April 1, 2008 – 2:51 pm
In between college-campus visits, Senior Prom planning and mid-terms, 18-year old Sana Idnani was able to fit the Miss Teen New York pageant into her scheduled as she was crowned the 2008 Miss Teen New York. Sana Idnani made history on the 25th anniversary of the Miss Teen New York contest as she was the first ever Sindhi crown holder.
Miss Teen New York, a contest which dates back to 1983, has been an important segment in every teenage girl’s life. It is this contest which allows them to move forward to the Miss Teen USA pageant, representing their state on a National level. Sana stands out from the rest of the past Crown holders because she is the first South Asian-Indian to ever have been given this prestigious title.
The first ever Miss USA competition was won by Jackie Loughery, also a New York-native. The first Miss Teen USA contest was also won by a Miss Teen New York, Ruth Zakarian, who eventually paved her path towards Hollywood. Shauna Cambill won the Miss New York USA crown in 1999 and went to win the Miss USA crown at the national pageant and later took part in the Miss Universe contest. With such an extensive list of past winners and their accomplishments, it’s up to Sana to represent her community, as well as, Sindhi culture, on a national level as she competes against 49 other young, intelligent and beautiful girls for the title of Miss Teen USA.
In between shopping at Sephora in Times Square, Sana and I stopped for some coffee and we talked about her road to ‘the crown,’ her Sindhi heritage and much more!
Tirusha: Sana, you’re such a young and beautiful girl! First of all, congrats for being crowned the new Miss Teen New York! That’s quite an accomplishment, and especially being a South Asian-Indian. What was your initial reaction when they called your name as the winner?
Sana Idnani: Thank You Tirusha! When they called my name I was absolutely stunned! I felt as if a weight had just been lifted off my shoulders and that I had achieved my biggest dream.
Was this the first time that you have ever taken part in such a contest?
No, I participated in Miss New York Teen USA last year. I was a runner up, and that is what pursued me to try again.
That’s great! And it totally paid off! So Sana, many say that beauty pageants aren’t always for the “bold and beautiful” and that it’s more for the “risky and dangerous,” because at times they can be so cut-throat. Did you ever feel like that during this conversation?
Pageants can be cut-throat, but when you are participating in a state pageant, you should go in knowing that you will be in the public eye and people will talk.
So tell us about ‘the crown’ itself! Do you have to wear it when you go out to public event, along with the Miss Teen NY sash? Did you wear it to school when you first won the contest?
Yes, I do wear it to events, but I usually just wear my sash. When I first won the contest, I did in fact wear it to school because all my friends were dying to see it! I wish I could wear it every day! I also made the announcement on the School PA system wearing my sash and crown.
That must’ve been fun! Now that you’re Miss Teen NY, you will be taking part in the Miss Teen USA contest. Let’s say you were to win the Miss Teen USA title; do realize that you’re instantly going to become a role model to thousands, maybe, millions of young girls across the country – especially from the South Asian community? Does the idea of becoming a role model at such a young age create more pressure for you? What do you think you can do so that people view you in a more positive limelight?
I do have a lot of pressure on me, but I am also glad that thousands of people will look up to me. It is an honor to be a role model. If I won Miss Teen USA, I would help girls feel more secure about them. Many young girls are so insecure and need to believe in themselves. I would also do whatever I could for my community.
You’re a young and intelligent Sindhi girl. Tell us a little bit about your background? Is your family originally from Sindh?
My parents were born and brought up in Lucknow, India. My grandparents from my mother’s side came from Hyderabad, Sindh and my father’s parents came from Mehar, Sindh.
Were your parents the first from your family to migrate to America? When did they come here?
My father came to New York in 1977 and went back and got married in 1981 and brought my mother to New York.
So, do you speak Sindhi?
No; but my parents do.
What are you, personally trying to do, to keep your South Asian-Indian and Sindhi culture evident in your lifestyle?
We have very big family in New York. We celebrate all the traditional Hindu and Sindhi festivals. My parents were even talking about the Cheti Chand Fair which was being celebrated somewhere in New York. We eat Sai Bhaji frequently. My father is a big fan of Sindhi paper.
So right now you’re in High School. What does your future hold for you? Where do you think you’ll go to college? Do you know what field of study you want to do into?
I would love to be a TV anchor. Recently, I have been taking TV broadcasting classes and they are great! I applied to Syracuse University because it has a wonderful communications program, but I am still deciding on where I want to go.
Do you ever think that you would make modeling a full-time career?
No, I want to stick with becoming a TV anchor and maybe modeling would be a second job. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to model, but I would not choose it as a full-time career.
You and I both know that our parents would rather see our generation as more doctors, lawyers and engineers – not actresses or models. How supportive has your family been throughout the entire Miss Teen New York contest and other such activities?
I am very fortunate to have parents and my sibling who were always supportive of me doing anything that I excel at: be it an artist, singer, media person or actress. My family has a varied background. My father is an Italian Restaurant owner, my mother works for media and entertainment and my brother is a financial analyst. In fact, the first time I entered the pageant, it was my mom who forwarded my picture to the pageant headquarters (her coworkers pushed her to do that). All three of them take time off from their hectic schedule to accompany me to several places (community events, photo-shoots, shopping for the pageant and interview question-answer practice sessions).
So Sana, if you were offered a role in a Bollywood movie, do you think you would put your college-education on hold and enter acting?
At present, my focus is on the Miss Teen USA competition. As for Bollywood, I really do not know as yet.
In between photo-shoots and interviews, how does the new Miss Teen New York like to spend her free time?!
I do community service and volunteer for several charities. I love participating in local fashion shows as well as organizing them for my school. Also, I spend time with friends and family.
Sana, it’s been a wonderful time getting to know you and seeing young South Asians representing the South Asian community on such a large platform. We wish you the best of luck in the Miss Teen USA contest and your future plans. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Thank you Tirusha for this opportunity! I would also like to thank everyone who believed in me and supported me – especially my friends and family. Believe in yourself and you will be able to achieve anything! Thanks!
Courtesy and Thanks: Bravura Artist