THE THIRTY-THIRD INSTALLATION OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES
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I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like you to take a little bit of your time to realize how incredible the women around you are.
Especially if you are a woman! I know that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way
1) Please give us an introduction to yourself?
Hi, my name is Chhavi Verg. I am 21 years old and from Edison, NJ. I was born in India and moved to the Edison with my family when I was four years old. I am currently a senior studying marketing at Rutgers University.
2) Who inspires you as a person?
I am inspired by so many people, especially those who have overcome immense obstacles in their lives and careers.
My mother is the first and someone I will look up to always. Aside from her, a few people I admire are Bethany Hamilton, J.K. Rowling, Malala, Abraham Lincoln, and Steve Jobs.
3) Why and how did you start your pageantry career?
I don’t think it was just one thing that led to my participation in pageantry, rather the accumulation of many little things.
I grew up learning dance and performing on stage. I also grew up watching a lot of America’s Next Top Model. From an early age, I knew I loved being in front of people. During my junior year of high school, I got the opportunity to model at a fashion expo at IIFA awards and took it!
I had such a fantastic experience; I wanted to pursue modeling some more!
In my senior year of high school, when I saw an ad for Miss NJ Teen USA, I knew I had to give it a chance. I ended up placing fourth runner-up that year and thought I might even be able to the win the competition some day. The following year, I had aged out of the Teen competition and went on to compete at Miss NJ USA, where I won on my second try.
Long story short, I think my journey into pageantry was motivated by me pursuing something I loved—the thrill of being on stage. The chance to break stereotypes about Indian Americans while being able to make a significant impact on the community made pageantry even more appealing to me.
4) How was the experience during the Miss USA contest?
Competing at Miss USA is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am incredibly grateful to have experienced it!
The days leading up to the competition were intense.
We had photo shoots, appearances at different events, and close to 10-hour long rehearsals. The rest of the time was spent eating, getting ready, working out, and bonding with the other contestants.
I think most days I was running on about 4 hours of sleep; however, I wouldn’t change the experience for a thing.
Miss USA and Las Vegas were amazing!
I remember doing a “Gowns in the Desert” shoot in the Valley of Fire, going to the Blue Man Group show, visiting a gorgeous mansion for a USO event, getting to interact with the Michael Jackson: ONE Cirque du Soleil performers, and making so many new friends.
5) What inspired you to study business in college and why did you decide to create a health and fitness company?
Getting ready for Miss NJ USA involved spending a lot of time working on my fitness and wellbeing, not only physically, but also mentally
Getting in shape for the pageant opened my eyes to how amazing the human body is. Before I won the competition, I decided to get my personal training certification and wanted to start an online training program to help others reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
The pageant put that on hold for a bit, but hopefully, I can still make it happen in the future.
I’m not sure what exactly made me pursue business in college. You’ll never believe it, but growing up, I wanted to be an astronaut! That changed around 7th grade when I discovered my love for traveling and learning new languages as well as my desire to make a positive impact on the world. For most of high school, I felt that being a diplomat was more fitting and decided I’d be pursuing international law in college.
I’m not sure when that changed again, but by my senior year, I decided studying business would be best because I could apply the skills I’d learn at business school to many other areas of my interest.
My parents had also started their own business around that time, and I felt that going to business school would better enable me to help them out.
6) What do you feel has been a highlight in your career?
This question is one I don’t know how to answer. I feel like my career is just starting out, with the most recent highlight being winning Miss NJ USA. I know there is still a long way for me to go, so maybe I’ll be able to answer this question better a few years from now!
7) You describe yourself as a lifelong learner on Instagram, how do you achieve this on your terms?
I love this question! It amazes me how big our world is and how much there is to learn, experience, and explore. I am also very into personal development and feel that is where my confidence comes from.
For me, being a life-long learner means continuously exposing myself to different places, people, cultures, skills, and ideas; making sure that each day, I am a little “better” than I was the day before.
Aside from studying marketing at school, I am currently trying to develop my acting, photography, and language skills.
8) Any advice for WOC who want to participate in pageantry competitions?
The best advice is to take the first step and go for it! I think getting over the fear of putting yourself out there is the most challenging thing for many people. Growing up, I never imagined competing in a beauty pageant, let alone winning one. I just decided to take a chance and am so glad I did.
Regarding doing well, confidence is key. When I was competing, I asked former Miss NJ USA winners what advice they had for me, and they all said, “Be yourself.” At the time, I didn’t know what that meant, but I couldn’t agree with it more now.
To be yourself, you need to know yourself. This includes being clear on your values, likes/dislikes, thoughts, personal goals, emotions, and regularly checking in with yourself.
Having a good understanding of yourself and becoming more self-aware is crucial to developing your confidence. It allows you to feel good about yourself and that shows, in pageants and outside of them.
9) What would be your advice for women who are shy/feel insecure to go to the gym?
I have been there! When I first started out, I was scared to work out on anything other than the treadmill because I didn’t know what I was doing.
It can pretty intimidating to start going to the gym, but once you become more acquainted, it becomes ADDICTING!
What helped me become more comfortable with going to the gym was joining an online fitness training group. I had a daily workout plan, videos on the proper form for each exercise, an online accountability group with other ladies in the same boat, and a fantastic fitness/lifestyle coach. It was one of the most empowering experiences of my life!
10) What are your aspirations for the future?
I have many interests and things I hope to accomplish! At the moment, I am interested in exploring and developing my relationship with the camera.
My experience with pageantry helped me realize that I love being in front of the camera and hope to do more with that once I graduate college. In addition to that, I have always wanted to run my own business.
I hope to grow my parents’ business and start one of my own in the future. No one can say what the future holds and what may happen along the way, but I have a very optimistic outlook on it!