Faron Medhi makes history as the first young lady of Indian descent to capture the Miss Teen USA crown coincidentally during a time when the reigning Miss Universe, Harnaaz Sandhu is from India. Faron's father is Indian and her mother is Caucasian and she studies biology with aims of going into medicine. When it was down to the top 5, I knew that Idaho and Nebraska would be the top 2 but I wasn't sure which of those two would take the crown. Both of these ladies had this glow and were beaming during the preliminaries that they were living out their dream of competing on the Miss Teen USA stage and they were both so happy to do it that you could just sense it when you looked at them! This is the first win for the Cornhusker state following on the heels of a 2018 Miss USA win thanks to Sarah Rose Summers who was also a former Miss Nebraska Teen USA in 2012. Faron graduated from Millard North High School with a 4.1 GPA and is attending GCU in Phoenix, AZ in the fall majoring in Biology on the pre medicine path and she is even a talented dancer and teaches dance specializing in hip-hop and breakdancing! Faron has been competing in pageants since age 9 and modelling since age 12.
2022 Miss Teen USA contestantsThe preliminary judges for both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA preliminaries were: Keylee Sue Sanders-Hemlich (Miss Teen USA 1995), Bob Hartnagel, Tanya Memme (Miss World Canada 1993) who I met years ago and she's really nice, Allan Aponte and Kaliegh Garris (Miss Teen USA 2019). Anita Krpata was added to the panel just for finals only. The hosts for this year's event were Elle Smith-Miss USA 2021 and Christian Murphy who is an fyi personality. Elle was great but Christian somehow didn't really seem in his element and some commented that he would pronounce Massachusetts with too many s's as if he was saying Massssachusssesss... when we all know, the correct pageant way to pronounce Massachusetts is to make rainbow-hands and say, 'Rozanna Iverzen, South Egremont, MaZZachuZettZ' with all Z's instead of S's! Rosanna Iversen was Miss Massachusetts USA 1987 by the way and I loved her fabulous intro during the 1987 Miss USA parade of ztatez. Repeating last year, you may have noticed that some of the delegates were out of order and the reason for that was an incentive to sell ad pages in the program book was to pick the order of where you competed in the preliminaries and Mississippi chose to be shown last in preliminaries but maybe it wasn't such a good thing to go out of order as the delegates that did that at both Teen and Miss USA (Washington and Florida) went unplaced so maybe next year, we will see fewer out of alphabetical order contestants, if any!
In terms of my predictions, I picked 11 of the top 16 plus 1 alternate (Ohio who won the online fan vote) but the 4 ladies I missed were: Michigan, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Iowa. I originally had Wisconsin in my list until preliminaries when I dropped her to next tier level but she and her sister Shreya in the previous year both made the semifinals at Miss Teen USA which is surprisingly a rare feat so good job, Gundelly sisters! Michigan and Hawaii were talked about so they weren't total surprises but Iowa was. My 5 picks that didn't place were: Missouri (who was a former Outstanding Teen and even 4th runner up at Miss America's Outstanding Teen so no idea what happened there), Mississippi (was stunning and chose to go last in the preliminaries and was giving me Aishwarya Rai vibes but she is only 16 so maybe that's what did it), Indiana (was more refreshingly unique and diverse being of Burmese descent but it looks like Hawaii got her spot), Colorado (also stunning and performed really well in preliminaries) and Minnesota (had very vocal fans but looked like she could pull it off). This year's congeniality award went to Nevada-Janae McIntosh. The winner of the fan vote was Ohio-Kylan Darnell. The photogenic award went to North Carolina-Gabby Ortega. The top 3 of the state costume competition were: Oklahoma-Haleigh Hurst, North Carolina-Gabby Ortega and Wisconsin-Sage Gundelly.



Winner=Nebraska-Faron Medhi

Winner=Florida-Alyssa Khan*

1st Runner Up=Idaho-Jenna Beckstrom

1st Runner Up=Arizona-MayaDenise Gaskin*

2nd Runner Up=California-Cassidy Hill

2nd Runner Up=Georgia-Courtney Smith*

3rd Runner Up=Michigan-Isabella Mosqueda

3rd Runner Up=Oklahoma-Haleigh Hurst*

4th Runner Up=Tennessee-McKinley Farese

4th Runner Up=Missouri-Shae Smith



Arizona-MayaDenise Gaskin

Mississippi-McKenzie Cole

Florida-Alyssa Khan

Idaho-Jenna Beckstrom*

Georgia-Courtney Smith

North Carolina-Gabriela Ortega*

Hawaii-Malulani Paiste

Tennessee-McKinley Farese*

Iowa-Marisa Mathson

Nebraska-Faron Medhi*

Kansas-Gracie Hendrickson

Nevada-Janae McIntosh*

Nevada-Janae McIntosh

Indiana-KK Kokonaing

North Carolina-Gabriela Ortega

Colorado-Chloé Fisher

Ohio-Kylan Darnell §

California-Cassidy Hill*

Oklahoma-Haleigh Hurst

Minnesota-Ava Ernst

Wisconsin-Sage Gundelly

Kansas-Gracie Hendrickson*

ALTERNATES: Utah, Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio*, Connecticut


HONORABLE MENTIONS: Texas, Alabama, North Dakota, South Carolina, Maryland

§ = won online vote

* = made actual top 16

After the top 16 were announced, they did their introductory walk and it was on to the fitness wear competition. I liked seeing them in shorts and sports-bras rather than pants and the same style on each girl but the high-waisted shorts weren't really all the flattering. First up was Arizona who was one of my faves. She had the poses down and a great Teen look and was very fit so I was glad to see her place at least. She was followed by Florida who was my pick to win right from when she won her state title and Alyssa is just so beautiful with that incredible curly hair. I think her performance might have come across as a bit low-energy so that's likely why she had to settle for a semifinalist position. Kansas followed and she was Miss Kansas' Outstanding Teen 2021 and won her state pageant on her first try so I knew she was a smart one that would do well in interview so I'm glad I had her in my list. Nevada followed and she won her state title on her first try and she won the Congeniality Award so Janae has that natural charm and she just seems fun. Iowa was the big surprise this year so she must excel in interview with aspirations to become a doctor in the field of dermatology and she wrote a children's book so she must be very animated. Ohio won the online fan vote but she was a worthy semifinalist on her own. I liked her classic, long, blonde hair and she seems to have a sweet demeanor. Georgia was next and even though she is only 16, she has 'star' written all over her. She has also acted in various film and TV roles and aims to study political science and journalism. Wisconsin followed and I could see the appeal in her sweet face but I thought she had a tinier frame and looked really young and might get eliminated but good on the Gundelly sisters for placing two years in a row! North Carolina followed and Gabby was favored by many with her curly hair and great overall look. Hawaii was another one that had an innocent charm about her with her chubby cheeks that I'm sure the judges liked. California stood out her short blonde bob hairstyle reminiscent of Miss America contestants in the 90s but it was a sophisticated look that worked well for her. Michigan followed and she was a surprise to me but she appealed to others. She has plans to be an anesthesiologist so she must have done well in interview but she does have a decent overall look but just didn't stand out to me for whatever reason. Nebraska was next and our winner is a pre-med student hoping to specialize in pediatrics. Idaho was next and was the kind of delegate that we should be seeing more of in these pageants. She lit up the stage with her smile and she does have a great body and her hair tosses were fun so I wouldn't be surprised to see Jenna on the Miss USA very soon and likely doing very well also! Tennessee was next and the Volunteer state traditionally does well at Miss Teen USA so it was no surprise to see McKinley do so well. Finally, Oklahoma looked amazing and it's interesting to note that she placed 3rd runner up at Miss Texas Teen USA 2021 and statehopped since she attends University in Oklahoma but she was certainly a worthy contender as an avid blogger and majors in Public Relations and Political Science. Did you notice that the delegates called in 11th to 15th spots in the semifinals were the top 5? I guess it really helped to be later in the list!

After a gorgeous parade of gowns showing off the vibrant colors of all the contestants' gowns, it was on to the evening gown competition. First up was Arizona in a flowing hot pink number was a jeweled bodice and MayaDenise looked incredible. Florida was up next and her white flowery gown was very angelic and regal and she just looked breathtakingly stunning. Kansas followed in a unique shades-of-purple gown and it was very nice and she carries it confidently. Nevada had a yellow off-shoulder gown with a high-slit in the skirt and it was nice but might have been deemed a bit more Miss than Teen. Iowa followed in a bold cherry-red gown with a puff off-shoulder sleeve on one side and a side-train on the other side and it was different and maybe a bit much but she seemed confident in it. Ohio followed in a white gown also with another asymmetrical gown with ruffles over the breasts and cascading ruffles down on the side-train of the skirt and simple fabric on the other side but this gown was more refreshingly unique and Ohio looked great. Georgia followed in a jeweled orange-red gown with a large orange-red train and this gown was really sensational and was one of the bold standouts in the competition. Wisconsin followed in a velvety maroon gown with a mermaid style side-train and it looked elegant. North Carolina's gown was very Teen appropriate with the pink/white gradients and the ruffled full-skirt. Hawaii's lavender ball-gown with a jewelled bodice was lovely. California followed in a bold flowy orange number and she worked it well. Michigan had a green off-shoulder gown with that fabric I'm not really a fan of on the skirt but I guess it works on stage as I've seen multiple gowns like this in recent years. Nebraska followed and this girl just absolutely glowed in this black cuffneck jewelled-bodice ballgown and her hair up with a few loose curls really complemented the look. That beaming legitimate smile really made this whole look appealing and we would expect nothing less from our winner, Faron. Idaho followed and Jenna was simply mesmerizing in this white feathery-trained gown and she also had that magical beaming smile and she just lit up the stage and looked sensational. Tennessee flowed in a classic white gown with the flowy side-train and finally Oklahoma jewelled blue v-neck gown with the full train was magnificent. There were a lot of really well thought out gowns here.

Top 5With the semifinalists changed into their interview outfits, the top 5 were announced being: California, Tennessee, Michigan, Idaho and Nebraska. Then, it was time for top 5 to face a talk show-like format panel discussion before judges questions were picked. This format was done last year and has been done during Miss America pageants in the 1990s. With Elle moderating, the ladies were asked girl chat questions with the first being what their most used emoji would be in she looked at their phone. Michigan started and said the heart-eyes emoji and that she always heart-eyeing stuff like her boyfriend, her cat, her friends. She likes to hype a girl up. Nebraska chimed in and sounding very natural she said she loved the cat heart-eye and that she was a big cat lover and the cat heart-eye would have to be her favorite. California casually threw in there that she loves the new heart-hands emoji and she's a creative tech major so she's actually working on creating emojis right now so that's a really fun things that she been into recently. I like that California knew to throw in that she not only uses emojis but creates them. Idaho said the star-eye emoji because that had been the week of her dreams (and you could legitimate see that!) If you see her instagram, she has used that emoji in every caption. Sorry, not sorry. They were about to move on but then Elle asked Tennessee if she wanted to go... I consider that some very 4th runner-up behavior right there but she said she was just going to mention the laughing emoji. She's always laughing and typing it out in paragraph form. Elle followed asking what does that emoji tell us about their personality. Tennessee said it tells people that she is fun-loving, outgoing, always laughing and that she can't get serious with anything and she likes to have fun with life and enjoy every second. Michigan said that she is always loving on someone, that she's a caring person and she likes to hype someone up and tell them she loves them. Nebraska said she is a very compassionate person and that cats are a little sassy and she's a little sassy too (echoes of Mississippi Teen 1998 enter my brain) so they have so much personality and she totally relates to cats. Idaho said if anything, it's that she is so grateful and in awe to even be there. That had been a dream of hers for many years and she had stars in her eyes the whole week. California agreed and felt really grateful to be there. It was insane and she was ecstatic and the heart-hand emoji really mirrors the fact that she's really compassionate like Faron said and she's a hugger and she's been hugging all the ladies backstage that entire time. Tennessee vouched about California's hugs. Elle then asked about the ability to recall or delete a text message they already sent. California said that you should speak your mind and once you've said something, it's out there. That's the thing about the internet. You need to think before you post same with think before you speak. Is it respectful? Is it kind? How is someone going to take your message so she doesn't think you should be able to delete text messages or posts after you post them. Nebraska said she thinks it's really easy to hit 'send' before you really think about it. People don't really realize that you can type something up and maybe you're acting on emotion and then you send it and you're like 'Oh my goodness.' Like Cassidy said, it was really perfect. You need to think it through before you answer. Tennessee said it's consequential when you're sending that text message so it's kind of a reminder to be mindful of what you're talking about and be careful because what you put on the internet is out there forever. Michigan said be confident with what you say because it has an effect on people. People have emotions. We're all human. We have things we're going through everyday. You never know what people are going through behind closed doors. Her favorite quote is to never judge a book by its cover. Idaho said it's important to remember your social media is a reflection of you. Your social media footprint. Everything you say, do, like, comment on social media, it's going to stay there forever so it's really important to represent yourself in the best true light. Elle then asked a few love it or leave it questions. The first was regarding OOTD (Outfit of the Day) posts. All of them said they love it and California said she had done an OOTD at least three times a day while at Miss Teen USA. It's being really fun but she thinks fashion is a way you can express yourself and it's really awesome to share who you are with other people through your clothes. She is really passionate about sustainability and has worn sustainable clothes. It's been awesome to post her #OOTD's on Tiktok and share with everyone what she is wearing. Idaho mentioned the fashion inspiration that comes from OOTDs. She's always going on the websites the girls are recommending and she's buying the same exact skirt so she loves it. Michigan loves sharing what she's wearing because she wants other people to be able to wear it and she doesn't care if you wear it and show it off, y'know?? Love it or leave it: professionally styled and instagrammable dorm rooms. Michigan said she loves it and she likes to show it off. California said to leave it and that she was an affordable queen and she likes to ball on a budget so when it comes to professionally styled dorm rooms, she's a college student and she does not have the budget for that but if she did, she might say she loved it. Nebraska said she totally got her inspiration for her dorm room from the Pinterest pictures and the videos on Tiktok and she was like, her dorm room has to be pink and that pink is her favorite color (interesting because she didn't wear any pink during the competition but whatevs...) and she agrees with California about ballin' on a budget so she got stuff at Ross kind of mimicking that professional style. Idaho confessed that her room was a mess and it's nice seeing how other people are living their lives very organized so she appreciates seeing that on social media. Tennessee said she was also an advocate for ballin' on a budget. She's a freshman at the University of Mississippi (Hotty Toddy) and she and her mom were the creative directors behind her dorm room and they had a lot of fun with it and it was affordable and she thinks it turned out pretty awesome so shout out to Mom.

Top 5Finally, the final 5 were asked a judge's question. California picked Tanya Memme who asked, "You're a part of the digital-first generation where the answer to any question can quickly be searched online and answered within seconds so what's something you can't learn online?" California answered, "I don't think that you can learn respect online. I think that respect is something that's taught through your community, through your parents and I've actually talked about this in my interview. I love that respecting someone else not only means that you put yourself in their shoes and you take what they're saying with a grain of salt but even if you disagree with them, you say, 'I respect your opinion. I see where you're coming from.' And that's what's beautiful about this country is that we're able to respect other people that are different and it's awesome that we can learn that from our communities but I don't think that's something that can be learned online. Thank you." That was a great answer from California that she was able to come up with quickly and confidently delivered as well. Tennessee picked Bob Hartnagel who asked, "From influencer-induced overspending to convenience of instant payment apps, there are many ways for teens to financially stumble these days. Why aren't teens learning more about financial literacy?" Tennessee responded after a few looks, "I think that teens aren't learning more about financial literacy because they're not given enough resources to do so. Um, I'm so blessed to be a part of a generation that has access to so many incredible resources right at our fingertips. It's incredible. Um. But I think that we are just simply not taught enough about it and how to utilize those resources. Thank you." This was a challenging question but her answer seemed to be more of a cop-out than finding a solution. Michigan chose Anita Krpata who asked, "Young adults get most of their news from social media yet almost half of them say it's untrustworthy. If it's so unreliable, where should you get your news from?" Michigan answered, "The people around you. I feel the people around you do a lot of research. I love getting research from Tiktok. There are so many news outlets out there that can really help you become more knowledgeable. I'm a very knowledgeable person. I like to know what's going on in this world. You really cannot trust just one news outlet. You have to go to many others and factcheck and realize that not everyone's going to tell the truth. Go to the people around you and see what their opinion is and see what they think. Don't just believe everything you read online." This was a decent answer from the delegate from Michigan. Idaho chose Keylee Sanders-Hemlich who asked, "Just about every teen has access to a smartphone and almost half say that they're constantly on their device. Many experts say this is unhealthy. What are you doing to manage your own digital wellness?" Idaho responded, "First, I like to live in the moment and not always have my phone in my hand and second, I like to turn something on that's called Screen Time and it manages how much time your spending on my(sic) phone and I look back at it and I say, 'I'm spending nine hours a day on my phone?? I spend nine hours a day at school!' and so that was a wake-up call for me to realize that I just need to live in the moment and appreciate what's going on around me instead of always scrolling on Instagram. Thank you." It's answers like these that I almost make me wish we could have crowned two winners (Idaho and Nebraska) because Jenna was very well prepared and expressed herself so eloquently. Finally, Nebraska chose Allan Aponte who asked, "Telephobia is the fear and avoidance of answering phone calls or having a phone conversation and yes, this is a real thing. Why is it easier to send a text message instead of talking on the phone?" Nebraska answered, "Well, in our generation, we have so much access to social media and text messages so we're constantly sending each other...People will sit next to each other and send texts and I think that that's crazy because you should just put your phone down and talk to the person next to you. But for phone calls, it can also be scary because people don't know what to say or they might feel nervous on a phone and I just believe that we need to, as a generation, put our phones down and have more interpersonal conversations. It's so important and in today's world, it's something that's truly, truly needed especially among teens." Another great answer but I think what separated Nebraska and gave her the edge to win over Idaho was that Nebraska had a smidge more natural, conversational delivery of her excellent answers.

Finally, after Breanna Myles said her farewell, we had placements and not runners-up announced this year (as they have recently started doing at Miss World), so Tennessee was 5th place, Michigan was 4th place, California was 3rd place, Idaho was 2nd place and the Cornhusker state, Nebraska claimed its first Miss Teen USA crown thanks to Faron Medhi! And what a great reaction that was. It looks like Faron thought that Jenna won at first what with all this criss-crossing of naming the winner first and the runner-up after which has been done in recent years but when Faron realized she won, she pointed to herself asking if it was her and was in disbelief and after taking her walk, she was swarmed by the other contestants and then emerged to hug her parents. That was a great win to watch.
For the first time ever, we have an all Asian trio of titleholders with the reigning Miss Universe 2021 from India being Harnaaz Sandhu and the new Miss USA 2022, Texas' R'Bonney Gabriel who is half-Filipina on her father's side and Miss Teen USA 2022, Nebraska's Faron Medhi who is half-Indian on her father's side.

Congratulations, Faron Medhi-Miss Teen USA 2022!

The Prethoughts - Miss Teen USA 2022




Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP