Sonia Pardesi is a well-established image consultant and founder of Savoir Faire Image Consulting – a Bangalore based image consulting firm. A post graduate in mass communication, Pardesi began her career as a media professional at a leading media house and then ventured into the media relations. Sonia’s constant interaction with the people from all walks of life as media relations professional triggered in her a desire to help infuse in them the confidence she carried with her. She finally took the decision to help groom talented professionals and bring out the best in them through her highly efficient image consulting programme modules. Our correspondent Odeal D’Souza speaks to Sonia Pardesi about her life, challenges and about image consulting as a profession.
What inspired you to become the person you are today?
The challenges and the many hurdles I faced in my personal and professional lives made me the person I am today. I have grown to believe that bigger the hardships, the better is the learning in life. A very large part of what I am today has been due to my journey as an Image Consultant. I have been able to work with people from different walks of life, different personalities and traits etc. which has only enriched my understanding of people in a better way.
I also underwent a personal crisis that had completely left me traumatised and I was in a situation where I was wondering what I should be doing with my life. While dealing with the emotional turmoil, with the help of my close friend I stumbled upon the Image Consulting profession, a field which was still in its nascent stage in India.
I have also evolved as a person, having discovered my spiritual side as well, which I have been able to apply to my work.
Why did you choose to become an image consultant?
Ever since my first job as a journalist, I always wanted to train people on how to present themselves appropriately. Whether it’s the way they dressed or their mannerisms (etiquette), I always looked around at people and saw that there are so many people who required guidance on understanding themselves better.
What are the challenges you faced as a woman when you navigated your career path and also life as a whole?
Although the society’s outlook towards women is changing slowly and positively, but the attitude towards independent working women professionals, still remains slightly biased. Some of the challenges I have faced as a woman and as a professional per se, would be that I have been approached so many times on the pretext of work, when the intention by the opposite sex has not been very honourable and it still continues. However, I refuse to get weary of that, and I believe that a woman is a “Power House” within herself. She doesn’t require any empowerment from the opposite sex.
At the end of the day, it is all about drawing your strength from within and facing the challenge in a dignified manner.
How important is it for women across all age groups to groom themselves and carry their image well?
Every woman, I believe has the capacity to look attractive. But for that it needs to start from within. How she feels about herself, makes her want to present herself accordingly. The more confident a woman feels, the better she would look appearance wise. I believe that a woman of any age group should always present herself in the best possible manner, in whatever the given situation.
Make up (and I would say just the very basic) helps uplift one’s face as well as spirit. A little bit of make-up should be worn by women as it always completes the look besides boosting the confidence level. Grooming, which includes hair and skin care as well as oral hygiene is extremely important as these factors not only help to present one attractively, but also helps in improving one’s self image and the external image.
Any tips that you would like to give the women regarding fashion or grooming?
Fashion is what is available in the market. However style is how you reflect your true self. Use fashion to reflect your personal style. Indian women are blessed with such beautiful skin tones. It is important that they play around with bright colours (which also help in uplifting the mood as well as the psyche). Summer has set in. Floral prints should be used to one’s advantage.
With regard to grooming and make up, apply sunscreen on a daily basis. Do not clog pores with too much foundation (not to be used regularly). Stay hydrated with lots of water, which would keep the skin looking hydrated too.
What is your message for women on Women’s Day?
I believe that every day is “Women’s Day”, and a woman is already blessed with so many gifts. Whether she is a homemaker, a mother or a working professional; she is capable of wearing many hats and multi-tasking too. So do not be afraid to face challenges. You will be surprised by your strength to handle every circumstance or situation. Love yourself, respect yourself and believe in yourself. You can become the best version of yourself.