Redmond’s Neelam Chahlia was recognized for her empowerment of others, her participation and passion with numerous worthwhile causes, and her commitment to the well being of greater Redmond.
“It’s an honor,” Chahlia said at the Nov. 19 city council meeting during which she was recognized. “Redmond — this is where my heart is. This is the city that welcomed me and embraced me with open arms back in 2008 when I moved from India.”
Chahlia became Mrs. Redmond in April 2018 and on June 15, she won the title of Mrs. Washington America. She competed for the Mrs. America title in Las Vegas in August but did not win.
At the meeting, Mayor John Marchione recognized Chahlia with a city of Redmond pin.
“[She] represented the city of Redmond and state of Washington very well,” Marchione said. “She has an incredible passion for her family and helping others.”
Chahlia is raising awareness on drug abuse among young people through the Victoria Siegel Foundation. She is also working with the top employers in Washington including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Boeing and Starbucks to match employee donations to the foundation. Her goal is to leave a legacy of continued financial support for the organization.
Chahlia is also working on her initiative of having Victory Clubs in all schools throughout the state to reduce drug experimentation in middle and high school students. She initiated Strength in Motherhood, a program to help mothers with difficult pregnancies and she actively volunteers her time at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Chahlia is a member of Redmond Kiwanis and regularly volunteers to help build Redmond and bring the community together.
“It’s a job that pays in gratitude,” Chahlia said. “As Mrs. Washington, I have been able to connect with my community in fun ways and also have this gift to do a lot of hard work for my community through community service. Giving back to my community has given me so much more and my heart is full of gratitude.”
Chahlia made history when she became the first Indian American woman to win the title of Mrs. Washington America. The journey of her life embodies the American dream. Chahlia came to the United States 11 years ago from a small town in India with big dreams and humble beginnings. She said she is living the “American Dream and couldn’t be any happier.”
Chahlia believes that Mrs. Washington America pageant system is empowering to women. It not only helps them to grow and learn, but it gives them a platform to make a difference in their communities.