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Women in charge: India’s leading ladies

Ever dreamt of being your own boss? Meet four dynamic, inspiring women who’ve broken the glass ceiling in their own fields.

Amrita Puri, 31 Film and theatre actor

Tell us how you became an actor. I used to be a copywriter and dabble occasionally in theatre, and look forward to those four to five hours where I would perform. I found myself drawn increasingly to acting and quit my job to start auditioning. That was six years ago. Around the time I started doing commercials and after a while I got a Facebook message about Aisha. I got selected from 600 girls and that’s where it all began. Since then I’ve starred in films such as Kai Po Che and Blood Money and keep going back to theatre. Currently I’m working on a play The Glass Menagerie.

What’s been the most challenging role so far? When I was 18 years old, I acted and directed the monologue Chained for Thespo.  It was based on a true story about a drug addict who was chained to the radiator in her apartment by her parents as they couldn’t afford rehab and wanted her to stay off the streets. I was very into method acting, so I would chain myself to my bedpost everyday for three hours and not bathe or wash my hair for three days, as I needed to feel dirty. At the end of the performances, I would have massive bruises.

Is there any advice you’d give to someone trying to break into the industry? Unless the thought of not acting doesn’t kill you, don’t enter this industry. You need this drive as it is a cutthroat industry and you need to give more to the business than you get back.

On Amrita: Polka dots t-shirt, 1490, Mango; Printed midi skirt, 2999, Alia Bhatt For Jabong; Strappy Stilettos, 6230, Aldo; Black ring, 450, Style Fiesta

Akanksha Singh, 25 Captain of India Women’s National Basketball Team

Tell us about how you got into basketball.  My sister was one of the best players on our school’s basketball team. I used to be the one who would cheer a lot. Slowly, I started dribbling and joined the under-13 team. That was when I played my first tournament for the senior school team – I was only 11 years old.

What’s the best part about the game?  As a point guard, when the team plays, the unity and the joy of every moment is the best part about this game. 

What is your mantra when it comes to playing basketball? Being united and positive are two very important things to me. The game changes every second, so you should never lose hope.

On Akanksha: Sequin t-shirt, 848, Only; Denim shirt, 1895, Wrangler; Pleated midi, 4000, Miss Selfridge; Sneakers, 4495, Nike; Spiked bracelet, 499, Miss Bennett; Black bracelet, 399, Miss Bennett. 

Srimoyi Bhattacharya, 42
 Managing Director, Peepul Consulting

Tell us about your journey in Public Relations and Brand Management?
 I started my career 20 years ago in France, where I grew up. I interned with a European PR agency called Herald Communications – that was my school and my bosses were my mentors. I spent five years in Paris, gained some experience and decided to start my own agency. I moved to the United States where I worked with a hospitality group – the idea was to address the Indian American corridor. I travelled to India to do some market research and my heart was set on moving here. It’s a lot more experimental here and there’s room for so much opportunity. It’s been seven years since Peepul Consulting launched in India.

What’s your advice to young people who are looking to get into fashion and lifestyle PR?
 I think it’s really important to understand the space. You can’t just take a client’s product and try to package it, you should be passionate about what you’re selling and truly believe in it. It’s also critical to know what’s going on in the market and be an insider to your client.

The perfect outfit for a business meeting:
 A shift dress, no doubt. It’s feminine, professional and can take you from day to night.

On Srimoyi: Printed shift dress, 3290, Dorothy Perkins; Block heels, 4499, Clarks

Dr. Jaishree Sharad, 41
 CEO of Skinfiniti and Celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist

Tell us about your journey in cosmetic dermatology. I did my post graduation in dermatology in Mumbai, and fellowships in cosmetic dermatology in Bangkok and Miami. I have been practising cosmetic dermatology for 15 years and now run a clinic called Skinfiniti in Mumbai. From writing articles on cosmetic dermatology that focus on botox, fillers, peels, micro needling to training dermatologists from India and abroad. It’s been a long journey of constant learning and upgradation. The biggest high has been my book, Skin Talks, about unisex skin care with a foreword by Amitabh Bachchan. I’ve had a gratifying career so far, but I have miles to go before I sleep.

What is your beauty philosophy?
 A happy and beautiful heart reflects its radiance onto the skin. And to take care of your skin externally, a healthy diet and lifestyle without smoking or alcohol is a good way to start. Don’t forget to moisturise your skin and use sunblock 365 days in a year.

What’s the best part about your job?
 I am extremely passionate about sculpting faces and enjoy meeting people from different walks of life. They come in as clients and become friends. Many have taught me special things that have stayed with me.

On Jaishree: Floral body con dress,  3190, Dorothy Perkins; Block heels,  6490, River Island

Text: Akshara Subramanian, Karen Alfonso, Gopalika Virmani; Photographs: Neville Sukhia; Sidharth Dharamjit (Akanksha Singh); Styling: Daniel Franklin, Gopalika Virmani (Akanksha Singh); Assistant Stylist: Aleena Das; Hair & Make-up: Roswita Akolkar; Location Courtesy: Smokehouse Deli, Bandra (Amrita Puri & Jaishree Sharad)

– See more at:

#SrimoyiBhattacharya #AmritaPuri #Career #JaishreeSharad #Jabong #AkankshaSingh #vajain #WomensDay

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