Tonight, Miss California 2017, India Williams, will be competing for the title of Miss USA.
India is 20-year-old a college student who spends her time volunteering for non-profit organizations when she isn’t busy training for Miss USA. If she wins the title tonight, she’ll move on to represent the United States at the Miss Universe 2017 competition.
Read on to learn more about India Williams.
1. She Competed on Season 22 of ‘America’s Next Top Model’
Williams is originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, but now lives in Santa Monica. She was a contestant on Cycle 22 of America’s Next Top Model, but unfortunately, was cut in the first episode.
India’s first pageant was in 2013– she describes it as a very small pageant that led to a national competition in Orlando. “After winning the title of Miss Oakland/San Jose and placing first runner up at the national pageant, I felt confident enough to make the transition to a much larger pageant system. I competed for the title of Miss California Teen USA in both 2014 and 2015. In the end, I actually never placed as a finalist in the [Miss] Teen division, so after taking a year off to grow and mature, I decided competing for the title of Miss California USA would be a better opportunity for me.”
India went on to represent Santa Monica in the Miss California USA preliminary pageant, and eventually, she took home the crown. She cites her most memorable experience as traveling to Austin, Texas, where she helped military families find their perfect prom dress.
2. She Is Studying Business Entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount
Williams grew up in the Bay area, and is currently pursuing a degree in business entrepreneurship from Loyola Marymount University in LA, where she has been on the Dean’s list. After college, she hopes to attend law school and concentrate on intellectual property rights. India tells the East Bay Times, “The great thing about the Bay Area is that it’s very open-minded. People have ambitions, and with Silicon Valley there, business and entrepreneurship is a huge part of the climate.”
In her spare time, Williams volunteers for a program called The Incubator School, an organization that aims to increase the number of bone marrow donors of mixed race. Speaking about the non-profit, India says, “My mother and father are African American. I started thinking of if I had a blood related cancer and how I would be kept alive if there were shortages. I signed up to be a bone marrow donor.”
She also works with The Samburu Project, which provides safe drinking water to families in Kenya.
3. She Was Over Six Feet Tall in Middle School
Williams was over 6-feet tall in middle school. In an interview with the East Bay Times, her mother, Sandra, said, “She’s always stood out and led… As a middle school child over 6 feet tall, it was awkward, but now, she’s a radiant woman.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Loyolan in February, India said the toughest part of the Miss USA pageant is the onstage question. “I happened to get two political onstage questions that I thankfully felt very comfortable answering due to plenty of practice. Without the necessary preparation I would have felt very nervous during that portion of the competition, but thankfully I felt incredibly confident onstage.”
4. She Has Been Learning Mandarin for Five Years
Williams has been learning Mandarin for the past five years.
When she isn’t busy prepping for pageants, she enjoys soaking up the sunny weather and spending time with friends in the LA area. She acknowledges, however, that there isn’t much downtime. India has developed a detailed schedule that allows her to balance school and pageants, and this has inadvertently helped with her organization skills!
5. Her Parents Run a Haircare Company
Williams’ parents, Charles and Sandra, run a haircare company in Mission Viejo, California, where they develop and patent products. India tells the East Bay Times:
I learned as a child that successful careers come from hard work. My father has started two companies successfully, with only a high school diploma and no formal college experience… Education has always been a major part of my plans.
Asked by the Los Angeles Loyolan what her biggest life goals are, India says, “After graduation, I plan on either attending law school to study contract law or obtain[ing] an MBA. Education has always been very important to me, so I definitely have a goal of pursuing some form of higher education. In general, I just hope to be doing something in my future that feels rewarding and something I can truly say I love.”