I often thought that my diverse interests run in parallel without intersecting. Women in leadership, sarees, creative expression, Indian music and writing – they don’t seem to intersect. However, one day I found a happy intersection in form of a unique and inspiring role model – Nisha Narayanan, the COO of Red Fm and Magic FM! A delightful coincidence brought me face to face with Nisha – albeit in the virtual world. My 5 minute energising routine after putting my 6 year old to sleep involves perusing my beautiful Instagram feed, a fair percentage of which is dedicated to handloom sarees. One night, I came across this beautiful Instagram page – Nisha_Narayanan, NN!
I am trying to recollect what was it that sparked joy in me first – was it the joy of discovering a stylish women leader who I immediately felt so inspired by? Was it her personal style? Was it the energy of the pictures – each of which told a powerful story about a passionate and inspiring woman? I don’t know. What I did know is that I’d reach out to Nisha and write about her. I didn’t know how, but I had this very strong feeling that things would align the moment I made up my mind. And guess what, things aligned pretty soon!
I wanted to know so many things about her – how is it being an award winning CEO, alongside being a Mom? How does one seize time for oneself while juggling a million responsibilities? How is life in the world of radio? What has her journey been like? What qualities help one create the kind of impact that touches lives? And many more. Guess what, the stars did align and I got answers to all my questions 🙂 Nisha answered all the questions with so much love and generosity. I covered the work related aspects in my article about Nisha in the 100 Mindful Women Series ( here is the link to the article). I decided to devote a separate article to her personal style because it is so fascinating – effortless and unique.
I enjoy doing corporate sessions on personal style for women leaders and hence I am forever, looking for Indian Women Leaders who “own” the saree and do justice to its grandeur and power. What stands out about Nisha’s personal style is the ease with which she carries a wide range of sarees. Very often, a signature style is created such that it offers very little room for experiment – for example wearing only silks sarees in solids, or draping sarees in a very specific way or sticking to a certain colour family. However, Nisha carries silks and jamdanis with equal ease. The fact that her style is not restrictive makes it all the more interesting . Discussing personal style with Nisha was a lot of fun.
Three interesting personal style tips that I picked up from Nisha are:
Wear what you love : Nisha loves handloom sarees. She says that because she loves what she wears, getting ready is a quick and fun process.
Perfect is boring: “I don’t aim at looking perfect” says Nisha. She prefers a more relaxed and comfortable look while enjoying the aesthetic appeal of what she wears ( her beautiful sarees and the lovely handloom fabrics). According to her, a prim and proper, pinned up look tends to make one conscious about ensuring each and every crease stays in place. Her advice is ” Don’t worry about the crease – own the look, carry it with grace and confidence”.
For me this tip was game changing. I love sarees but for over a decade, aiming for the perfect drape was holding me back from wearing sarees. After the conversation with Nisha, my perspective changed. I now wear sarees with confidence, even if I haven’t been able to drape them the perfect way. This one shift has helped me enjoy my wardrobe so much more!
Feeling good about oneself : I was curious to know what helps Nisha look gorgeous and so well put together in spite of her super busy schedule. She shared that she does her best to make time for self-care. Self care not only helps one look well turned out, it helps one feel good about oneself. Nisha tried to dedicate time for work outs whenever she can.
Respecting Nature’s gifts : An integral part of Nisha’s signature look is her smudged and sultry kajal. She uses homemade kajal. Loving all things natural and handmade is key to her way of living. She prefers to steer away from overuse of chemicals. I love the fact that while most of us are looking for smudge proof liners, Nisha has made the smudged look her signature style and carries it with utmost style!
There is so much that I learnt during my conversation with Nisha. It was one of the most energising and inspiring conversations ever. I wish Nisha good luck to keep soaring high and inspiring us! Thank You Nisha!