Reena Ranger, Chair of Women Empowered, is In Conversation with Arpita Karania for her regular series for 'iGlobal' to explore some inspirational facets from the life and achievements of prominent Global Indians.
Arpita has been painting faces and sculpting hair for thousands of brides and wedding guests since 2007. Growing up in the UK, Arpita loved art, music and classical dance but this wasn’t seen as an acceptable career back then. So, she pursued physics and astrophysics at university and went on to becoming a Radiotherapy Physicist. After seven years in the career, she rediscovered her childhood passions for the arts and decided to take the plunge and pursue bridal hair and makeup. And, 15 years later, she’s never looked back.
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You and I met at college sometime ago! I remember you were studying astrophysics. From astrophysicist to a makeup artist/entrepreneur; what were your experiences of both your career paths and what led you from one to the other?
From astrophysics, I went on to become a Radiotherapy Physicist. I loved the job. I wanted to use my physics to help others and the treatment of cancer was something that was so close to my heart, as my grandfather had cancer.
However, I just felt that something was missing. The side of me wasn’t being expressed. Whenever I spoke to other physicists in the department, I often felt that the information of the subject just flowed through them. It seemed so natural for them, yet for me, I had to really read a lot and study the subject in detail to understand the whole picture. Something was missing.
I remembered that when I was much younger, there were many activities I did, where I had this feeling of flow. I remembered that feeling of flow just came through me. It was always in the areas of . I remembered always feeling this sense of passion. It never took an effort to get up and practice. It just happened because I loved it so much. That is when I decided to pursue something creative.
They say if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s how I feel about creativity and art. I just felt that life would be easier if I was working in a field where I was in this state of flow and inspiration. A field where work didn’t feel like effort but felt like desire.
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It is clear from your Instagram and social media channels and that you are passionate about your work and precision you employ is awesome. What do you love about your industry and what do you not so much love?
What I love about my industry is that it is forever changing and so very creative. I get to be surrounded by creativity every day. For me, I speak, write and work all through my and my heart.
Creative expression is a big part of my life and I get the freedom to be that part of me every day. It’s very therapeutic and it’s so nice to be surrounded by creative individuals who work in the same way. You get to feel inspired most days and that’s a really uplifting emotion to feel. What I don’t like so much is that there is never any room for complacency, you have to stay on trend and have to constantly be creating new things.
If you take a break or have a creative block for too long, it really affects your business. It keeps you on your toes. It’s a good thing because it never gets boring and pushes you to constantly grow, but sometimes you just need to focus on other areas of your life.
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There has been a lot more discussion about beauty standards in recent years, how do you view them and what do you feel has gone right and gone wrong with the conversation so far?
From my perspective, I actually feel that beauty has become more inclusive in recent years, especially through social media. I think what was perceived to be beautiful years ago was more stereotypical than what is perceived as beautiful today.
We see so many influencers and role models on social media who own their uniqueness and they show the world that beauty can take many forms. It has created a ripple effect and I believe beauty is really now being authentic to yourself. All body figures are beautiful, curvy, big or slim. Beauty can be wearing lots of or wearing none. The key is to just own what makes you feel beautiful.
Which one person has had the greatest influence in your life, and why?
My grandfather was in my eyes the most inspirational man. I could sit here for hours and tell you so many stories about him and how he impacted my life.
But if there was just one thing I could tell you about him, it would be about his funeral. My grandfather did not die a wealthy man, however at his funeral at the age of 72, thousands of people attended. I was so shocked; it left a lasting impression on me. It was my biggest learning.
I always knew that he inspired and touched a lot of people. He had this that was so bright that made him connect deeply with so many other souls. Even to this day 25 years later, his life shaped me so much and shaped so many. People still talk about him.
That taught me one thing so profoundly: when we die, we do not take our bank balances with us. The stamps we put on other people’s hearts, the way we change their lives and make a difference is worth more than anything.
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What do you think has been the most profound realisation or discovery about yourself over last few years?
Everything is temporary. Everything changes, evolves and transforms including ourselves. What may have been our purpose seven years ago may not be our purpose today.
Whenever you feel low, down or unmotivated, it’s a sign that something is not aligned and it’s time to move forward. Sometimes it’s even time to let go of an old identity and recreate yourself. I have always been seeking what my purpose is throughout my life.
And now I realise, I’ve been living my purpose without realising it. Your purpose is not always this big thing or this one thing. It’s just you being your authentic self and trusting that it will create a ripple effect into the world. It’s also forever changing and evolving. And living your purpose is just going with it. Since I was young, I felt that my purpose was to make a difference in the world . But I have till now, not expressed that side of me.
However, I realised that I have expressed it in other ways through my creativity, through those moments I feel inspired and through all my shares of my egg freezing journey on social media. Sometimes the way you make the difference is not how you expect it would go, but that’s ok. A ripple can travel a long way, it just starts with a pure intention.
is the Chair and Co-Founder of . In this exclusive "In Conversation" series for iGlobal, the dynamic entrepreneur-philanthropist catches up with high-achieving Global Indians across different fields to spotlight some insightful life lessons.
(The views expressed in the answers are of the interviewees).