It got me wondering, what the term ‘joy of childbirth’ really meant – then I spoke to Shilpa Reddy: daughter, wife, daughter in-law, model, social worker, designer and now a mother of a 2 month old tiny ‘Rock star’; as she lovingly refers to him. My interview with Shilpa was not only insightful, but also heart warming, as she spoke to me of her family, her work and her journey to today.
Coming from a conservative family, how was it entering the pageants?
I contested for Miss Andhra while I was still living with my parents. My father was much stricter than my mother, so I took my mom into confidence and made her swear to me that she won’t tell my father about it. I hardly expected to win the contest and when I did, I guess it was all that my father needed to assure him, as he too was very happy for me.
Once I got married it was all much easier. Unlike a lot of women, for me my career really started after getting married to Preetham Reddy. He had lived in the States for many years and his family too was very broad minded (sister-in-law, Keerthi Reddy was an actress) so they were all very supportive of my passion. Even when I got the offer to contest for Mrs India, Preetham reassured me, that if I have an opportunity coming my way I should take it up - I won Mrs India 2004. Luckily for me, the foundation on which Preethan and my relationship is based on, is very strong.
How about education? Is it true that people in your field of work have no time for education?
It all depends on how serious and how dedicated you are. I mean if you want to do it as a hobby, you can squeeze in going to regular college. There is always the option of open school, distance learning etc. I however did continue to finish my studies. I went to Toronto, Canada, to get a degree in fashion.
In your line of work, eating disorders must be a common thought process?
Oh God, yes! I've known and seen so many models suffering from eating disorders. They felt that it was the only way to look thin; skinny and anorexic if you ask me. Thankfully, I had an edge being fit; I always ate right and worked out right and was never even so much as inclined towards an eating disorder.
How does motherhood feel?
It feels wonderful. Motherhood came to me naturally. My age was right, my current frame of mind was right and I have a wonderful husband, and my career is at a secure level, where I can afford to take some ‘baby time’ off, so it all fell in place for me. Being a mother, I believe, comes naturally for a woman after giving birth. I am very comfortable doing my duties as a mother and enjoy every minute of it. I guess this is proof enough that I am ready to be a mother.
You are a designer and you have taken part in various social activities, especially in spreading cancer awareness; will you still have time for all of this?
Definitely, social work is something that does not require constant effort. I know I’m not a big celebrity or anything, but there are people out there who take my saying things seriously, and if I can change one of their lives to a healthier safer one, then I can truly say I have achieved my goal. My husband’s family too takes social work very seriously. Preetham’s aunt owns an organisation, which helps people suffering from mental disorders and those with suicidal tendencies. I visit there to be a part of it and help out.
As per work, I have slowly cut down on modelling and pageants and have settled down with my own line of clothing called Shilpa Reddy; named after me as I felt that my name Is already known out there, so why have anything else! When I found out I was pregnant, I set out my work for the next six months, so that when I have my baby, I will be able to spend quality time with my little one.
Now that you have a baby, do you feel that the meaning of celebrating festivals has changed for you?
Not at all. I was always very involved in celebrating Hindu festivals; my parents have installed this in me and I hope to do the same with my children. It’s true that this navratri I might not be able to do everything myself, but with the help of family and my very good house-help I will definitely continue to celebrate.
Are you pro or anti cosmetic surgery? If you had it, would you talk about it?
It all really depends on what you are getting done. If all you want is a mole removal or a dimpled smile then you could, but if it’s a more serious cosmetic surgery then you must avoid it; why intervene with nature? I personally never got it done and it’s not even an option. I feel that in changing your physical appearance so drastically, you actually end up changing your identity and in the end you don’t recognise the person on the other side of your mirror.
And with that thought, my interview with Shilpa Reddy ended; do check out her line of clothing sold at Revania, or her couture tailored clothes.