Full Name: Adishree Nayak
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Favorite Color: Mauve
My passions lie in the arts, specifically dancing, writing, and painting. I have been trained in Odissi, hip hop, contemporary, and ballet and have been dancing for about thirteen years now. I recently created my own Bollywood fusion troupe, Jazba DC, and we perform at college events, nursing homes, and cultural festivals throughout the DMV. I also teach dance to younger children and adults, which allows me to brushing up on my dancing as well. I am a writer for the online South Asian magazine, Aerogram, where I am able to express my creativity and also learn more and connect to my culture. I love to run races with my friend during the year — 2018 is our 5th year anniversary of running Pike’s Peek. I also love reading and learning about gender and cultural issues (currently reading Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road). I am a novice—a very generous term—at painting, cooking, and Krav Maga.
What are you doing presently?
I am currently working at Prince George’s Hospital and Brookdale Senior Living Center as a volunteer. I will be starting my senior year at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland this fall, and I am in the process of the dreaded college applications. I am also performing with my dance troupe at local events, and I am training for races throughout the year (fingers crossed a half marathon!) with my friend.
What are your future plans?
What are your future plans? I will be attending university in the fall of 2018 and hope to gain a lot of exposure about the world. I want to take lots of fun and interesting classes, especially in the Humanities. After earning my Bachelor’s degree, I would like to take a year off to volunteer in Orissa and work women’s health. Then I plan to attend medical school.
Why do you want to participate in the pageant?
I think people have this completely distorted idea of pageants. When people think of pageants, they think of superficiality: the best body, longest legs, and prettiest face. While that may have been true before, the objectification of women’s bodies is slowly (very slowly) lessening. Miss India DC allows us to embrace our physical beauty, but more importantly it allows us to embrace our personalities, our intelligence, and our culture. The cultural aspect is very important to me as an Indian American, as I, like most people here, have struggled deeply with cultural identity. Miss India DC also breaks stereotypes of mainstream beauty, which I have also struggled with. I am now able to celebrate the features that were once looked down upon.
Talent you plan to do for pageant (Please include song name if doing a dance, this can be changed later):
A fusion dance
What 3 words sum you up?
Feminist – My collection of articles, shirts, and speeches about feminism is endless. It’s something I am very passionate about and is such a huge part of my identity. Equal rights for women and all minority groups is what I strive towards every day. I always correct people when they say “You’re running like a girl!” It’s engrained in us, and that’s something we have to change.
Foodie – I LOVE food. Everyone says that, but seriously I do. I will give up shoe shopping for six months just to spend my money on trying new places to eat. I’m always on Yelp.
Fierce – “And though she be but little, she is fierce.”
What is an interesting fact about you that not many know?
I am very superstitious. I won’t get rid of, let’s say, my math worksheets from Chapter 13 until after I’ve taken the Chapter 13 test. I also really like licorice. I feel like everyone hates on licorice a lot, but I love it.
If you were a super hero, what would your super power be?
I would want to read people’s minds. It would be really interesting to see the thoughts surrounding everyone’s brains and to see unique viewpoints; I could learn about the world in new ways.
If you could take three things to a deserted island what would they be and why?
I would take a Nook, so I can have a near endless supply of books, my favorite blanket because I get cold VERY easily and also to remind me of home, and soap because I have to stay clean!
Most embarrassing moment:
During sixth or seventh grade, I tripped over my pants and fell backwards onstage. Whenever you make a mistake you are supposed to keep going and act like it never happened. I continued dancing, but for the life of me, I just could not keep a straight face, especially after seeing my friend hysterically laughing in the front row. It’s still on tape in my dance academy’s performance collection.
Senator Kamala Harris is probably my biggest inspiration. I look up to her as a woman of color (the first Indian American to serve in the Senate). The work she has done is absolutely amazing, and personally I think she should run for office. It’s really nice to see a woman of South Asian descent in our legislative body, where we really lack diversity. Also, my parents are huge inspirations in my life, as well as my maternal grandfather. They all worked so hard to come to this country and give the next generations so many opportunities.
My biggest nightmare would definitely have to be losing of a loved one. I get chills just thinking about it.
If you knew today was your last day on Earth, how would you spend it?
I would spend the day with my family and closest friends trying all the foods I have ever wanted to try (I said I was a foodie!)
Best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten:
Your faith must be greater than your fear.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?
Open Text: (Ask people to come support you):
Please come out and support me and my fellow contestants at this incredible and empowering event!