Saniya Kantawala is a Mumbai based interior designer. She’s also a dancer by passion and a globe trotter.
#sheisthecity #sheismumbai #theyarethecity
Her design career started off with a bang. At age 17 she worked with architect Ashiesh Shah, the man who designed Ranbir Kapoor’s house and Nido Restaurant. At the time she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do but she did however have an eager eye towards design. She worked with Ashiesh for about 2 years while she was studying her bachelors in commerce from HR college. After that, she studied interior design while at the same time working side by side with a real estate company as an in house design consultant for 2 years. Needless to say Saniya is our multitasking queen! Straight after graduation she boldly started her own practice having gained enough experience in the field.
As far as dancing, well let’s just say she used to jiggle before she could even walk.
…when I was about 3 and a half yrs old when I first saw a prabhu deva music video on the song mukabla.I got so intrigued with that dance that I replicated the whole dance just by watching the video every day and showed it proudly to my whole family everything in terms of dance just picked up from there.
Her thing in life? Anything and everything that has to do with a process. That’s what she absolutely loves about her job, the process involved in designing.
Design is a process and every day when I to work I see that process getting executed and built from whats in my head to reality which is very satisfying to see, that’s when I realise I love what I do and in the end all the challenges and obstacles that come In the way are worth it.
Dancing on the other hand helps her break free. Very early she started dancing for her school in interschool competitions. She trained in bharatnatyam for 5 years and also studied ballet from a young age.
I started teaching dance in Shiamak Davar’s institute when I was 16 years old and had my own classes running for a while as well. I street danced for intercollegiate events while I was in college and also studied a 5 subject dance diploma recently. To me all this has been one hell of a process.
Saniya is a woman that believes in evolving every single day, hence she does not define herself a certain way. Being a woman in her line of business is not alway easy. Many people still say it’s a man’s job, even today. Her job includes going to unknown sites dealing with 50 men – this for most people is still taboo. But, she believes there is so much a woman with creativity and passion can bring to this field.
Being a true Mumbaikar, she can’t compare her city to any other. Mumbai is home. It’s difficult to define exactly what she loves about the city but whenever someone mentions it, she instantly gets a sense of home. She also loves travelling and discovering new places.
Like most entrepreneurs, Saniya has quite a disciplined lifestyle. She wakes up at 7am every day except Sunday. She works out and starts off the day with design work. She’s out on the field most of the time. Working for herself gives her the freedom to not be restricted to office hours. Once she is done with work, she heads to her dance class. After dance, she goes home, freshens up and spends time with her family. Her day usually ends with a good book or watching some tvo. By 10.30PM it’s usually lights out… Her top 3 habits? She has an OCD towards organizing. Sometimes she can get a little random and last but not least she multitasks.
Saniya is a down to earth woman. Her family, thanking God every single day and giving back, are things she considers very important.
Giving is important(give how much ever you can in any possible way you can) in the end that’s what matters.
Her advice to women out there?
Don’t be afraid to reach out. If you know exactly what you want, go for it. If you don’t then take time to figure what you want because only when you do what you love you are going to be happy… Dont make hasty decisions. Be i ndependent, don’t bank on a man for money, try and earn your own in order to call yourself his equal.
As always we will end this post with our interviewee’s favourite quote(s)…
Life will always knock you down, but its upto you whether you choose to get back up- The karate kid.
Don’t doubt in your beliefs for if you doubt in your beliefs you will believe your doubts- Dad
Money saved is the money earned- Dad
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