Sumana Goswami has had an interesting journey. From sort of a next door small town girl of Silchar (Assam, India), to walking the ramp at Super Bowl fashion week in USA. She recently caught up with Former Ministerial Adviser Mr. Nitin Gupta in Peachtree City, Atlanta (GA), and talked about her journey from an ordinary small town girl, to featuring in mainstream fashion shows in USA.

Tell us about your journey from a next door girl to a model?

I call myself an accidental model! I used to struggle with fashion. But I loved wearing sarees. One day, an audition call came from a friend for Sabyasachi’s online couture fashion show in Atlanta. They were looking for new faces. I auditioned, and got selected.

Now, that show changed my life. When I carried that beautiful Sabyasachi Saree and walked down the runway, there was a sense of pride and satisfaction in that moment. I had fallen in love with the runway. Since then there has been no looking back. I have done a variety of fashion shows and fashion weeks including Georgia Peach fashion week, Super Bowl fashion week and many more in the last five years. I have been featured in a variety of American fashion magazines. I truly believe that you may not always know what you love to do, but once you know, don’t let it go.

Challenges you faced in this transformation, and how you overcame them?

The biggest challenge for me was to wear stilettos. Yes, believe me or not I started from wearing no heels to stilettos. There were times when I would wear the same shoes for multiple shows because I feared tripping on the runway. The next big thing was learning how to walk the runway, it sounds easy but it is not. Once you know your basic walk you can win the world.

Any outfit in the world looks fabulous when your walk is perfect. Next was confidence. It is the most important outfit for a model. A dash of swag on a plate of confidence can take you a long way. I started becoming more and more confident with every show. Fashion shows have been my biggest teachers. My biggest mantra is that whatever you do, if you do it with conviction, you will be the best at it.

How easy was settling down in U.S.A? Challenges you faced in the big move?

I come from a small town in India called Silchar (Assam). Initially I struggled with the language and the accent. Sometimes getting by in supermarkets would feel like a huge achievement.

Another big hurdle in my way was I used to stutter. Right from childhood I used to stutter and faced many self-esteem issues, was bullied in school and had very low self-confidence. I started working on my weaknesses. I started reading and learning English more extensively. I started learning techniques on how to minimise stuttering, and how to project my voice. I completed my undergrad with a degree in Economics, and a topper’s tag in 2013 from Georgia State University.

Favourite Indian Beauty Icon?

My favourite Indian beauty icon is Priyanka Chopra. She is smart, intelligent, stylish, gorgeous, and chooses to be herself. I admire her ability to carry herself globally. She inspires every woman who wants to have a choice, who wants to become the best version of themselves, and who will not settle for less.

Your opinion on saree as a fashion statement for Global Indian females?

Saree not sorry. Saree has always been my love. Being a Bengali, saree was the most popular fabric in our household. Saree is one such attire that can never go out of fashion. It is timeless, and makes you look authentic. I always feel more connected to myself when I wear a saree. Saree is all over the world. From Pamela Anderson’s big brother appearance in a saree, to Naomi Campbell rocking the runway in a Sabyasachi saree. Sarees are now a global fashion statement.

What do you think of Australia?

The first thing that comes to mind about Australia is that it’s vast and diverse with deserts in the centre, tropical rain-forests in the north-east, and mountain ranges in the south-east. The next thing is cricket. Australia has given some really tough games to India in Cricket.

The writer is a former ministerial adviser, and a guest columnist for The Indian Sun

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