Reet Sahu is passionate about arts, photography and empowering the girl child through education. After winning the 1st runner up title at Mrs India International 2012, she tells Postnoon all about her dreams.
Tell us about yourself and how did your interest in fashion begin?
I was born in Udaipur and brought up in Delhi. After completing my schooling, I took up political science as my major in college and I always wanted to see myself as a fashion designer. When I decided to join Pearl Academy in Delhi, during the counseling, I was told that I would best fit into Fashion, Retail and Merchandise Management programme. Retail market was on the cusp of a boom and I was told by the counselors that it would open a lot more avenues for me in future. I also went on an exchange programme to Nagold, near Stuttgart as a part of my course. After this, I completed my MBA in Marketing from Symbiosis.
You have been married for five years now. Did life change after you moved to Hyderabad?
My husband owns a company here which is into mergers, acquisitions and business development. In the beginning, I used to help him a bit and later I joined FICCI Ladies Organisation. It gave me the chance to meet a lot of intellectual and entrepreneurial women from different parts of the country. Every year, a delegation from FICCI Ladies goes abroad to interact with women in foreign countries to learn about how they are bringing about changes in their respective communities. It’s been a great learning experience so far.
What interests you the most?
I love travelling, photography and arts. As surprising as it may sound, I love food and I make it a point to try local cuisine wherever I go. We also keep collecting souvenirs wherever we visit. I am also passionate about empowering underprivileged girl child through education. Whenever I find time, I volunteer and make it a point to spend time with children. Recently, I organised a summer camp for underprivileged children to enhance their computer skills and also in drawing, if they are interested.
What motivated you to take up this cause?
A lot of women are doing great work in their respective fields, but there’s a different side to this story as well. Girls are not allowed to complete their education due to various reasons and some are forced to earn a living for their family. Even in urban areas, women are exploited if they are not properly educated. Something needs to be done about this and things will be lot different if girls are educated. It’ll give them confidence to do what they want to in their lives. Education will certainly lead to their empowerment as nobody can exploit them since they are aware of their rights. They’ll not be confined to stay indoors and I believe that every woman should be independent. I am actually planning to start an NGO to put in lot more efforts to take this cause on to the next level.
How did Mrs India International happen? Did you family support you during the entire process?
My father-in-law motivated me to take part in Mrs Gladrags in 2010. I made it to the top 10 and even won the title Miss Elegant. After that, I really wanted to represent India on a global platform and that’s when I came to know about Mrs India International which is held every year in Atlanta, USA. It’s different from other beauty pageants because they give a lot of importance to charity,
education and achievements in the past. After multiple interviews where you are asked about the cause which you believe in and what we have done so far, we have another five rounds of business interviews with a panel of judges. I was scared and excited at the same time because it was competition at the end of the day and I was competing against women of Indian origin from different parts of the world. It was a proud moment when I was judged the first runner up and I must thank Adrita Khanna, the director of Mrs India International, Shivalika Sharma, my mentor who helped me prepare for the pageant and Komal Sood, my wardrobe designer. On the other hand, my family has been a pillar of support throughout this process. In fact, my mother-in-law accompanied me while I was participating in the pageant and my husband has always stood by me. He has given wings to my dreams.
How did your friends react after you won the title?
It’s been incredible. Every woman I read their comments, I feel I have achieved something special. That satisfaction cannot be expressed in words.
You must have met a lot of incredible women who are making a difference in their communities. What’s the most amusing story you have come across?
When I was travelling in Utah, I met a 75 year old woman who had recovered from skin and breast cancer. Her enthusiasm and fitness level surprised me. You cannot guess how much pain she would have gone through while recovering from cancer and even now she wants to do so much in life. When you meet people like her, you realise that age is just a number and every stage in life is important. Another time, I met a 78 year old woman who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. People struggle so much when they are suffering from this disease and they all have special needs, even to wear clothes. This woman told me about stitching clothes for people with special needs and she had already begun working on a business plan. These are just two of the most amusing people I have come across and I find inspiration from anyone who does good work.
You seem to be quite passionate about everything you do. Has it always been like this?
I cannot do things half heartedly and I believe in giving my best, no matter what I take up.
Five years from now, where do you see yourself?
I have already begun working on setting up an NGO to empower underprivileged girl child through education and it’s been my dream to start a school.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.