Once and for all, Shriya Boppana answers the age old question, what came first, the platform or the pageant? The pageant industry is undergoing reconstruction, valuing mind and matter alongside walk and poise, as Boppana exemplifies.
The Miss India America 2020 winner uses her voice to advocate against gender-based violence, child sexual assault, and sex trafficking. Boppana has continuously used the same slogan, “a Voice for the Voiceless” as the driving force behind why she joined the beauty world in the first place. Stating in an interview with Carnegie Mellon University, her Alma Mater, that “it was a [unique] way to promote a cause that was close to her heart.” The gowns and crowns were a surprising bonus for Boppana, who bagged the national title without any prior coaching or experience.
Boppana didn't walk a stage again until 2022, but throughout that time, she was speaking out, advocating, and creating awareness about sensitive gender and sexual rights issues. Boppana, who recently became Miss Earth DC 1st Runner up, has an impressive resume of non-profit organizations supporting her causes. Her ever-growing list includes popular names like the US Department of Justice, The UN Foundation’s Girl Up, She's the First, the Obama Foundation, and Malala Fund. TedX has hosted her talk ‘Media Perpetuation of Gender Imbalance’ and Project for Awesome in 2022 showcased Boppana as the featured rep for She’s the First speaking on the ‘Power of Youth.’
Her impact clearly didn’t go unrecognized. Featured on ABC as a ‘Future Leader of America,’ Boppana revealed that she held a record 4000 hours of community service by the time she received her Bachelor's degree. Boppana received a personal letter of appreciation from Virginia Senator, Mark Warner, as a result of her reign as Miss India America 2020. Her opinions on topics like the death penalty and post-covid higher education are regularly published in the Wall Street Journal as a thought leader. Organizations like She’s the First and the Malala Fund have named Shriya as a Youth Ambassador and featured her immigration story on their social media, respectively. As a digital and social creator, Boppana has turned her focus away from herself even in moments of spotlight by utilizing her platform to work with top-tier brands such as Amazon Prime, Bumble, Handshake, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Adobe, Tangle Teezer, Dr.Jart+, Neutrogena, Laneige, La Mer, and Prada, among others.
As a rule, social media has become increasingly important in the pageant industry as a deciding factor for crowning. Boppana, spearheading this trend, posts about her experience being an Instagram microinfluencer to her LinkedIn. She reveals in her posts that her content contracts are worth thousands and she has her many brands to thank for their faith in her and her creativity. Filled with hints of her rich Indian heritage, Boppana’s social media showcases her lifestyle, advocacy, and roots.
But she doesn’t create full-time. A simple LinkedIn search reveals that Boppana is a consulting analyst at Accenture who, surprisingly, amidst pageantry and a full-time career, is also a successful entrepreneur. She is a partner of Liveplex, a Web3 transformation company, where she produces content for their radio show and press brand, Desis.live. Highlighting themselves as the first ever South-Asian-owned press in North America, Desis.Livecovers the latest news and reviews of hit American-fusion media, partnering with Indian American filmmakers like Sujata Day and Bollywood stars like Bobby Deol.
What has Boppana been up to lately? She is rumored to be competing in the Miss Supranational USA pageant this year, according to her Pageant Planet profile. There is no surprise in this news since she was nominated in four of the five contestant categories at the 2023 Best in Pageantry Awards. Boppana’s strength? She is excellent at public speaking. It is a rarity to be awarded two high-point interview awards, perfect scores from all judges, which Boppana holds for her performances in Miss India America 2020 and Miss Earth DC 2022.
We sat down with Boppana to ask her when she will return to the pageant stage. She states she is, “always committed to using [her] platform to inspire and empower young women to chase their dreams and prove that there is no limit to what they can accomplish. Well-rounded individuals are what we should all aspire to be.” Super fans are already speculating her use of “inspire and aspire” terminology to be proof that we can expect to see her at Miss Supranational USA; surely, a fan favorite.
A true advocate for important causes and a role model for young women, Shriya Boppana is challenging the stereotype of one-dimensional beauty queens bringing about a new generation beauty pageant champion.