Stories of Resilience:

Stop The Noise And Focus On You

Her Story:

Name: Priyanca
Born: Mangalore India
Lives:  New York City
Handle: @priyancaraophotography

I was born into an academic family of professionals. The norm was to either before a doctor or an engineer and marry into a rich family!

My parents wanted my brother and me to be in the same school growing up, so I went to a very academic boarding school in India that was not a great fit for me. Although I was the odd ball at the school, I was encouraged to make my own path and explore in a creative way. But keeping up academically with gifted kids was challenging.

I was definitely one of the black sheep in my class and school. Daydreamer and I struggled with performing well in my studies. My test scores were low and I was considered not as gifted as the other kids. This made me feel inadequate. The school initially was not a good fit for me.

My parents recognized my struggles and let me explore art and other creative paths during my vacations at home. They encouraged me to participate in art projects at school and this really helped change the school experience in my senior grades.

I put more effort into what I enjoyed like art and sports and met more like-mined students, even within the school’s academic setting.

I had an art teacher who recognized my struggles and took me under his wings. He encouraged me to participate in competitions and meet others who were creatively driven.

There was a time when I participated in an inter-school art competition and won first place. The metal gave me confidence and reiterated my talent. This motivated me to apply to fashion school and I eventually studied Fashion Design at the London College of Fashion. I am one of the few students from my school who is not a doctor or an engineer.

I surrounded myself with more creative people and expressed my frustrations to my teachers and my parents. I took the time to create a portfolio of art that I worked on a regular basis. I took extra art classes whenever I could in school and outside during vacation. I had an aunt that really supported me and encouraged me by supplying art material and sharing her creativity with me.

Since I graduated from fashion school I have changed careers twice – From fashion design to Photography. I have always felt that I was in the right place doing the right thing. The one time I felt uncomfortable with the fashion industry and its wastefulness to the environment, I switched careers and became a photographer.

My goal currently is to create a thriving portrait photography business in NYC that helps women feel strong and confident and love themselves. This makes me feel fulfilled and grateful for everything that I was lucky enough to have and to serve other women and make them feel themselves.

Everyday I feel grateful for three things. I dream big and work towards making them a reality. I hope to help with environmental causes and uplift women. I work on documentary projects that revolve around women, old people and the environment.

It is so hard to have the courage to be yourself. Each person counts and being themselves counts even more. Recently Christina Aguilera remade the music video for the 10-year anniversary of her track ‘Beautiful’. The new video shows what we connect with beauty these days because each decade or so we change as a society. We normalize what we are required to be, to be accepted. It pains me to think of the struggles of younger people who have to keep up with the norms of beauty, surgery, peer pressure and social media. We have to stop the noise and focus on who we are and how the world will benefit from us being authentic and true to ourselves.

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