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Miss Teen USA Faron Medhi on Authenticity, Representation, and Her Journey to Success

Beauty & Style

June 22, 2023

“Nebraska, you are the winner of Miss Teen USA 2022!”

As the coveted Power of Hope Crown was placed atop her head and her fellow competitors gathered in celebration, these were the words that would change 19-year-old Faron Medhi's life forever.

The Miss Teen USA contest is one of the most prestigious and anticipated pageant events of the calendar year. It is also the competition that Faron Medhi dreamed of winning from a young age.

Finally turning those dreams into a reality has unlocked a multitude of new opportunities for the rising star, and, even now, nine months on from that momentous evening in Reno, it is clear that her amazement, elation, and gratitude are undiminished. “I don’t think it will ever fully sink in,” she tells us, “I am still in awe that I won!”

Photo by Devine Studios

In this interview with The Teen Magazine, the reigning champion discusses the value of authenticity, explains the important role that her friends and family have had on her journey to victory, and reveals more about her ongoing work as the current Miss Teen USA.

Living the Dream

Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Faron Medhi began competing in pageants at the age of nine.

“I loved every second of it,” she recalls. “I made new friends, felt beautiful in my gown, learned skills such as interviewing and public speaking at a young age, and I knew it was a world that I was meant to be involved in.”

Photo by Devine Studios

Soon after her initiation into the pageant world, Medhi started to attend pageant coaching lessons and set out her ambitions of eventually competing in Miss Teen USA and the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) system.

The following ten years of competing in various other pageants and continuing to work towards this goal, is a tale of determination, dedication, and self-growth. “I have walked in [to competitions] over-confident, other times extremely insecure and doubting myself,” she admits, “but each moment in time taught me a lesson. Not only have I grown exceptionally in my confidence, but my mindset. There is so much to be learned from competing, and once I stopped directing all of my attention towards winning the sparkly hat, I took away vital lessons from each pageant.”

Photo by Kristy Belcher

In February 2022, Medhi clinched the title of Miss Nebraska Teen USA, subsequently qualifying for the national event and taking her one step closer to achieving her dream. The preparations intensified: "I would practice walking in my dance studio, practice interview questions every single time I got into the car, and research current events and topics every night."

“I entered with a grateful mindset, to compete with love and pride for my state, to make friends, and embrace the once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she adds.

Fast-forward to last October in Reno, Nevada – where the Miss Teen USA finale was held – and Medhi’s efforts were rewarded. She was (quite literally) living her dream.

Pictured: the moment Faron was crowned Miss Teen USA

Medhi is also keen to highlight how the overwhelmingly positive atmosphere behind the scenes helped to make this special occasion memorable for everyone involved: “I absolutely adore the girls in the 2022 Miss Teen USA class,” she tells us, “To say I met my best friends at the pageant is an understatement. Many people will think that competing together cultivates a harsh and petty environment. However, it was one of the most uplifting, loving, kind, and fun atmospheres I have ever been in.”

“My week with the girls consisted of late-night talks, belly laughs, pep talks, prayers together, fixing each other's outfits/hair/make-up, you name it. It is truly female empowerment.”

Force for Good

After a decade of working towards the national title, you may think this kind of occasion is worthy of an all-out celebration. But not for Faron Medhi. “I celebrated by getting to work!” she exclaims. “I didn’t want to waste a second of the short year I have.”

Photo by Devine Studios

The role of Miss Teen USA comes with many responsibilities, and Medhi has made it her mission to use her platform as a force for good. “I hope in my community work, I am able to inspire those I meet, change lives (even if it is in the smallest way), encourage the youth, and urge those who follow me to get out into their own communities to make a difference.”

One of her most recent pieces of charity work involved a visit to Guatemala with Smile Train – a non-profit organization that provides corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates. Alongside Miss USA Morgan Romano and Miss Universe R’Bonney Nola, the trio met with “inspirational patients” that had benefited from the charity’s work. “We shared stories, laughs, and struggles,” Medhi recounts. “Seeing the impact the organization makes first-hand made me emotional.”

Another way in which Medhi hopes to reinforce her work on social causes is through her children’s book ‘I am ABCs’. The book – which was initially written as a school assignment - features a positive affirmation for every letter of the alphabet. “I made the book with self-confidence in mind,” she reveals, “[I was] hoping to teach the youth how to boost self-esteem, and what better than affirmations to do so!”

Whilst the book was published prior to her pageant victories last year, the role of Miss Teen USA has enabled her to share it with a larger audience: namely via visits to elementary schools, which she says are her “favorite” type of public appearance. “The students ask the funniest questions, say the funniest things, and are so sweet. My favorite thing is when I read my affirmations and see students repeating them with such passion. To see students say ‘I am talented!’ or ‘I am amazing!’ with so much emphasis and feeling means the world to me. I love seeing confidence appear in them.”

Authenticity and Representation

As the national titleholder, Faron believes one of the most important things she can do is to be her authentic self. “I strive to break down barriers on social media one post at a time by showing the people who follow me that I am not perfect, but a normal girl with insecurities,” she says, “Hard work and determination led me to where I am today. I hope to leave a legacy of being relatable so that people can see themselves in me.”

Photo by Devine Studios

Furthermore, not only is Medhi the first competitor from Nebraska to win the national title, but she is also the first Indian American to do so. This representation, she hopes, will be another lasting impact of her Miss Teen USA win. "Showing little girls that can see themselves in me that ethnicity, skin color, and hair texture, cannot and will not hold them back from their goals, dreams, and aspirations is extremely important," she explains.

A Team Effort

“The saying ‘it takes a village’ rings very true to me,” Medhi says of the friends and family who have supported her throughout her pageant journey. “This is not something I would be able to do alone!”

Photo by Kristy Belcher

“My mom is always there to take my photos, help drive me to an appearance, and alter my clothes. My dad is always grabbing candid photos, tagging along to appearances, and making me laugh. My manager, John, helps me book appearances, stay on top of my schedule, and gives me every opportunity he can.

My cousins, aunts, and uncles help book me appearances in schools! My coaches, Jorge, Robin, and Erin, have inspired, encouraged, and mentored me. My makeup artist, Emerie, has been there for all 10 years, guiding me like a big sister. Not to mention all of the girls I have met that I have a true sister-like bond with, and sponsors like Ashley Rene, who helped me make my dream gown.”

Pictured: Faron with her parents

“These are only a few,” she continues. “There are countless people/organizations/sponsors I could name that shaped me into who I am and contributed to my journey. I am so thankful to have such an amazing team of people who support me unconditionally.”

Three Wishes

Lastly, I asked some quick-fire questions about the Nebraskan luminary’s hopes and dreams for the future…

1. Dream career?

Nursing while modeling, owning a boutique or a dance studio on the side. Big goals! [And] Miss Universe. A girl can dream!

Photo by Kristy Belcher

2. Dream collaboration?

There are so many! I would like to work with the most powerful woman in business - ironically, she recently won Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women Award. Her name is Nita Ambani, Director of Reliance Industries and Chairperson of the Reliance Foundation.

3. Dream travel destination?

India! I am going at the end of this month, and I couldn’t be more excited to spend two days with the Smile Train team in Delhi!

Photo by Kristy Belcher

Keep Up With Faron

To stay up to date with all of Faron's work as the reigning Miss Teen USA, be sure to follow @missteenusa and @faronmedhi on Instagram.

Sam Burton
20k+ pageviews

Sam Burton is the Managing Editor of Interviews at The Teen Magazine.