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Nina's Skincare Journey

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Former Miss America Returns to Cultural Roots with Skincare

As Miss America, I’ve tried countless beauty products and routines throughout the years. Growing up in a South Asian household, we always had several home remedies for diet, health, and beauty. And although I was born in New York, my grandparents raised me in the small town of Vijayawada, India when I was young. Throughout my formative years, my culture had a huge impact on my approach to health and beauty. Being someone who’s always had an interest in the beauty world, I took to the traditional beauty rituals that my grandmother and mother shared with me from the time I was young; I remember my grandmother applying raw coconut oil in my hair as a deep conditioning treatment and my mother making turmeric masks for me and my sister. As I grew older I began using a variety of other products from scrubs and gels, to serums and toners. The list goes on, but mostly I used them blindly, out of convenience, as I had absolutely no idea what the ingredients were or how safe they were for my skin.

It wasn’t until I was Miss New York that I realized how important natural skin care was; after winning, I had a wonderful skincare sponsor. Free facials and treatments for a year?! Um, YES please! Unfortunately, after my first facial, I had an allergic reaction to some of the products that were used. After a visit to the dermatologist and several prescribed gels and creams later, nothing seemed to be working. Somewhat panicked, I called my Mom (it’s true, Mom’s really do know best), and she suggested I stop layering so many products onto my face, and let my skin breathe for a while. She also recommended I try using a turmeric mask for inflammation—needless to say I listened, and a trip to the Indian store later, I was on my way back to my roots. After a few days of “rest” my skin started to calm down and I slowly started to introduce natural products back into my routine. From that moment, I decided to stop using unfamiliar ingredients. In preparation for Miss America, my new skincare routine consisted only of makeup remover, a gentle cleanser, turmeric, and moisturizer. And for me, it really worked.

I’m sure you can imagine, winning Miss America was a whirlwind of an experience. Between the flights, hotels, and appearances, my skincare routine became increasingly difficult. While I was constantly given several products from sponsors, I had no idea how, and in which order to use them. Does sunscreen go on before or after moisturizer? What’s the difference between a nighttime serum vs. oil? Do I really need under-eye cream in my 20s? The questions were endless (stay tuned for answers in later posts), but I always found myself asking: why isn’t there a simple step-by-step routine? Was a simplified process with reputable ingredients that weren’t going to irritate my skin too much to ask? It was unrealistic to expect myself to make concoctions in my hotel room every night, so I scoured the internet searching for products with these Indian ingredients. I came out empty-handed and frustrated.

When asked about my beauty routine, I would excitingly mention turmeric & neem and all of the great benefits they had, but they were difficult to come by (my mom would buy them at some Indian store miles away from our home). After years of conversations and heightened curiosity from outsiders about how great my skin looked, I knew there was something special and healing about the ingredients I had grown up using. This was the inspiration behind aavrani: to share these very ingredients I’ve used for several years and create a South Asian inspired ritual that I knew was safe, effective, and stood the true test of time.

I’ve always said timing is everything, and it couldn’t be more perfect of a time to launch aavrani alongside a dynamic team! With the beauty industry embracing natural health and wellness practices, it was our goal to deliver best-in-class solutions that amplify natural beauty without the use of harsh chemicals. Moreover, we combined 12 key all-natural ingredients, and tailored them down into an easy, four-step ritual, to deliver a signature skincare routine.

Finally, how could I not elaborate on the name, aavrani? In Hindi, the word “Rani” means Queen. And the core of our mission is female empowerment. Through my advocacy for diversity and encouraging others to embrace their identity, I knew it was important to deliver a skincare product that champions everyone to feel beautiful in their natural skin, regardless of their complexion. And believe me, you don’t need a crown to be a queen! I’m so proud to share the aavrani ritual with you, and I hope you love and enjoy these specially curated products just as much as I do. Be sure to check back here for continued posts and insights on my journey to beauty and health! I invite you all to join our #RaniFam as we #GlowAndConquer together!



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    • wendy li on

      i relate to this a lot! growing up with chinese parents, skincare wasn’t emphasized as much, but i was told to use traditional chinese ingredients to moisturize my face and hands and keep my skin bright and youthful. nina’s story really resonates with me – that story of returning to your roots when you realize that the best skincare out there is right where you started! everyone needs to try out these traditional ingredients, i started using aavrani and its true – time-tested ingredients are just BETTER and more effective!

    • Jacqueline on

      Fascinating to read about the skincare journey of someone with skin as beautiful and flawless as Nina’s! I thoroughly enjoyed this content!

    • cara d on

      i love hearing about people’s skincare journeys, and this one really touched me to the core. its crazy to think that you looked for quality skincare for so long, only to discover that it was right under your nose the entire time! love this so much. extremely inspirational and motivational!

    • sonam on

      Wow, this is so relatable, I’m indian-american first gen and my mom always advocated for NATURAL beauty solutions for hair and skin and its just now in adulthood that i’m realizing the efficacy of these indian ingredients and how lucky i am to know about them firsthand. hope the world can learn about these powerful solutions also

    • Laila on

      second time reading after forwarding to my sister and just wanted to say how much it resonated with both of us. from spending too much on fancy high-end products to returning to the use of homemade formulation we grew up with in the US, this was spot on – felt like we were reading about our very own lives. thank you so much for sharing, nina, and wishing you all the best with this endeavor! just placed an order for two ritual sets – one for me and my sister. cannot wait to try the routine!

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