Oct. 23, 2020—15-year-old Nitya Kodali has been crowned the world’s first Miss Teen Telugu Universe 2020. The international pageant consisted of finalists from more than 40 countries including India, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Dubai, and the United Kingdom, as the cultural event took place in collaboration with more than 100 organizations and 18,000 participants.

A jury panel declared Kodali the winner and she was officially crowned Oct. 3. The pageant’s vision and goal is to nurture, promote and advance Telugu culture in young women across the world. It consisted of multiple rounds, including Telugu speaking, question and answer, and talent. Kodali was among 22 finalists chosen from more than 700 semifinalists to compete in the grand finals representing her Indian Telugu community despite being one of the pageant’s youngest contestants at 15 years old.

“I was in complete shock when they announced my name at the pageant,” Kodali said. “This was my first time competing in a pageant and it is honestly a dream come true to be honored with such a prestigious title. My journey to the crown has certainly been unforgettable and required lots of hard work.”

Nitya has added more successful pageant experience, winning titles of Miss Yuvarani USA and Miss International Congeniality following the initial crown.

Kodali actively participates in HOSA – Future Health Professionals and Science Olympiad as an executive board member. She volunteers at Houston’s local Telugu school as a teacher to help promote her language and culture.

In addition, she is the founder, director and CEO of Letters & Love, a student-led volunteer organization dedicated to spreading positivity across the world through letters.

In her free time, she pursues her passion for dance as a classical Bharatanatyam dancer and a member of the Houston Bollywood dance team.

“Pageants are a wonderful opportunity for self-development and confidence,” Kodali said. “You meet wonderful people along the way and truly foster beautiful connections. Telugu culture has always been a strong part of my identity and I am immensely grateful to represent the Telugu community across the globe as the world’s first-ever Miss Teen Telugu Universe.”