Life By Asha Singh

August's theme of Women Empowerment is in full swing! Every Friday this month you can expect an interview with another #girlboss and get to know what keeps these Queens motivated to do the mostest! This week we chat to Sheena Deepnarain, a South African actress and blogger, living in Johannesburg. 




1. Growing up, who did you look up to as your female role model?

When I was a kid Oprah Winfrey was my inspiration - at 4pm every weekday I would watch The Oprah Winfrey Show - I loved her zest for life and her story was that of an ordinary woman who did extraordinary things to become the leader in media that she is today. Someone who worked hard, carried herself well and educated her way forward.

2. What is your definition of "beautiful”?

The term beautiful has become such a derogatory term and the placement that society has always put on it - therefore beauty for me as cliched as it may sound is not defined by the physical, it’s for me defined as your character, morals and integrity - and that holds true value to me.


3. Which actresses do you think best embody the term #girlboss?

Priyanka Chopra without doubt embodies this for me - she steered her career so strategically and left her mark in Hollywood - it’s so admirable and empowering to see a brown lady achieve this. 


4. Being in the entertainment industry yourself, how do you handle petty girl on girl hate?

I found the perfect solution to handle girl on girl hate - and thats to totally ignore it - if you don’t fuel it, it will eventually fizzle out. I'm also really good at identifying trouble makers and just choose to not be in their company and remove them from my life - I do that for anyone with negative energy.


5. How do you think women could better motivate each other?

Over years we’ve been taught by society that we are our own worst enemies, however the woman movements have liberated us in our thinking to break free from how society expects us to behave and how we actually are.
As woman I truly believe that we are loving, caring and nurturing by nature, we are not abusive of power and leadership (of course with the exception of a few) - therefore I truly believe that taking very calculated steps toward being the empowered women we want to become is essential.
For example - We don’t have to be “bithces” to each other for ratings or parade ourselves according to narrow-minded perceptions of beauty to get ahead - these platforms and storylines were created by men and women need to captain the boat and steer a new, and of course improved perception of women in media and the workplace where we support each other and have all types of beauties represented so that even minority groups feel beautiful and have something to relate to in a positive perspective.


6. And now, the biggest question. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?

I’m absolutely a feminist - how can I not be? As women in 2018 we are still not seen as equals or treated with simple decency on various levels.
I can give you an extremely long list of how disproportionate being female in 2018 is in comparison to a man - it’s not only in my own interest to always bring these issues to light and fight for fundamental rights, but it’s so important for women who come after us to not go through the same struggles we go through and not be limited to what they can achieve because of their gender.


7. Let's talk about your blog! Tell us a bit more about Pot of Gold?

Pot of gold began as a creative outlet for me, when I took a year off to travel and just indulge in life's pleasures. To my surprise it caught the interest of many and when I came back to South Africa I saw it as a viable business.
It’s a lifestyle blog aimed at bringing to light the South African Indian culture - something we unfortunately see so little of in a optimistic, non-mocking light.
The genres include travel, beauty, fashion and features my dogs from time to time with detailed information of how the latest trends and brands I work with can help compliment your lifestyle.


8. Tell us a bit more about yourself?

I’m an actress and blogger and hopefully soon to be film producer as I embark on my first film adventure to produce local content that tells real South African stories portrayed by the amazing South African talent we have which is quite exciting and the next chapter for the second half of this year.
However, when I’m not acting, blogging and producing - I’m a simple lady who loves the gift of life we have been given and try to make the most of it.



9. If you could give your 13 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t grow up too quickly, as kids we want to grow up and be adults so badly - but when you an adult you realize you literally have the rest of your life to be an adult and only a few precious years to be a kid.


10. Lastly, where can we find you? 





August's theme of Women Empowerment is in full swing! Every Friday this month you can expect an interview with another #girlboss and get to know what keeps these Queens motivated to do the mostest! I'm kicking off this series today with an interview with Michelle Meilhon, a South African blogger living and working abroad in the Netherlands as an au pair. She's actually a close friend of mine who I met exactly a year during a blogging event! 





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1. Who is your female role model?

Lilly Singh - She is the person who I look up to, someone who keeps hustling regardless of how she feels. She makes sure that everyone on her team is taken care of as well as her fans. I like that she always tries her best to be the best possible person she can be as well as to speak up about subjects that are sensitive! 

2. Being the amazing make up artist that you are, what are your top makeup and beauty tips?

Beauty starts from within. Don't be mean to others and put people down to lift yourself up. That's not cool
Always use a good moisturiser. Seriously. Don't skip that. There are a lot of different types of moisturisers out there. Don't think that because your face is oily you don't need to put anything on. When you don't moisturise your face your body over produces oil and then you become more oily than necessary. 

3. What do you look for in a (female) friend?

Honesty and low maintenance. I am that friend who is really busy, probably travelling and I need someone who understands that and respects that sometimes I am busy and unable to chat to you. Honesty is so important to me and I always want someone to be honest with me. If you don't like something I did, please talk to me. Don't hold a grudge or spread rumours about me. Let's be adults and talk about it. Bonus points if you can tell horrible dad jokes!  

4. Now, the best question. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?

Yes I do. A feminist is someone who fights for EQUAL rights for BOTH men and women. I think that everyone should be treated the same regardless of whether they are male or female. That is with everything in life. From professional work situations, sporting events as well as the law. I often see people who fight for equal rights but when it comes to things like going to court for say child walfare, most of the time the court goes with the mother because the kid grew in her uterus. 

5. Now on to travel, what are some of your favourite cities and why?

New York was the first City I had been to when I left my own country for the first time so it will always have a small piece of my heart. I love the fashion there and how no one judges you because they have their own problems to deal with. It's also one of the only cities I know where you don't need to have money to explore it as so much of it is free. It also helps that it has Broadway which is my first love as well as free Lindt samples lol!  Boston is high on that list too. I visited there in December 2015 and I fell in love with it. I loved the streets; the architecture; the vibe. It's like country meets city in the best way possible. In terms of Europe, Rotterdam definitely has my heart. Rotterdam was bombed in WWII which left it pretty flat except for about 3 buildings. They have since built it up and added the weirdest buildings. Every time I go past the buildings, I remember why I love the city so much! It's not just the architecture but also the vibe of the city that makes me love it! Delft is my favourite small town. It's also in The Netherlands, about a 10 min train from Rotterdam. It is a college town and hosts some of the best architecture students in the world. It's so small you can throw a tennis ball from one end to the other but somehow always makes me so happy to go there. It hosts amazing canals; cafe's and the famous Delft's Blauw ornaments (they are the blue and white china that is so famous. Adoringly came from this small town)  


6. What tips do you have for meeting other #girlbosses while traveling?

Instagram and Facebook groups. Remember when your parents told you not to meet anyone off the internet? Well you use Uber so that's out the window. I target female based groups on Facebook and meet up with people that have similar interests to me. On Instagram I use the geo tag for the area that I am trying to make friend's in and then go from there. It's good to form friendships first by liking and commenting on their stuff and take it from there.


7. How do you keep old friendship alive while always traveling?

I enjoy having low maintenance friends so I guess it is easier that way. I also will make sure I know what they are up to on social media. Most of my friend's are on social media so I always keep up with them that way. I have a few friend's who I call on a weekly basis, sometimes all we say is hi and bye. Sometimes it's long conversations but it's all about effort. The most important thing I would say though is if something reminds you of someone, let them know. I am a visual person so I always take a photo and let the person know I was thinking of them. It makes that person feel fuzzy inside and you'll probably make their day! 

8. What do you miss most about SA when abroad?

Food mostly! Seriously, why doesn't the rest of the world have All Gold tomato sauce and tomato flavoured chips that are actually nice? I evidently have a thing for tomatoes. Currently- The Netherlands doesn't have Salt and vinegar chips for some reason so that makes me sad. 

9. Tell us a bit more about yourself?

Well I am a professional AuPair. I have been travelling abroad since 2013 while doing what I love. I look after children with special needs which is very close to my heart. I am also a professional makeup artist; hairstylist and can probably sing more Disney songs than you know.  

10. Tell us a bit more about being an au pair?

Being an AuPair is hard. I am not going to sugar coat that. Most people think that it's all fun and games and you travel a lot. The truth is it's flipping hard BUT totally worth it

11. If you could give your 13 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Screw what other people think of you! Everyone has their own issues they are dealing with so be extra nice and listen extra hard to them because you never know whose day you are making by simply listening. 

12. Lastly, where can we find you? 



Happy Women's month ya'll! 

August is definitely my favourite month because so much attention is placed on empowering women as well as women's issues. 

And for some reason, August has also inspired me to get back to regularly blogging! For the past year I've slacked so much with only 7 blog posts (compared to posting every single week last year). 

But I'm officially back with a new post every Wednesday (Just like old times!) and a completely redesigned website. So sit back, relax, and expect some amazing new content on Life By Asha Singh every Wednesday! 

P.S there might be a little surprise at the end of this post too!

P.P.S what do you think of the new website layout and design? I tried out something that's easier to read on your cellphone. And I think it's pretty lit.




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1. REFLECT ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WOMENS DAY


This is a must for err'body. Don't forget the reason for the season, yo. Just to recap on your high school history class: 9 August (i.e womens day) commemorates the 1956 march of about 20 000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. The march was against SA's pass laws that required South African's classified as "Black" under the population registration act to carry a "dom pass" or internal passport. The first women's day occurred on 9 August 1994 and is now based on the principle of striving for equal freedoms and rights and bringing to light womens issues such as domestic violence. During the march, the women stood silently for 30 minutes and then started singing protest songs. Why not just take 5 minutes to quietly reflect on the position of women and womens rights in society today? I would recommend a drive to a serene place like to beach to just take a moment to feel thankful.




2. SPEND THE DAY WITH YOUR #SQUAD


There's no better way to spend the public holiday than with your girls! They've got your back through and through so why not celebrate them! Here are some idea's on what you guys can do:


  • Have a girl power movie marathon. Both Buzzfeed and Bustle have lists of amazing feminist movies to watch but here are some of my favorites : The Hunger Games, Mulan, Bridesmaids, Divergent, Pitch Perfect, Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Princess Diaries and The Help. So grab your popcorn ladies!
  • Coffee Date to discuss new ways to fight the patriarch of course. 
  • Pamper Day! All this fighting for equal human rights can get tiring, so grab your female ninjas and have a spa day. After all, those legs deserve a pedicure after attending all those women's month marches.

3. SPEND THE DAY WITH YOUR NO.1 LADY I.E YOUR MAMA


Behind every Princess is a Queen! One thing I've noticed about some of the most ambitious women I know is that they have strong moms they look up to as a role model, and there's no better way to spend Women's Day than with your Queen Mama Bear! If you're lucky enough to live close to you mom (And not over 8000km away like me *sigh*) then take advantage of that and have some bonding time. Why not have a movie day or dinner with mom?


4. GIVE BACK TO OTHER WOMEN/ORGANISATIONS


One thing I admire most about the women who took part in the 1956 march is that they were so self less and still united for a cause they believed in. Instead of doing something that benefits you on 9 August, give back to the community. There are so many ways you can do that. Donating to an NGO, volunteering or even just by being a part of an organization empowering women in South Africa


5. READ ABOUT OR LISTEN TO THE STORIES OF OTHER INSPIRING WOMEN


This is one you can do in a few different ways. Women's month is filled with local events with talks by inspirational women that you can attend. You could also just plan a lunch date with an inspiring woman you've always wanted to get to know better and ask her the questions you've had on your mind (Or better yet just hit her up on IG or DM her the questions you've always wanted to know. Beware, some people think they're too famous to reply to DMs. Don't be one of those people.) 



Luckily, I've got your back and I'm making this step even easier for you by featuring interviews with some inspiring women throughout this month of August! Every Friday in August you can expect a new post with an exclusive interview with yet another #girlboss! For now, check out last year's interview with blogger, model and law student, Payal Ramlall.







So I turned 21 last month. Damn, time flies! Because I'm me and super lazy, I've just decided to list 5 of the biggest lessons I learnt before turning the big two zero. Let me know what you learnt before turning 21!

Life By Asha Singh header

THINGS I LEARNT BEFORE TURNING 21


1. STAY IN YOUR LANE

Especially at this age it's so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Your early 20s are so weird. Some people are buying cars while others are passed out drunk on the sidewalk at 4am - and what matters is that both are happy! We're all running a race that has no definite finish line. Some of us want to get married and have 2 kids, others want to travel the world and some want to become Buddhist nuns (*Uhm long story). The motto here is the 3 G's - Goals, Growing and Glowing! As long as you're doing those 3 you're okay baby girl!
life by asha singh oribi gorge kea zulu natal south africa

2. IT'S OKAY TO CHANGE YOUR MIND

Since entering the big bad world after finishing school I've changed my mind about what I want to do SO MANY TIMES. I've dabbled in so many things, changed my mind so many times and I'm still not sure what I want out of this thing that we call life. And you know what? That's okay. It's okay not to know and it's sure as hell okay to change your mind. What I'm proud of myself for is taking the leap and trying out all these different things. If I didn't try out Mechanical Engineering back in 2015 I would have never knew how much I would hate it! That brings me to the next one.

via GIPHY

3. TAKE CHANCES

My other motto lately has been - "What's the worst thing that can happen? You could die." That's it, literally the worst that can happen. And you're going to die anyway. So take that chance. It just makes it all the better knowing you tried and gave it a chance. The goal is no regrets so we have to take these chances.
life by asha singh oribi gorge kea zulu natal south africa

4. CUT 'EM OFF

You meet A LOT of people at this age. And this is where you have to be extra selective about the people you keep close. Luckily for me I knew this from early on. However people also change, and you change. So even though they were "your people" at some point, this doesn't mean you'll feel that way after a year or 2. It's okay to cut people off. It's okay to tell them to GTFO of your life.

5. LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE NO MATTER WHAT AGE YOU ARE

This is sometime I've tried to live by since school days. No matter what age or life stage you're in, make the most of it! I don't miss school - but I think I make the most of that stage in my life. Now I'm not saying you're early 20s are perfect - you're constantly tired, hungry and broke and that sucks. But we just have to make the most of it. We look pretty AF. We have minimal responsibilities. We have the world at our finger tips. We have so many opportunities knocking at our door. And best of all hangovers are still pretty much nonexistent for us. I'm going to enjoy every moment of 21, and every other age, and one day I know I'm going to look back with no regrets!

In the past year I’ve probably been to King Shaka International Airport around 30 times. Whether it’s just to drop off or pick up someone or to go on another adventure, this airport has become my second home. Now anyone that knows me knows that airports aren’t my favourite thing in the world (It's no secret!). They generally aggravate my anxiety and cause me to freak out a little (Okay, a lot). But since it’s absolutely impossible for me to totally avoid airports, I had to come up with my own game plan to “deal”.
Here are some of my tips to making the most of your experience at King Shaka International airport!


Source: Unsplash


2 March 2018 is SheDecides Day. The SheDecides movement is founded on a belief in "a world where every girl and woman can decide what to do with her body, with her life, and with her future."

she decides day 2018 life by asha singh


South Africa is also a part of their worldwide campaign with the SheDecides Flagship Event, to be held in Pretoria, 1st March 2018 and bringing together over 200 young people and politicians from Eastern and Southern Africa. 
Posting a blog post every single day is SO MUCH WORK. Anyone that knows me knows how lazy I am, so this is so not working for me. Next week will be business as usual, with just one post on Wednesday, but since I committed myself to this, I'm going to finish this week. Thanks to everyone thats been reading and supporting me! You da real MVP.
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As you should know by now (It was all over socials!) Oprah won the prestigious Cecil B DeMille award at the Golden Globes last month. What made her speech even more inspiring is the context - last year was a crazy year for women's rights activists! From the Women's march in the beginning of the year to the #metoo movement, women (and some men) were't holding back.

A lot of the things she said really stayed with me this past month. If you haven't listened to her speech, I would highly suggest you do. But in any case here are some of the quotes that really spoke to me. 


No, definitely not Larry Nassar


A bit off topic but just on Monday, 5 February 2018, Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison for years of sexually abusing over 200 women and girls. The doctor was well known in the Michigan gymnast community for his treatment of injured athletes. 

He claimed that his "pelvic floor" treatment which involved him putting his fingers into young girls' vaginas was a cure for a number of physical injuries. A number of his victims even included Olympic gymnasts. How people actually believed this for so many years is beyond me!

Okay, Asha, that was random, why are you going on about this Nassar guy? Well Larry Nassar is just another of a long line of sexual assault cases the media has been shining their spotlight on lately. And that's why TIME magazine's person of the year for 2017 was such an important breakthrough.

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TIME'S PERSON OF THE YEAR FOR 2017 IS...

THE SILENCE BREAKERS (THE #METOO CAMPAIGN)

"We can't all be sluts, we can't all be asking for it."





On the blog I tend to talk about touchy subjects like politics, social justice and even feminism, so it's only natural for me to want to talk about money. I've divided this blog post into 2 parts - the first part deals with what's currently happening in the stock market and especially this weeks stock market turmoil. The second part deals with my personal take on investing and money. 

Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on the topic of money and the economy, and my knowledge is limited to second year economics modules (Which I did get distinctions in just BTW ;)). 


UPDATE: DAY ZERO has been moved to 11 May due to more people, farms in particular, following the water restrictions. YAY! This is amazing news because Cape Town's rainy season starts in the winter months (June, July, August) and this will hopefully mean the rainy season starts in time. There is, however, no certainty around whether Cape Town will actually receive enough rainfall during the "rainy season" to make up for the 3 year drought.



I hated geography in high school. No, like really hated it. Geography class made me want to jump off the nearest bridge (My geo class was on the 4th floor so I might as well have jumped out the window tbh).
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