Humanity should be thankful for womanhood for its existence. Not only because of the fact that women are the birth-givers to the new generation but also due to their innate ability to firmly hold an organization together, whether it be family or a professional company. Women are the all-rounders in real-life.
Interview Times had an opportunity to have a great conversation with Munmun Singh, who is the perfect example of an empowered woman. She is the winner of 2019 Mrs India Universe, an anchor, a VJ, a voice-over artist as well as an actor. Moreover, apart from handling all these activities, she gets ample time to spend with her husband and her daughter.
This is how the interview went-
How did Munmun Singh spend her childhood? How was Munmun as a child?
Answer- My childhood can be best described as a journey. It was not a smooth, and a spirited ride like most children have. Right from my early days of childhood, my father couldn’t work for long hours in any organization because of his health issues.
He was having severe cardiac problems. Thereby, during my school days, there were many occasions where my brother and I couldn’t go to school because my parents couldn’t afford it.
Due to economic constraints, I was unable to attend any tuitions during the vital academic session of class 9 and 10. Forget about getting tuition, to support my family, my brother and I, along with my mother, started giving tuition to primary school children. The payment coming from the tuitions became the primary source of income for our family.
Therefore, my childhood was characterized by hardships and hurdles. However, I have zero grievances about my early days of life, as it moulded my rugged personality. Whatever, I am today is just because of my childhood experience.
Today, I can proudly say- I can rise through any worst situation of my life only because of my childhood experience.
When did you start inclining towards VJ and Anchoring? How has been your journey in this creative field so far?
Answer- During the early days of my life, the concept of anchoring was unknown to me. However, it was the year 1994, which had an enormous impact on our country as well as me. That year, India got two gems- Aishwarya Rai as Miss World and Sushmita Sen as Miss Universe.
Though I was still in my middle school during that time and had no idea about modelling, these two ladies inspired me a lot. When people used to ask about my ambition- I use to say I want to become a heroine. ( I was still unaware of the fact that Aish and Sushmita are models and not an actress.)
Also, since my school days, I had an innate strength of zero stage fear. Whether it be debate, singing, recitation or drama, I use to deliver it with perfection. However, it was in my plus two days of RD Women’s College, that I started taking anchoring seriously.
There was a cultural fest in the show, and our senior anchor couldn’t make it to the show. The authorities, then handed me to take the responsibility and as usual, I performed it with utmost perfection. I got huge applause from the crowd as well the authorities which motivated me to take this profession seriously.
However, my family members weren’t supportive enough of my anchoring. Generally in India, especially people hailing from the middle class, stereotype creative field. For them, these fields are just for fun; they cannot be sufficient for earning bread and butter. Therefore, I pursued an MBA and got placed as an HR in one of the most reputed companies of Bengaluru.
During that period, I got my first paid assignment as an anchor. Horlicks was hosting an event for five days, in which I was chosen to be the host for a day. I did that show really well and was awarded the amount of Rs 8k.
However, misfortune thumped again in my life. Just after the show, I got a call that my father had suffered yet again from a severe heart attack. Therefore, I had to leave Bengaluru and come back to Odisha.
In Odisha, first, I joined as an HR in a private firm, which I left within a few months due to an internal conflict. At that point in time, one of my best friends said that why shouldn’t I take the career of anchoring as full time as I have all the capacities to achieve great heights in that field.
Even though I was hesitant at first, I got enough motivation from her reassuring words. At that point of time in my life, I met with two gems- Radha Biswal and Debashis Mohanty- founder of one of the most prominent event management firm of Odisha, Entertain.
They selected me at the first go and the next couple of years is what I could describe as the best years of my life. I did numerous shows for Entertain and became a popular anchor in Odisha.
However, In 2013 my family again pressurized me to opt for a full-time job. They were still uncertain of the future of anchoring in my life. Therefore I joined as an HR yet again in one of the most prominent news agency of Odisha with a team of 120 members.
The next four years of my life, I was enjoying the part of my HR life. Also, I used to anchoring on a freelance basis. During this time, I got married as well. In 2017 my angel baby was born.
It was a crucial time in my life. My hubby knew that I am such a person who cannot sit 24 hours in-home to look after my baby and other household activity. My husband and my in-laws never wanted me to sit at home. The reason why today, I am living my dreams is just because of the assistance of my husband and in-laws.
However, as my baby was born, I had to find some time for her as well. Then my husband said, “why don’t you live your passion? Why don’t you become a full-time anchor?” He motivated me to leave my full-time job, and since that day onwards, I am exploring new heights in the field of anchoring and VJ.
How was your journey of Mrs India Universe 2019?
Answer- For Mrs India Universe title, I would like to thank Jhumti Hota, my friend and the state director who bought Mrs India Universe audition to Bhubaneshwar. She also inspired me to take part in the event. However, at first, I was very reluctant.
My baby was two years old, and I was doing great in anchoring and VJ. For Mrs India Universe, I had to leave everything for three months. Again, my hubby came as a supportive pillar. He said, “it’s your dream, and you are getting an opportunity to relive it. So don’t waste your time, I will take care of the baby.”
The journey of the show was amazing. The best thing about the show was that the judgement was not only upon beauty quotient. The assessment was made by looking into several aspects, such as beauty, personality, IQ and intelligence. The final was special, especially the last round. Somewhere in my sixth sense, after giving the final answer, I thought, that I can win.
I was asked the question if given a chance, what shall I want to change in my life? To which I answered- I don’t want to change anything as whatever, I am today is because of my experience. I got big applause from the crowd and judges.
Several emotions went by when my name was announced as the winner. I was happy to fulfil my dream but was happier that now I can meet my family after three months.
You are a prime example of empowered women. Any piece of advice you want to give to home-makers who want to fulfil their dreams and also to young girls in rural areas who do not get the opportunity to live their life with freedom?
Answer- To the home-makers- I will just say- Do not let your dreams die. Marriage is not the end of your dreams. It’s just another chapter of your life which you can live happily with your partner and in-laws.
The upbringing of children is the main problem which lies in the rural parts of India. In villages, girls are considered as liabilities. The families just wait for a perfect age to get the girls married.
After that, the girl’s life surrounds with managing in-laws, husband and children till death. This particular way of upbringing needs to be changed not only in rural areas. In villages, towns as well as cities, women should be given equal opportunities in the fields of education and work environment.
See, there is actually no need to emphasize the word empowerment. We girls are more empowered than boys. The way we manage our families, kids and our work-life majority of the men will fail to do. We just require the same level of opportunities given to men, and we will aspire in every field of life.
How will you define gender equality?
Answer- Nowadays we feel proud when we say we treat our daughters like son. The day we will treat our sons like daughters that day, there will be the perfect balance of gender role in the world. I am not saying that boys should wear Saree or lipstick, but mothers should teach their son to take care of the household activities as well.
Also, schools have a vital part to play. Please do not make separate lines for boys and girls. Let them be together. Let them be friends. Then only there can be perfect gender equality.
How has CO-VID 19 Pandemic impacted you?
Answer- To be frank, Sayak, till now, the pandemic hasn’t affected me a lot. Yes, of course, like every other person, when the lockdown and the uncertainty of the pandemic became apparent in March, I was taken back. My anchoring life was going great, and suddenly, there is a temporary full stop to events.
However, as I said earlier- I took this pandemic as an opportunity as well. The rest of March, I entirely devoted to myself. I looked after my health, my sleep pattern and my weight and began to feel much better by the mid of April.
After that, I started looking for alternatives. I began doing ad-shoots. Till now in these few months, I have already completed six ad-shoots. I began to explore the field of voice-over, as well.
I did freelance paid HR job as well. Therefore, there were not many constraints financially. Most importantly, I gave time to my family, especially my daughter, who is the happiest person, because of the lockdown. (Laughs)
What do you do in your free time?
Answer- I take care of myself, my family and my daughter. And yes, I love to cook as well.
Any piece of advice to the young anchors?
Answer- There are three mantras to be successful in this field. First- hard work, second- passionate about your work and third- going with an unlearning attitude. If you master, these three qualities, you are going to succeed in this field.
Just a piece of advice to young female anchors- You are much more than a sensuous body. So, be a bit cautious of what you post in social media as it is available to the whole world.
Image Source- Munmun Singh Picture Wardrobes
Interview By Sayak Karmakar- Resident Editor- Interview Times
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