Miss India New Jersey: Saloni Sawant

What made you want to start competing in pageants and modeling?"My mom actually got me to compete in my first pageant and I could say the same thing about modeling. She was also a model in her time and she thought it would be a good idea for me. I definitely didn't know what I was getting into, but I can say it was an incredible experience that I am forever grateful for. I got to travel to many countries, states, and found the stage confidence I was lacking. I could say I was always a performer through dance, gymnastics, and martial arts demos-but being able to speak about yourself, your views, and meaningful causes was an entirely different experience. It's a sign of active doing."

What is your favorite part of your job?"In regards to modeling, my favorite part after the long rehearsals, drives/flights, hair and makeup sessions, is being on the runway. In that moment, nothing else matters. No one is up there dictating you and honestly-it wouldn't even matter. It is a form of expression and unique style blended into confidence and poise. Being a pageant girl, on the other hand, not only helped me work on my public speaking skills, but also communication skills, because I am interacting with new people every week! Every event, show, hosting, nobel cause, judging, or appearance opportunity I genuinely enjoy working with other people (including the little people that ask me if I'm a princess) because I learn as much from them as they do from my experiences I speak about."

Who is your biggest inspiration?"My mom is my inspiration because she is the most intelligent person I know; her ambition and perseverance makes me want to become a better version of myself. She balanced sports, modeling, and electrical engineering like it was a piece of cake. The secret is to make it seem like it's a piece of cake, but that smile is not only on stage to look pretty-it is full of courage, hard work and determination-a sign of accomplishment."

What do you do in your free time to relax?What's this ''free time'' you speak of? Being a science major definitely gave me a wake up call once I started getting into the tune of college. I was able to get by with skipping months of school for modeling/pageants, participating in 3 sports, dance, and martial arts in high school, but now it was time to set my priorities straight. In my free time, I make it a priority to regroup with the people I love, such as friends and family that may not think they are priority in my busy life. I mean naps are nice, but being with the people that support and love you unconditionally without judgement is the best medicine.

What are your plans for the future?
“My main goal in life really is to inspire and impact people's' lives. Yes, that is a super broad concept, but in reality-it's not that difficult. You can change someone's day by smiling at them, so why not expand that ability? Through my work field, I not only want to aid people physically through medicine, but be a support system and a voice for those who don't have that ability. I want to continue being a mentor, but extend my arm globally, as well. “