Who says women can’t have it all? Meet Mrs. Asia International India, Shweta Tiwari, a mother who broke all stereotypes.
Life is challenging and responsibilities increase manifold when you get married. And when you become a mother, it becomes a distant dream for many women to even think about their careers. But matrimony and motherhood didn’t let Shweta Tiwari deter from pursuing her dreams. A role-model to all married women and mothers around the world, Shweta has proved that age and circumstances are no bar if you have the courage to chase your dreams. Mother of one, she bagged the titles of Mrs Raipur and Mrs Asia International India with her unadulterated passion for modelling and an unconditional support from family. She reiterates how a perfect balance between personal and professional life can pave way for success.
Q: What inspired you to become a model?
A: Since childhood, I was very fond of clothes, accessories and make- up. Glamour always fascinated me. I was especially drawn towards ethnic Indian fashion which I find to be the most distinctive. Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi are among my favourite designers.
Q: When did your first stint with modelling happen?
A: My first stint with modelling happened at a very early age in my life. While pursuing my higher studies in Hyderabad, I took part in the Miss University competition. This was the first time that I walked the ramp in front of so many people and won the title of Miss University at the age of 17. This achievement launched my career as a model and things began to move on henceforth.
Q: How did it feel when you won the title of Miss Andhra Pradesh? How did your family and friends react to your victory?
A: This was my first big step into the world of glamour and fashion and I was extremely happy to be crowned Miss Andhra Pradesh. This was like a reassurance for me that I was not a fool in dreaming big. I was ecstatic and felt a step closer to realizing my dream. My family and friends were very supportive and felt happy for me. With the title, my mind opened to possibilities beyond modelling and I started thinking of bringing in social purpose into projects that I am associated with.
Q: Just when your dreams were taking shape, you got married. Did this decision of yours affect your modelling career? Was it difficult for you to cope with new responsibilities and career altogether?
Of course, things change once you get married. I got married at a very young age. The new relationship brought with it new responsibilities and new challenges. Although my husband was very adjusting and supportive, I was still trying to fit into my new family. And so my career took a backseat. But I never gave up on my dream. After marriage, there is always a struggle to balance your personal and professional life. It is a little difficult but not impossible. When the auditions for Mrs Raipur were announced, I decided to revive my career and set an example for all the women who nurtured dreams but never had the courage to follow them.
Q: How did your husband and your new family help you revive your career after marriage? Was it their constant support that helped you bag Mrs Raipur and Mrs Asia International India titles?
A: I am married into a traditional Indian family where a career in modelling and fashion was unheard of. However, I am fortunate to have an understanding husband and family. It did take me some time to convince them but when my husband saw my passion for the art, he agreed to let me pursue my dream. I am really grateful to my family for their constant love and support and a lot of credit for my success goes to them.
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: Just finished a summer fashion shoot with celebrity photographer Amit Asher. I am currently working on a short film which is conceptualised on environmental protection specifically dealing with plastic pollution. I see the planet as a beautiful place that we must preserve through attitudinal changes.
Q: Now that you have become a mother too, enlighten us upon the challenges that you face while managing your work commitments and raising your child at the same time.
A: Honestly, it is not so challenging. I did struggle a bit initially when my child was small but once she grew up, things became easier. I am blessed to have a great support system in my husband and family. In fact, when I am travelling for work, my husband takes care of our child and that is very reassuring for me. But yes, you need to establish a balance between work and home. You cannot neglect one for the other.
Q: After pregnancy, a lot of women go through postpartum depression and loss of self-confidence due to changes in the body shape and size. Did you face that too? If yes, how did you deal with it?
A: Motherhood is beautiful and helps you explore a new side of your personality. But it has its own set of challenges. Women do go through many hormonal changes and mood swings throughout their pregnancy and weight gain is inevitable. Even I had put on a lot of weight after delivery but with the help of a lot of exercises and the right diet, I was able to get back in shape and regain my confidence. You have to trust yourself and take charge of the situation. It’s just a phase of life and not the end of the journey.
Q: Why do women think marriage is the end of their career? Do you think married women face a greater struggle to keep up with their careers after marriage?
A: A lot of successful women today are tying the knot and continuing their careers after marriage. While the society’s perceptions have changed slightly with regard to married women in the glamour world, even today women in the most influential families are under the burden of family expectations and that stops them from pursuing their career. Marriage is not the end of the road but the beginning of a new journey. It depends on how you and your spouse look at it. It is important we never give up on our dreams. No matter what stage of life you are at, you have to keep moving towards achieving your goals and leave a positive impact on your family and society.
Q: What message would you give to the world about beauty pageants and the girls who compete in them?
A: Beauty pageants recognize and celebrate the achievements of young girls and married women and appreciate their contribution towards family and society. For women in small towns, it is a great platform to showcase their talent and give wings to their dreams. My message to all the women out there: Talent has no age or boundary. Trust yourself and never give up. If you have the talent and courage to live your dreams, success is just around the corner.