrote about in this Instagram post:

In 2005, when I was only 9 years old, my parents started “Shree Investments Incorporated”. This is a parent company where they have all of their different business ventures. They invested in the iconic highway sign “SHREE’S TRUCK STOP”, towering over 1-90 and Gorge amphitheater events like Sasquatch and Watershed. This gigantic sign and their love is the highest honor a girl can ask for <3