Indian American Business Analyst Crowned Miss Silicon Valley 2017
Express News Global
Published: January 19, 2017
The judges asked her: “What is the legacy President Obama will leave behind?” “Hope; President Obama brought hope to millions of citizens,” she answered. And with that Sabina Chaudhuri, a confident, friendly, beautiful and talented 23-year-old emerged from the crowd of beauty queens to become the first Indian American to claim the title of Miss Silicon Valley 2017.
At the Jan. 9 contest held at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts in Santa Clara, Calif., the Pleasanton native walked away with the title and a scholarship of $2,500. The competition, which spanned across two days – during which Chaudhuri also won Miss Congeniality and the top interview round – judged the contestants on the following criteria: talent, private interview, lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit; on-stage question, and evening wear.
Brimming with excitement, Chaudhuri told India-West that winning the crown has sparked a flurry of emotions, most of all of bewilderment and pride.
The Miss Santa Clara Organization hosts the Miss Santa Clara, Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen and Miss Silicon Valley titles. The Miss Silicon Valley competition is open to young women between the ages of 17-24, who live, work or go to school in Santa Clara County. The competition is an official preliminary competition to the Miss California and Miss America organizations.
Chaudhuri, a gifted musician who showed off her impressive piano skills at the contest, performing Mozart’s “Ronda Alla Turca” (revised), will go on to compete at the Miss California Pageant, which will be held in June in Fresno, Calif.
Through her year of service, Chaudhuri will attend various community events where she will do everything from being the keynote speaker to helping raise money and awareness for various causes. But the cause closest to her heart is women’s empowerment.
To help further her goal of promoting and getting more women in leadership roles, Chaudhuri is also associated with Miss CEO, an organization that offers programs targeted towards women’s leadership development needs. She serves as the director of the Miss CEO ambassador program.
“At Miss CEO, I see every day young women who see the hope that Obama brings and it helps empower them to take these risks and take those next steps. I wish the next president would be able to follow this legacy as well,” Chaudhuri told India-West, recalling her winning answer at the pageant.
Chaudhuri’s love affair with beauty pageants began almost a year ago. She made her debut with a pageant hosted by Women’s Now TV, where she was the second runner-up, which led to a hosting position with the local channel.
“I thought if I don’t do something now, if I don’t try, I am never going to accomplish it since there are age restrictions,” she noted.
She stated that that’s when she reaffirmed her belief that she can achieve her goals. “I told myself, ‘I am going to compete competitively and I am going to win. So I was able to get back into shape and started working around what I was most passionate about.”
When not involved with pageants, Chaudhuri, a University of California-Davis graduate, is a business systems analyst at Cisco, where she uses data to help drive strategic business decisions. She is also involved with Cisco’s Early Career Network, where she plans development events and helps to provide tools and resources for others who start early in their careers.
Chaudhuri majored in managerial economics with a minor in education. During her time in college, she was involved with various organizations and student start-ups, including a stint at Intel, CBS Radio, Alpha Kappa Psi-Business Fraternity, UN Women-San Francisco, and Morgan Stanley, among others. She was also a manager of the UC Davis Club Finance Council where she helped redesign their end to end process.
On why she picked beauty pageants to drive her point, Chaudhuri said, “It was a different way to express about passion. I am very passionate about helping other women within the community, helping them raise their voice, create leadership skills.”
Growing up in an Indian American household, she stressed that sometimes society puts certain “restrictions on how women can do certain things.”
“For me, it was finding about who I was, being able to create a voice for myself that resonated with everyone around me,” Chaudhuri told India-West.
Her advice for someone aspiring to follow in her footsteps: “When you apply for a local pageant, you have to be very clear about your platform, what you are most passionate about, what is it that you and the story that you tell. It really helped me define and focus on what I was truly passionate about,” she noted.
Even though the crown for this year is now hers, she recalled her nervousness during the pageant. “I was nervous until I stepped into the light. But once I was there you could see my confidence. I just reminded myself why I was there and what I stood for which helped me stay on stage.”
Chaudhuri, who said she found firm support from her family and her twin brother, admires women who are not afraid to take risks and be themselves. “We are all in a place where we try to be someone else, try to conform to all the pressures that society wants us to be,” she said. “When a woman is confident, takes risks, and is able to raise her voice for what she stands for, that is when her true beauty will shine.”