Indian American girl to represent Washington in US pageant

Indian-American Priya Gopal-Walker, a survivor of child abuse, will represent Washington in the 2015 Miss Teen USA Pageant to be held in Bahamas.

Gopal-Walker, 17, will compete with contestants from all over from the US at the pageant on August 21-22. She made her entry to the pageant after winning the Miss Washington Teen USA crown, India West portal reported.

Gopal-Walker, who is of half Indian and half American heritage, is a student at the Academy of Arts and Sciences in Seattle.

She was to compete in 2012, but had to pull out of the competition as she was facing physical and emotional abuse, the report said.

The beauty queen said she would like to use her title to spread awareness on domestic violence.

“I knew I needed time to emotionally heal from what I had gone through,” Gopal-Walker was quoted as saying by the portal.

“Taking the time to get my life restored, I believe, is part of the reason I won this year. I have a strong message of hope for those children who may feel there is no hope or way to get out of their fearful situation,” she said.

“I now live with foster parents who love me as though I am their own,” Gopal-Walker added.