Hello! My name is Rayna Patel and I am Miss Yorba Linda 2018. I am so excited to have the opportunity to serve my hometown this year, and support my community in every way possible. I am currently 17 years old and a second semester senior at Valencia High School. Throughout my four years of high school, a lot has changed in my life but one thing has always stayed constant: my passion for Bollywood Dance. I have been doing Bollywood Dance for 12 years now, and my love for this unique dance style grows more everyday. Bollywood comes from the combination of two things: Bombay and Hollywood. It includes the unique, cultural texture of India’s classical and folk dances with elements of jazz, hip hop, Arabic, and Latin forms. I love Bollywood because while it so cultural, it is also very diverse and includes many other dance forms. No matter one’s ethnicity, gender, or age, everyone can connect through Bollywood Dance! It is a true gift to be able to have something that can incorporate all kinds of people.
Bollywood Dance has always been my escape from reality; I feel like my true personality and passion is shown through each of my performances. Especially in today’s generation, it is so easy for one to lose touch with their roots and background; but Bollywood has been my constant reminder of my culture and religion. Dancing at the largest Bollywood school in the nation brought not only the gift of dance and cultural appreciation- but also many life long skills, such as cooperation, dedication, time-management, compassion, and perseverance. I truly would not be who I am today if it weren’t for Bollywood Dance!
At our dance school, we teach dance. But we wanted to do more than that! So, we launched the NDM Bollywood Outreach Program, a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire, connect and empower our students through community service! NDMBOP works to inspire active volunteerism in both local and global communities. We engage students through our philosophy to “Live, Love, Dance, and Serve” our community needs and to provide our students a voice through more than just their dancing capabilities. I am so grateful to be a part of the Student Body this year and have an active role as Secretary! Some events we’ve done include teaching Bollywood Dance to senior citizens, make sleeping mats for homeless veterans, beach clean-ups, teaching the Hindu culture and dance form to children with special needs, and more! I hold this program so close to my heart because it combines two of my favorite things: Bollywood and Service. I’m ecstatic that we found a way to express Bollywood dance while also giving back to the community.
I am so excited to be able to share my love for Bollywood on the Miss California stage for my Talent! Through my piece, you will see the true beauty the Indian culture embodies, and my modern yet classical take on it. I’m so excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity to compete for the title of Miss California, and I cannot wait to represent my hometown in June! I am honored to be Miss Yorba Linda 2018, and I cannot wait for what’s to come this year, and the plans I will manifest. Follow @missyorbalinda on Instagram to keep up with my journey throughout the year!