Namita S Dodwadkar (center)
Born and brought up in Pune, India, Dodwadkar came to the United States in 2007 for higher education and received MS and Ph.D. degrees from Northeastern University. Currently, she works as a Senior Scientist at Novartis where she focuses on research and development of anti-cancer medicines.
She was crowned Mrs. India Worldwide during the week-long pageant, from Oct. 3rd till Oct 9th. It was held in Royal Alberts Palace, New Jersey, with the evening gown round on Oct. 6th and finale on Sunday, Oct 9th. There were 12 contestants in total for the title.
Here are excerpts from an online interview with Dodwadkar:
INDIA New England News: How many countries represented?
Namita Dodwadkar: Countries that were represented in the Mrs. Category included- Australia, Guayana, India, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Suriname and USA.
INE: How do you feel after getting two titles; First Ever Mrs. India USA and now First Ever Mrs. India Worldwide?
ND: It is an honor and matter of great prestige for me to have won these coveted titles. Feels like I am living a dream. The best part after winning the International title was that I could celebrate the win with my family- Nandish Desai (husband): who has always been very supportive; Shilpa Dodwadkar (mother): who is my inspiration and Rohan Dodwadkar (brother): who had come from India specially to support me for the pageant.
INE: What are your future plans as far as pageants are concerned?
ND: I am a part of Worldwide pageants which provide women a platform at the State level, National level and International level. Even though I have won the International title I plan to stay connected to pageants. I feel that pageantry has given me a chance to express myself and an opportunity to showcase my talent and personality. By being connected to pageantry, I plan to help young girls and married women to pursue their passion by mentoring and guiding them.
INE: Have you explored any modeling or acting career?
ND: After being crowned as the First Ever Mrs. India USA (2014-15), I decided to explore acting and modeling outside of the Indian community. I joined modeling agencies and took acting training. I have done modeling and acting for brands/companies like CVS, Santander Bank, Draper Engg, Baskin Robbins, etc. This year I plan to continue to invest more time in improving my acting skills and pursue more acting opportunities.
INE: Advice to other married women?
ND: Marriage is not an end; it is just a new beginning. All the dreams, passions and ambitions you have before marriage make you who you are! So do not change yourself. With proper time management and prioritizing, you would be able to balance professional and personal life.
INE: Your secret of success?
ND: My secret of success is my optimism. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. When I am working towards a goal, it doesn’t matter if I fail a few times. What matters to me is how I rise from those failures and continue to move forward. Amidst the failures if I can find one ray of hope, that is enough motivation for me to fight again for success.
INE: Since you are from Boston, what is your take on the local Indian community?
ND: I feel fortunate to be a part of the Indian community of New England. I have always found so much love and support from the community and they have been a constant source of encouragement. We have a very close knit community where everyone is willing to help and contribute towards the success of others. Success is seldom achieved without the support of mentors and some amazing people.
INE: Who are some of the people who have helped you in this journey?
ND: I would like to recognize Dharmatma and Neelam Saran, owners of Worldwide pageants, for believing in me and giving me this unique opportunity, Ruchika Arora who has been my mentor and supporter right from my early pageant days and Ruchita Dagli, who designed some stunning Indian outfits for the pageant. Needless to say, my family, in-laws and friends have always stood by me, cheered me and believed in my potential.