#POPxoWomenWhoWin: Archana Vijaya On Professionalism, Life & The Joy Of New Ventures

#POPxoWomenWhoWin: Archana Vijaya On Professionalism, Life & The Joy Of New Ventures

From being a model and renowned presenter to starting her businesses, Archana Vijaya's journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. A true creative at heart who follows her instinct, in her own words, she dedicates it all to hard work and passion. The years of experience would cause anyone to call it a day but she's hardly done.

A Trailblazer In Her Own Right

A conversation with Archana Vijaya is full of exquisite surprises. And it comes sans frills. Before you know it, the ice has been broken, her warm personality and her laugh reminding you of a long-known friend. She talks like one too, nothing holding her back. One cannot help but notice the inimitable confidence and style, the same kind she exuded when walking the runway and presenting on television, the kind we are all too familiar with. The years of success—first as a model, followed by a presenter on television and entrepreneur— have undoubtedly cemented her status as a woman in her own right and yet, these are only benchmarks she knows she will cross over and over again. 

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"The only path to success is hard work and there is no shortcut to it, so don’t shy away," she says when the conversation turns towards her bustling schedule. True to the statement, the excitement of new beginnings in her voice and the vigour with which she undertakes them never fails to inspire. Case in point: her entrepreneurial streak which follows an uber-successful career as a television personality. Be it her fashion-forward brand Label Kiss, which specialises in ready-to-wear jewellery and accessories or her latest venture Kissponics, an eco-friendly ‘grow your own herbs’ system that forgoes soil and pesticides while reducing the carbon footprint, there is just no stopping her! 

In the spirit of keeping it real, the #POPxoWomenWhoWin series charts stories of women who have defied all odds and redefined success in their own terms, paving the way ahead. In sync with that sentiment, Archana Vijayaa self-made stalwart who has donned numerous hats and seen it allinstantly came to mind when we thought of having a heartfelt conversation about making it big. Over a phone call, we connected with her to delve deeper into her journey, experiences and the life advice she would give to those looking to make it big. Below, excerpts from an interview. 

How do you begin your day? What's a typical day like for you?

I begin my day keeping a focus on health to the forefront: methi-infused water and a couple of almonds and walnuts soaked overnight are included in my diet. That’s followed by a black coffee and a healthy breakfast. Normally, I head to work after this but now that we have all been working from home, I have built a home office for myself. That’s where the meetings, calls and discussions take place. There’s time for a quick lunch in between, followed by a jam-packed work schedule. I am also building a roof garden for my home so a lot of work also goes into that. I am always doing some kind of renovation around the house since I am home a lot now and that helps to keep things exciting. Besides, I like to keep myself busy with hobbies, something that I did even during the lockdown! In the evenings, workout is followed by an early dinner and then after a bit of Netflix, it’s time for bed.

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Tell us a little about your first professional experience and how it all began.

I won a show called ‘Get Gorgeous’ on Channel V. It was the first televised supermodel hunt in the country and post the win, my life changed 360 degrees.

Would you consider that to be a turning point in your career?

For sure. That and then presenting the IPL. It is, of course, the biggest show in the country and the reach was immeasurable. Another milestone, I would like to believe, is the start of my new business, Kissponics. Through hydroponic kits, we give people the opportunity to grow their own 100 percent pesticide-free food in the comfort of their homes. One is reducing their carbon footprint, saving water and restoring the balance in nature which is much needed at the moment. The joy of growing your own food is just unparalleled.

What would you say are the standout professional skills that have really helped you succeed?

I am extremely punctual and that somehow has translated into people appreciating my professionalism. I feel that creating a seamless experience, whether I am presenting or shooting, is something that I aim for.

You have dabbled in multiple roles. Is there a mantra you swear by in your professional as well as personal life?

Love what you do. I have always done that, from presenting to juggling other roles and because I enjoy what I do, not a single day feels like work. It’s always onwards and upwards for me; I like to look at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty.

If you were to give a piece of advice to people who are just starting out, what would it be?

I think it’s all about always following your instincts. When I won the television show, I also won a modelling contract with Elite. I was walking for names such as Tarun Tahiliani and Suneet Varma but the channel wanted me to be a VJ, while everyone in my modelling contacts thought I should concentrate on being a model. I wanted to be in front of a moving camera and I did it. When I was approached to present cricket, everyone told me it would be difficult but I went for it and it worked out. It’s about following your gut instinct and I know it comes across as clichéd when everyone says ‘be yourself’ but frankly, it’s the only way to be. Trying to be like someone else has never worked out for anyone in the long run, so be your authentic self. Be kind. Be professional. Look after yourself. Love yourself. Be the best version of yourself. That would be my advice to all young people.

You touched upon your busy schedule earlier. How do you unwind after a hectic day?

Funnily enough, I work out! It’s relaxing for me. I have been working out for a long time and it’s that ‘me time’ which imparts a feel-good factor. Working out exhilarates me and the lockdown made me realise it more than ever. I also enjoy cooking, exploring recipes, reading, watching Netflix and spending time with my husband.

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You mentioned reading. Are there any novels or writers that have stood out for you?

I love reading fiction; I think there’s something charming about paperback transporting you to another place. Having said that, I would go with writers whose writing has had an impact on me. I love Khaled Hosseini and Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s works. Then there’s ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’ that stood out. Normally self-help books can be quite convoluted and difficult to practice but it wasn’t the case with this one; it was easy to read and laden with doable tips that helped. ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Bryne is another one worth mentioning. It taught me the importance of having a positive outlook in life. 

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A ‘glass half-full’ perspective, being the best version of yourself and punctuality never go wrong and Archana Vijaya’s success story is testimony to it all.

Featured Image: Archana Vijaya on Instagram