Ramona Arena

A Model and a Poet Get Real About Following Their Hearts

In a world where everyone has an opinion on what to do or not do with your life, what is it like to do all that you want to your heart’s content without paying much heed to what others say?

ROAR 2019 which took place on 09th of March 2019, was a day for women with an eclectic mix of entrepreneurs, artists, businesswomen and homemakers, dedicated to all the women to go out and #DoYourThing. Dedicated to this very cause, was an authentic panel discussion, witnessed in ROAR with the gorgeous model turned actor Teena Singh and producer turned poet & writer Yahya Bootwala.

Teena Singh for ROAR 2019

Teena Singh, a model who wanted to move out of her hometown to live a life exploring possibilities, is now a successful actor and model who helped change the perspective of the advertising world with her brown skin and a strong mind to survive in the advertising world.

Yahya Bootwala for ROAR 2019

Yahya Bootwala, on the other hand, is the writer of the beautiful poetry piece “Shayad wo pyaar nahi” that became the talk of the town in 2017 and went viral over the internet for the honest feelings behind the poem.

Teena is from a conservative Punjabi family from Ludhiana who was meant to be married off after she turned 18, but chose to work her way to achieve her dreams even after being rejected because of her complexion. She believes “You have one life and you gotta live it on your own terms” and had a difficult time making all around her, including her parents, believe in her vision of her future. In spite of lack of monetary and emotional support from family; she made it in the big city.

For Yahya, it never began with one path. He chose to do a regular job along with open poetry. He understood that it was not easy for people around him to accept his dream because there are very few people in this world who actually achieve what they want in life. All he could do was put in all the effort in achieving that dream and never stop, and he knew that the very same people criticising now would applaud for him someday.

Choosing an upper hand in quality, Yahya chose a short film project, a year later in his poetry career, despite having many offers because, for him, the quality of his work could not be compromised.

“Whenever I write something, the only question I ask myself before putting out anything on my channel is if this was an honest opinion of mine. If it was something which was not me 100%, I would scrap the idea and would not put a piece until I believed in it completely. If you start something new, it should feel right to yourself first”.

Yahya believes that he is just a person trying to be himself and wishes to be a mirror to his audience so they can look at the content and somehow find themselves in it.

In a world of creativity, the sad reality is that it is the business that sells. Thus, maintaining the right balance between creating and putting it out in the world through a tedious process of showcasing has to be struck.

Teena agrees with Yahya saying, “If the voice or marketing of your product is not loud enough, no one knows of your existence, thereby decreasing the value of your product. Especially, if you are not a star kid and are new to the industry, you have to work ten times harder than others to make your voice be heard in the world.”

Elaborating on the point of Nepotism and stereotypes, Teena explained the various criticisms she faced for her skin. Yet, when she was selected from one big name, suddenly a lot of offers came her way. Appointing this as a mindset problem, she says, “If one brand advertises a certain way, suddenly, a lot of brands want to forge on the same path and make their own social status.”

However, for Teena, it was never about this social status. It was about accepting herself in her skin, by going past the perspectives of beauty, and achieve what she always wanted to achieve.

This panel which included two people, who rebelled in their own way to find their calling, was to show not just the positive sides of the entertainment industry but also the negative sides of it and keep the discussion going so that a change can be made in how people think and act. We all have been trained to think in a very certain way ever since we were born, but it’s time to break away and start working upon what would make our hearts happy.


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