Rutgers student named Miss New Jersey USA 2017
Two years ago, a high school senior read a newsletter which inspired her to begin competing in pageants. Now, she wears the crown and sash of Miss New Jersey USA 2017.
It took Chhavi Verg three pageants to achieve her dream of winning the title, though she had been dreaming of it since she was a junior or senior in high school.
“If I can do this, anyone else can,” she said. “It’s all about determination, grit and never losing faith in yourself.”
The Rutgers Business School sophomore decided to enter the competition because she was already involved with modeling, and competed in Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2015. She said winning was important to her mainly because she saw it as a way to empower, lead and inspire others.
“I always felt that competing in pageants gave you a lot of exposure,” she said. “Winning would give you a voice to bring about change because of the following you’d have as a result of being a titleholder.”
Verg attributes her victory to preparation.
“There is a quote I learned in one of my classes at Rutgers Business School: the five P’s are Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. So there were many layers to preparing,” she said.
She prepared both physically and mentally for the contest by dieting and working out at a gym. Mental preparation took some effort as well, she said.
“This was the hardest, but most valuable of prep. I really spent a lot of time this year getting to know myself, reflecting on my strengths and weakness, and figuring out my mission in life,” Verg said. “Especially why I wanted to win and how I wanted to make a difference in the world.”
She plans to use her title this year to help causes she is passionate about, including women’s education and stopping child abuse.
“I am a huge proponent of women’s education and equality so I really would like to do appearances and talks about that,” she said.
Verg researched charities which will help girls in developing countries receive an education and help women in these countries become financially independent. Verg is looking for ways to raise money to help these women.
She also wants to spend time helping people to embrace a healthier lifestyle, both in a mental and physical sense.
Verg already has plans for her next competition: Miss USA, which she will compete in next summer.
She said before she becomes Miss USA, she wants to keep learning and growing in different ways.
To make life worthwhile, Verg said it important to keep learning whether life is about a skill, hobby or change of perspective.
“By the time I’m at Miss USA, I want to be able to look back and be proud of all the new experiences and opportunities I was exposed to as Miss New Jersey USA and be a better person than I am at this moment because of them,” she said.
During pageants, Verg said she stays true to herself because she sees the competition more as her competing with herself than a competition between her and the other contestants.
“(I try) to be a better person than I was the day before. I use this same philosophy in my life as well,” she said.
Although Verg has been competing in pageants since high school, she said she is still working on her time management skills.
“I’m actually still in the process of figuring out how to balance everything out and what the best option would be for me as a full-time student, (Rutgers University Programming Association) council member and Miss New Jersey USA,” Verg said.
Verg said she would not be where she is today nor the woman she is today without her biggest supporters: her family and friends.
“They are my biggest cheerleaders and constantly encouraging me to keep chasing after my dreams,” she said.
After her run in pageants, Verg said she has a couple things in mind in the future.
“I would love to run my own business in either the health/fitness or beauty industry,” she said. “I have always dreamed of becoming an ambassador to help influence policy for the greater good of humanity.”
Sophie Nieto-Munoz is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and Italian. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. You can find her on Twitter @snietomunoz for more.