MC Shivaani Sen — TedX Speaker, Best Emcee Bronze, 2018, and Mrs South India 1st Runner-Up 2019 — speaks to The Optimist about her strengths, goals and dreams in life…
The Optimist: From beauty pageant-winner to entertainer — how do you describe your amazing journey in the world of glitz and glamour?
Shivaani Sen: The world of beauty and glamour moves fast. There’s always something new happening here. I started modelling and emceeing way back in 2005. Emceeing was always more intriguing for me since it required one to be not just glamorous, but also articulate. It allowed me to interact with professionals from various industries from across the world. Hosting an Awards Night one day, a red-carpet ceremony on another, a protocol event on yet another and launch of a prominent brand the next… I had the sweet taste of success. All I wanted was to be challenged with new kinds of events and audiences. The journey continues…
The Optimist: Classy, as well as witty — you have often been complimented as a true ‘beauty with brains’. What has been the secret of success in your life?
Shivaani Sen: Thank you 🙂 I believe class is something that’s in one’s behaviour and not in how one dresses. And that’s something you can’t buy. I thank my parents for not just giving me these wonderful genes, but also inculcating good qualities in me from my childhood. I learned the value of hard work from my mother. And, from my father, I learned the ability to see humour in the most difficult of situations. The secret of my success, as in any other profession, lies in focus. I try focusing on each event that comes my way and on each moment of my work instead of spending time on social media. Besides, a good fitness routine keeps my mind agile.
The Optimist: You have taken show-hosting to a different level. In the digital era, where every moment is closely watched and analysed, what, according to you, are the basic qualities of a show host?
Shivaani Sen: Anchors are actors on stage. They have to play a role depending on the type of the show. Versatility takes you far. I’ll categorise the qualities under three major heads:
- Voice: It includes the quality of voice, accent, modulation and so on. Even if you say something simple, you can sound great with how you say it.
- Dress: Live events are visual. Whether you’re wearing an Indian attire, or a Western cocktail gown, dressing up according to the show’s requirement is important.
- Creative writing: It’s a job that requires one to play with words. At the end of the day, what you say is more important than what you wear or the quality of your voice. Practising creative writing begins with reading books.
The Optimist: Being a TEDx speaker and a star with much fan following, what is your advice to youngsters who wish to pursue a career in the entertainment arena?
Shivaani Sen: I think today’s youngsters are much smarter than those in the earlier generations. But, from my experience, I’d say the entertainment industry has the most hardworking people of all. They bring smiles to the audience. This industry demands professionalism.
I remember falling off a stage and, in the next instant, getting up and continuing with whatever I was doing for the next 2 hours. The next day, I was blue all over. We work for the happiness of the audience. We work as part of a team. Even a star on the job is part of the show director’s vision.
Finally, I’d say, just focus on growing your own skill sets. And applaud your peers’ growth, too. This industry would want to make you believe you’re the best. But, trust me, there’s always someone better. Don’t let success get into your head. Never forget to spend time with family and real friends.
The Optimist: Do you think stars from South India are getting their worth in mainstream media? There’s always been a debate whether the media is biased in appreciating talents from the South.
Shivaani Sen: If I’m dead honest, no, they’re not getting their worth in mainstream media. I understand that most viewers want to know about the launch of a new star kid instead of someone who delivers a smashing performance in a South Indian movie. But the media has the power to highlight talents from the South and bring it to the same audience alongside news about a star kid. Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether a talented artist is from the North or the South. But the media does need to consider that South Indian viewers are everywhere, not just in South India.
The Optimist: What’s your plan for the future? Are you planning to act in films, or curate a show on TV or social media?
Shivaani Sen: I’m at a stage where I have multiple opportunities in front of me. The choices I make right now will shape my future. I have acted in numerous TV ads in the past. I’m open to movies at present.