SEAster UmaSofia Srivastava Crowned Miss NJ Teen USA! (2024)

Chengli Payton '25
March 30, 2023

“The most important thing you have is time.” This quote from AOSE’s very own UmaSofia, Miss Teen New Jersey USA, displays why she is a pageant winner. Her diplomacy, level of responsibility, and grace throughout her pageant journey are more than impressive.

Although Uma only started her journey in pageantry last year, she is wise beyond her years. Uma thanks her coach, Gina Mellish, for “helping me discover parts of me that I couldn’t articulate into words.” In our interview, Uma reflected on her beginnings in pageantry as reserved and unconfident, and just how quickly pageantry became important to her individual growth, as well as an incredible platform for empowering others. If you are unfamiliar with the Miss New Jersey Teen USA program, I highly recommend learning more about the incredible things that past recipients have done. This program uplifts girls through public speaking and female empowerment–not altogether dissimilar from the ideals that AOSE embodies.

The pageant was truly the stuff of dreams. The event, held at the Hilton Parsippany on March 19th, was like no other. The contestants shone in lovely formal evening gowns and stunned in black athletic wear. Uma described the fashions, “In New Jersey, at least, there’s usually a theme for the top five.” By chance, all the top five contestants stunned in a hue of pinks and reds. Coincidentally, the Pantone Color of The Year 2023 was Viva Magenta!

As the event went on, the nerves increased, but all the girls had the same bright smile. Narrowing from seventeen semi-finalists to five finalists, Uma was impressively calm. Uma, along with four other finalists, was required to answer a random question. The judges asked, “How has failure ever helped you in your achievements?” She answered, calling on her experience as the pageant’s first runner-up in 2022, her mixed heritage, and her experience with adversity. Uma kept a bright smile, as she answered with innate grace and diplomacy. This was not a question that anyone would find easy to answer, yet she and the other contestants were calm, collected, and utterly well-spoken. Uma was thoughtful, humble, and dedicated to the entirety of her response. Uma said, “There were three main things I wanted to say. First, is my charity, the Lotus Petal Foundation. Second, is my background. Third, is what I’d do if I was Miss NJ Teen USA.” Uma later shared in her interview that she, “focused on myself, not those who I was competing with.”

Finally, the night was coming to an end. The runner-ups were called, and UmaSofia along with one last contestant, Julia Carrano, were left. The first runner-up was called, leaving no other person but the winner. And there you have it, Julia Carrano was first-runner up. Celebratory screams reverberated through the audience, contestants clapped and cheered, and there was not a dry eye in the house if it’s not too cliche to say.

In my interview with Uma, she shared a quote from Derby Chukwudi, Miss New Jersey USA 2023: “Pageantry is a place where you put your all out on stage. People can tell if your energy is wrong.” Remember that while the judges look for contestants who are confident and accomplished, bragging or acting insincere is not what pageantry stands for. So, throughout the event and beyond, Uma was poised and heartfelt.

Uma described that experience, “The most important thing I’ve learned is to be yourself. Even though it’s corny, it is so true. I changed my mindset this year. The other girls aren’t your competition. You are essentially competing against yourself.” While Uma has achieved a very high award, she plans to keep furthering herself. This is just the beginning of Uma’s reign as Miss Teen New Jersey USA. Uma plans to do extensive charity work and volunteering. In May, she will give a talk about diversity, celebrating both her cultures by wearing a traditional Mexican gown and henna. She hopes to go on to win Miss Teen USA. Through all of these exciting opportunities, Uma is not going to lose sight of the things that matter to her. She will continue to be a strong student at AOSE, spend lots of time with family and friends, and write on her blog, Fan Behavior. Uma concluded, “I want to leave a legacy of hard work.” We could not be prouder of our SEAster and her life-changing accomplishment.

SEAster UmaSofia Srivastava Crowned Miss NJ Teen USA! (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 5783

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-12-23

Address: 4653 O'Kon Hill, Lake Juanstad, AR 65469

Phone: +494124489301

Job: Marketing Representative

Hobby: Reading, Ice skating, Foraging, BASE jumping, Hiking, Skateboarding, Kayaking

Introduction: My name is Cheryll Lueilwitz, I am a sparkling, clean, super, lucky, joyous, outstanding, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.