Priyah pawani is a model and an actress. This Indian resident in Oman has represented her country across the world. With her talent and titles, she has decided to make a difference in the world.
She bagged the third place in the ‘Mrs. India Empress’ and the ‘La Femme Worldwide’ pageants in the year 2018 and 2019 respectively. Being the face of many commercial and social campaigns the actress has taken the industry with storm. Read about her journey in this interview with Team Storiyaan.
Questions and answers
How did your journey in the modeling industry begin? Did you plan it or was it a 'spur of the moment' decision?
My journey was unplanned. I had done a few shoots in my childhood days and that was it. Then, during my college years, my best friend registered my name for various Inter-college dance and drama competitions. I also participated in various fashion shows.That is how I developed an interest in Modeling. It was only later that I got seriously involved and invested more time learning it.
You represent Indians in Oman, there are a lot of differences in the cultures of both the countries, so what difficulties did you face? What message would you like to give to the Indian women across the globe?
Like India, Oman is a home to different nationalities and has good ties with India. I spent most of my life in Dubai and Oman so I didn’t face any issues as except for the language, I consider myself Omani, by heart. My message would be to simply recognize & embrace one’s roots, traditions, and values. To be their authentic self and respect one another.
It is often believed that with success comes making a few sacrifices. Did you make any sacrifices or had to let go of anything to be in the place you are right now?
None. I have managed to chalk a perfectly scripted timeline for myself. I only regret to have not taken more interest in modeling during my younger days.
The world engages in debates and speculates about the lives of women in The Middle East. What are some misconceptions or facts that you would like to clarify or confirm about the lives of women in the Middle East?
Oh yes! “Is Modeling allowed in the Middle East?”
“Can women drive?”
“Does one have to cover their head?”
“Are you allowed to work with men?”
Let me just say that Oman is all about Women empowerment and most of the artists I have worked with, are strong, independent, and talented women. Women, in the Middle East, are just like strong women around the world. They too are capable of maintaining a well-balanced career & family.
Throughout your career, were there any moments when you wanted to give up? What made you keep going, and how did you cope with it?
I am motivated by creativity, and when I don’t get that in projects, I give up easily. God has been kind to me. Every time I felt like giving up, I got new opportunities and projects to explore, such as Mrs. India, and through that, La Femme worldwide. Through their constant support, I have established a few connections in India, and I’m looking forward to working with them soon.
Who are the mentors who helped you a lot not only in your career but also in personal life?
Every single person I have worked with is my mentor. I am in touch with the photographer who shot my first portfolio. His feedback on my work still means a lot to me. Generally speaking, I consider my father to be my mentor.
What makes you anxious, and how do you control your anxiety?
When I am not prepared or unaware of my role in a certain project, I get very anxious. I like to plan and be prepared in advance. Well, I am still learning how to control my anxiety. I have been practicing the art of ‘think less and just go with the flow.’
You have shared screen space with a lot of Omani actors, can you tell us about your experience while working with them?
It has been wonderful. Thanks to them, I can create my niche. They have an immense amount of respect for people irrespective of one’s status or credibility. They have been a real inspiration and have taught me to be humble, warm, and patient.
You were the face of Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) campaign, can you tell us something about it?
PACP project was a turning point in my modeling career. I wasn’t fully aware of its importance until I saw the photos that gave a strong social message. I was happy that my face was associated with a big cause and not just a glam quotient. I felt like I was finally doing justice to my work, and through my photos, I was able to do my duty of a responsible resident.
"I knew for sure I would make it after the preliminary rounds", you stated this after you stood third in the 'Mrs. India Empress' pageant 2018. What made you feel like that? What were your immediate thoughts after winning the title?
I am quite intuitive that way. I had a feeling that I would bring a crown home. But I didn’t have a clue as to which one would it be. This feeling amplified and I became more confident when I was motivated by my pageant mentors. I was relieved, ecstatic, and excited. It gave me a new purpose.
We often see women putting away their careers after marriage. How does it make you feel to have made a significant difference and paved your way to the runner ups of Mrs. India Empress 2018?
It’s funny because I never thought about it. My family has always been supportive, and I thought every family is supportive of their children’s dreams. I was ignorant of the fact that some women are not allowed to work after marriage. When I did my first photo shoot, the photographer with whom I was working for was amazed to know that I was married, and my family was fine with me pursuing a career in modeling. Reality hit me much later when I got to know that lot of women don’t get to follow their dreams after marriage. I am truly privileged and blessed to be able to do what I love with my family’s support & love and set an example for many women out there. With my experience and expertise, I want to support platforms that help and encourage women to come closer to their goals and fulfill their ambitions.
Being an avid traveler yourself, you regularly showcase your Traveler's diary with your followers. Which is one place that you consider as your dream holiday destination?
Yes, I enjoy traveling. I can’t stay in one place for a long time. One dream holiday destination would be Majorca, Spain.
Having competed with pageants from various countries, you went on to win the La Femme Worldwide 2019. Tell us about your experience.
La Femme Worldwide 2019 was very challenging. Although I had a rough idea of the pageant journey, it was only my 2nd competition with contestants from all over the world-famous in their country. Our mentors were well-known names in the pageant, Modeling, and film industry. The pressure was immense, and the stress level had hit the ceiling. All I knew was I wanted to take another crown back home. I was completely dedicated and focused, made sure I was committed to all the training sessions, and with the support of the La Femme team and mentors, I was able to perform to my fullest potential. It truly was an emotional moment when I won.
You are an influential face in Oman's fashion industry. Can you tell us about your big break?
Every project, shoot or short film I have done is special for me. My biggest break or my proudest association would be the time when I got to be a part of the core team of a non-profitable volunteer group named “One Oman” that focuses on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Top 5 things in your bucket list – i) Go backpacking to Europe for a month,
ii) Visit the best 10 wineries
iv) Visit an elephant sanctuary
v) Hike in the Himalayas..
Define your native place Chennai in one word- “Whistle Podu” or “Singara Chennai”- which means Magnified Beauty.
Your favorite childhood memory- When I met Mother Teresa in Pondicherry, she blessed me with a cross pendant.
A style statement that defines you – My style statement is to make an impact and not an impression. I don’t follow trends at all. It would be Jeans and all colored tops, kohl eyes, red lipstick, and flats.