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Women can’t possibly have it all. After all, a working woman who is also a mother is bound to compromise somewhere. If not with her job, then with her family time. The more competitive the industry of her choice, the more sacrifices she has to make. Isn’t that what we all feel?
Supermodel Sonalika Sahay, however, has a different take on the “struggles” of being a working woman in India. Once the face of Christian Dior watches in India, Sonalika walks the ramp all over the world—right from Paris to Milan. And she does this while raising her two daughters. So how does she manage to do it all?
“I guess every working mother balances a lot of things. Women are designed to multitask, so I think we can handle many things together,” she says.
But being a model also means a lot of travelling and being away for home for a long time. Acknowledging the hardships of shooting in distant places, away from her kids, Sonalika says: “For me, difficult days are the ones when I have to travel for many days at a stretch. Then someone else has to manage my kids and home. But I also make sure that after a long trip, I take some days off to spend time with my kids.”
But being a mother hasn’t changed her commitment to her craft. “The way I worked before, is the way I work now. I give it my 100%—and that never changes!”
“Fitness is something that is really important to me,” says the supermodel. “I make sure that even when I am travelling or working, I take out some time for my workouts.”
Sonalika also indulges in sports, entrusting play time to keep her fit. When asked how much time she dedicates to her workouts, she says: “I don’t like to keep my workouts long. Then it becomes boring. I also can’t give it more time frankly—because there are kids at home, work, office and everything else in between.”
When Sonalika started her career in 2004, social media was barely a thought—let alone an ever-invading reality. Today, she has close to twenty-seven thousand followers on Instagram. “Earlier people didn’t have a voice, but now we can hear them,” says Sonalika.
“People who follow me on social media write great stuff sometimes, so naturally it is gratifying to see that you’ve done something and it’s being appreciated. In that regard, social media is a blessing. At the same time, trolling can get very very difficult,” she says.
So, how does Sonalika deal with negativity on the internet? Sharing her experiences, she says: “I have had instances where people have said all sorts of things about me on social media. Honestly, you try to explain sometimes and other times you feel very angry. But then you kind of move on. You need to learn to mute the voices that disturb you.”
There is no denying that women don a lot of hats throughout their lives. From being leaders at work to daughters, wives, and mothers at home. And so, as we grow older—our role in the family and society grows too, believes Sonalika.
She says: “It’s just amazing to see a woman do so much all at once. And when you end up doing all of those things yourselves, your appreciation just grows.”
Talking about working women, irrespective of their industry, Sonalika believes: “Women do a great job! Even when they work for 12 hours straight, they come home and cook dinner and do the laundry. This is something that goes unappreciated in most families.”
“I just feel that it’s very important to appreciate that and I have a newfound respect for all the working women out there. It’s an honour to be a woman,” she concludes.