Shade Diversity: Eswari Gunasagar

From The Infinite Wardrobe: ENDLESS LOVE MINI DRESS by KEEPSAKE

I used to have trouble embracing my skin colour, but now, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

What does the word Diversity mean to you?

To me diversity is recognising, respecting and accepting an individual for who they are.  It is about understanding that everyone is unique. 

As a woman of colour, when did you first realise the importance of diversity in our society?

Singapore being a multi-racial society also means increased responsibility for everyone. It is important that everyone is treated right regardless of their race and religion. I think this was something I realised back when I was in primary school, maybe because I felt that I was treated a little different. But of course, I am glad that I have never come across such double standards now. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from, or what you do – everyone needs to be respected. It’s that simple. 

Some people struggle with embracing their skin colour, what are your thoughts on this?

I am not going to lie; I used to have trouble embracing my skin colour when I was much younger. I wished I was fairer back then. And I blame false advertising for promoting that ONLY fair skin is beautiful, and, of course, bullying! But now, I love my skin colour and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Because this is me! I have grown to understand that it is part of my identity and it makes me who I am. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves that we fail to realise how special and unique we really are. The only way to embrace ourselves is to realise how uniquely different we are! 

How do you dress to flatter your features and skin colour?

I used to be an all-black person, but after subscribing to Style Theory, I was overwhelmed with the pool of colours that I can choose from. I like outfits that complement my skin colour. Yellow, emerald green, navy blue are my current favourites! They somehow make me feel like a golden goddess, haha. I try to avoid neon or dull colours like brown as they don’t really complement me. 

How does your style reflect your personality?

I live by the mantra, SIMPLE IS MORE. So, my style is very neat, chic and classy. But most importantly COMFORTABLE. 

As a host and actress, you often have very different beauty looks. How is makeup a part of your daily routine? What is one makeup you cannot leave the house without?

Makeup is very important especially in my line of work. I don’t have a choice! Dressing up for events and getting glammed up for the camera is part of my job. But over the years I have learnt that your skincare routine is so much more important than your makeup. It gives you real confidence knowing that no matter how much makeup you are applying daily, your skin is protected and well taken care of. 

The one makeup item that I need is mascara. Eyes are the windows to the soul, and mascara just enhances my eyes. But now that I have eyelash extensions, maybe concealer?

What brought you on your journey to being a host and actress?

It was a complete accident. I had always wanted to be a police officer but somehow, I ended up in a TV beauty pageant – all thanks to my brother! I After that, I was given acting and hosting opportunities. I started falling in love with what I do, and more than that, I felt a sense of satisfaction when I receive love and appreciation from the public for what I do! And after 9 years, here I am, still doing what I love.  

What are some highs and lows of being in this line of work?

The highs are the love and appreciation I have gotten from people from different walks of life – kids, aunties, uncles, and people my age. The love I have received from these people have made me tear on various occasions. This is what keeps me going! 

The lows? Being in the limelight means I have to handle critics, keyboard warriors, and such, but I have a wonderful support system that I can always fall back on when things get too tough to handle. Another low would be having to sacrifice time with family and loved ones. Being in the media means having to shoot long hours, and spending less time with them. That’s the only drawback, I guess. 

How do you balance between acting and studying at the same time?

It was all about time management. I ensured that I had enough time to complete my schoolwork, and the production houses I worked with were also very mindful of my school schedule. It was tough to handle both at the same time, but I knew I had to do it. After some time, I realised studying full time for my master’s meant I had to channel all my energy towards it. My priority was my studies, so I took a year’s break from the media scene. I knew I had to give my all into completing my studies.

What would you want your next career step to be after finishing up your degree in NTU? 

I have always wanted to have my own start-up. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. To follow my heart and chase my dreams!  I am already in the midst of setting up one. So, fingers crossed!

 

They say it takes a lot of courage for a career switch. As someone with multiple roles what are your thoughts on this?

Just go for it! You will never know until you try. You don’t want to look back and regret never trying. So just do it. Being afraid is normal when you want to make such big decisions, but fear is good – it means you care enough. So just go for it! A “What now?” is so much better than a “What if?”

What is a mantra that you live by, and what was a defining experience through which you found it?

This too shall pass. I have been hurt before – so hurt that I thought I could never get out of it. But with time and determination, I got myself out of the trauma that was eating me up emotionally. I survived. After that, I realised that whatever life throws at me, I can conquer it – it’s just a matter of time and mindset. What I learnt? Good and bad, it all passes. Embrace the good, and learn from the bad. 

What are some of your favourite stress-relieving activities?

There are 2 things that I love doing! Watching FRIENDS on Netflix, because it makes me forget all the chaos around me. Secondly, hitting the gym. Gymming is my kind of therapy. 

If you could give one sentence to encourage other women at a crossroads in their lives, what would you say?

I know it’s tough. You might feel unsure, lost or even like you’re not enough, BUT TRUST ME GIRL… YOU ARE A WARRIOR, AND YOU’VE GOT THIS! 

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Beat the stereotypes and embraces the differences. Find out more about our celebration about diversity in our community from our interview series:

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