Today we are going to hear from the woman who through her dynamic and ardent perseverance and inexhaustible spirit has revolutionized the way we perceive beauty and makeup today. Life is a spectrum of numerous possibilities, where destiny and fate work their way out arbitrarily but it is the choices that we make for ourselves which construct the reality for us. The universe responds to those who are believers, who put in endeavours to transform that belief into reality. She believed and made the vibration of the entire cosmos to resonate that way. Namrata Soni, kept her mind without fear, held her head high and went ahead without giving in into adversity, questioned the underlying misogyny at an early age, fought with the patriarchal norms and paved the way for not only herself but for the many upcoming female makeup artists and ensured the obstacles that she had to face jor just being a girl is eradicated from the roots and no women in the future have to face it. With numerous blockbuster films like Main Hoon Na, Om Shanti Om, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Aisha, Veere Di Wedding she went ahead with her unconventional makeup look and style which nobody in the contemporary scenario could think of and was unparalleled to the canon of makeup artists and orchestrated a new era in the beauty industry so much so that her talent was recognised and she became the talk of the tinseltown. She herself transformed some of the biggest names of Bollywood. Namrata soni makeup and her remarkable dedication to her craft made her acquire the title of Dadasaheb Phalke Best Makeup Artist. The Voice of Woman recently got an opportunity to interview this amazing Namrata Soni, who talked about her life and how her choices made her the woman she is today. How did you decide that you are going to be a stylist? I became a stylist quite by chance, while I was in college in Mumbai. I was assisting Coleen Khan, the famous hairstylist in Bombay and she encouraged me to do a self-grooming course and my love, thus passion for makeup started there. What was your inspiration behind your choice? I wanted to go and learn from someone who mattered to me and whose style I actually loved and followed. So for me, the first person I wanted to be like and learn from was Coleen Khan and then she directed and appointed me towards Marvie Beck who was an amazing teacher and that is where I got my inspiration. Of course growing up, watching my Mom and my Nani(grandmother) who applied beautiful makeup on them first without any kind of education was inspiring. If not this then what career namrata soni would have chosen? If I was not a makeup and hair artist, I would have been a lawyer or a pilot. When I was younger my passion was to be a pilot. How did you go about your Namrata Soni School of Makeup and hair? What are your dreams regarding this institution? In my entire career, people have approached me to open up an academy because there were not many in India but it just never worked out in my mind. I was never ready for it as I needed a little bit more time and experience before I opened one. So it took me a good 15-16 years of being in the industry to be ready to open an academy of my own. Finally, a girl called Khushbu Mehta asked me to do a workshop with her and I was like I am not interested in a makeup workshop but I would not mind an academy. She agreed and we both worked really hard in opening one together. The School of Makeup and Hair that I have developed is a Popup Academy but the future of my academy is opening it across India, parts like Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore and even I want to go internationally and open it in places like Dubai. I want to be able to educate girls at an affordable cost with good makeup products to develop a good skill. Do you remember your initial days of struggle? What did those days teach you which is still relevant in your life? Of course, I remember my initial days of struggle. As a female makeup artist in this industry, we were really harassed by the Union. I remember the initial struggle was, ‘ Oh! You are a woman, you cannot work in this industry, you can only do hairstyling.’ I was super passionate about makeup and I was like, ‘ Yeah okay I know how to do hairstyling but I really want to do makeup.’ and everybody used to be like you are a girl, you do not know much. The second struggle was, ‘ you are too young, hardly 20 or 21, what would you know about being in this industry and about makeup. It was always a fight and struggle in getting the job. It took a really long time to meet the right people who stood by me and gave me that chance. Honestly I have so many people to thank for that starting with my parents and my family who stood behind me. Then Farah Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Preity Zinta and all the women you name it including the production houses such as Dharma production, YRF all of them stood behind me and the women makeup artists and allowed us to work in the industry. It is something that I will take to my grave because it opened up my eyes. Till then I was like Oh! We have a woman president then why am I not being allowed to work. It showed me the struggle that a lot of women have to face. I remember at that time there were no mobile phones. When I started working, my mother used to get threat calls on the landline from unknown people who threatened to cut off my hands if I did not stop working as a makeup artist. It used to be really scary coming home and seeing my mother sitting over and asking me if I was sure this is what I wanted to do with my career. Therefore it has taught me to be strong, stand by my decision and my choices in life and become the woman I am today. As a woman often we have to face the question of hurdles that we face while managing our personal and professional lives. Do you feel this question is still relevant today? How do you manage your home and career simultaneously? Women always had to struggle to balance things, subjected to various questions but honestly I have been very blessed as I have an amazing husband who helps me balance out my work and professional life. Before that I had an amazing family, my mother, my sisters who helped me balance out my personal and professional time. I think one of the biggest hurdles that I faced initially was that I used to come back home, very tired, frustrated and emotionally drained and I used to take out that, I would not say anger but that frustration on my family. I remember my mother made me sit down one day and said, ‘ You know we really love you and support what you do but you need to leave your work problems at the door before you enter. You need to be able to segregate your professional and personal life so that you stay happy. It really taught me a very big lesson. She actually advised me to come back home, take an hour off, have a shower, go to the gym whatever I wanted to do and spend time with my family, have dinner with them and enjoy their company. It was the greatest lesson that I had learnt. How do you deal with criticism? I am actually quite open to criticism. I have been in this industry long enough to know that not everybody can appreciate your work. You are always going to have a group of people who would love and respect you and who criticise you and your every move. I am someone who takes criticism at face value and learns from it. So if someone tells me that I could have done a particular thing in a better way I will thank that person for their opinion and will actually take a day, sit back and analyse what I have done and could have done better. How do you manage a healthy lifestyle and stay fit despite having an occupied schedule? It is extremely hard to stay fit and healthy in a career like this. It has taken me years to realize that my health was more important than any other aspect in my life. It took my husband and my doctors literally telling me repeatedly that you have to take care of yourself first. I felt sick in the middle, suffered from different issues like slipped disc, back related problems, endometriosis and even polycystic ovary syndrome. So it has been a journey and today I have become more conscious about what I am eating or how much I have worked out. I really take out that one hour of time to either do my yoga or workout and try to eat as healthy as I can. I know the healthier I am the longer I can remain in this career and on this planet. Is there any particular diet you follow? What is your favourite guilty indulgence? I do not follow any particular diet. I just try to make sure to avoid a lot of white stuff including milk, paneer, rice, pastas etc. So if anything I am eating I will either choose wholewheat or multigrain. That is a good way of cutting down a lot of bad carbs in your body but I still eat a little bit once or twice a week so that it is not cut off completely from my system. My guilty indulgence would be a piece of chocolate cake which I absolutely love or in times like these mangoes. If you were granted a wish of possessing any power you want what you would have chosen and why? If I was granted a wish, I would want the power of healing. There are so many people who were so unwell and so sick in life. I went through that experience seeing my mom and my nani and so many people in the family and I would want to heal them to be fine and with me today. What is the secret of your flawless skin? Any special regime you follow to keep your skin glowing and healthy? I do not have a specific regime for my glowing flawless skin. I have had many issues with my skin in the last few years. But yes, what did help me a lot was acupuncture. I do that regularly and also make sure that I wash my face with a soap free face wash, a simple Forest Essential Moisturizer Sanjeevani on my face, eye cream and a lip balm. What is that one makeup trick that every woman should know? One makeup trick that every woman should know is how to curl their eyelashes . Using an eyelash curler can really really change the way your face looks. It can open up your eyes, make you look from tired and dull to wide-eyed and beautiful. So learning this and putting mascara beautifully is a trick that all the women should know. One hairstyle that suits both in long and short hair It would be braids. I think braids are beautiful. It can really change the way you look, add a lot of oomph and softness at the same time. So i think learning just how to braid your hair beautifully whether they are side braids, waterfall braids or mermaid braids they look really beautiful in long and short hair. One latest beauty trend you are absolutely in love with. I love so many trends but honestly one of my favourite trends is the glass skin. I love it when skin looks like there is literally no makeup on it but it is shiny, healthy and dewy. What is your favourite makeup and skincare product that you absolutely can not do without? I absolutely can not do without my lash curler and a beautiful cream liquid blush in terms of makeup . My favourite skincare product that I can not do without is the Guerlain Lower Meteorites or the Guerlain Lower Gold. These are absolutely fantastic. How was it like to be awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Best Makeup artist? It was an absolute shocking yet one of the proudest moments of my life. I just wished my parents were there to witness me getting that award. It was an honour for which I can not thank The Indian Government and The Indian Cinema enough for. It just gives you validation of all the years and the immense hard work that you have put in so I am extremely grateful. What would you advise the youngsters aspiring to be a makeup artist? I would tell them to be patient and kind and to really spend money on educating themselves. It is extremely important in today’s time and always has been important to educate yourself, to be updated with the new skills and trends that are happening today. Most importantly to never gossip in this industry. It is an extremely small industry. Learn to love your peers and support them because they are the one who would help you out in the long run. Amongst the many films that you have been a part of, which one the look is your favourite? My favourite film and look is the film called Aisha which I did with Sonam Kapoor. It was a game changer in the film industry. We changed the concept of makeup being light, fresh and beautiful. Till date it is one of my favourite movies with my favourite looks in it. Why do you think it is important for a woman to have a voice of her own? Women should have a voice of her own because it is extremely important for us to stand up for what we believe in and what we want to be in our life. All the women out there should stand up for themselves and stand up for the women around them who need help. Any special message you want to convey to our readers? I just want to say, Thank You to everybody who follows me, loves me and even people who criticise me because it has made me stronger, better and a much better artist than before. I want to thank the universe, the world for taking care of me and thank my family for being there for me. Namrata we wish you even more success and happiness in this world and beyond. Women like you inspire us!