TV host, emcee, yoga guru and now mother, Anuja Ananthan literally brings new meaning to the phrase “wearing many hats”. From Business 101 to Manasa Yoga, Anuja revels in her passions. Many would recognise her sister, Thanuja, Miss World Malaysia 2009 but Anuja holds her own with her convivial personality, trademark laugh and warm confidence. As she says, “always listen to the feminine wisdom within you”.
In conjunction with International Women’s Day 2018 on March 8, BloomThis, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Doublewoot and DIDA brings you Celebrating Women, a series of interviews with inspiring Malaysian women, bringing change to their own industries, workplaces and communities.
We chat with Anuja about family, passion and being a mother.
BloomThis (BT): Tell us about yourself.
Anuja Ananthan (AA): Well, I’m a KL girl, born and bred in KL. I had many pets when I was growing up, so my house was literally like a mini zoo. We had pigeons, birds, fish, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, you name it, everything. When I was growing up, I was this tall awkward kid in school. I immersed myself in sports and was a state-level netball player. Thereafter, modelling came as a lucky break. I guess everything started from there. What modelling did for me was help me understand myself better as a person in how to express myself.
BT: How do you sisters support each other through life’s moments?
AA: As twins, I guess it’s just about talking to each other and being there for each other whenever we can. Sometimes, I think because we’ve been together as twins for so long, we tend to think that either one us will be there and take each other for granted.
BT: How do you split your time between all your passions - yoga, hosting, emceeing and now motherhood?
AA: At the end of the day, it’s about knowing your priorities and planning around them. What I usually do is, I have a daily to-do list and I tend to tick it off from there. It might not be complete, in the day, but it makes sure that I stay on top of things. For example, if I have a day full of classes or jobs, I make sure that I take time for myself in between, just to get a little breather to recharge. I’d probably meet my best friend for lunch and then, move on to the job or to the next yoga class.
BT: Who is your biggest role model?
AA: My mum! Mum always taught me, from young, to be very independent. I remember when I was in school, she would ask me why I needed a boy to help me carry a chair in class when I could carry it by myself. I guess my independent streak started from there. I also love Oprah Winfrey. I think her feminine energy is very real and evergreen.
BT: Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! Now that you are expecting a baby boy, what’s the most important thing you’d like to teach your child about women?
AA: I’ll tell him that he should always cherish women and their beauty and fragility because ultimately, that brings out a woman’s grace. At the end of the day, even if a woman acts masculine, if you cherish her and be soft with her, she’ll automatically become soft.
BT: Has motherhood changed your perspective on life and your own femininity?
AA: It’s definitely changed my perception in life. Now that I’m going to be a mum, I realise many things, especially now that I’m going through so many changes - physically, emotionally, mentally. What I realise the most is to always listen to the feminine wisdom within you. I think it’s about taking time to be receptive and listen and ultimately, take action. We might not know what we’re doing sometimes but it’s important to listen to that feminine wisdom. I think our feminine curiosity as women is a very unique gift. So, always, always, listen to your feminine curiosity.
BT: Do you love flowers? Which?
AA: Yes, I do. I love white lilies, white roses and sunflowers.
BT: What do you love to do with flowers?
AA: Usually, I receive them in a bouquet and I’ll put them in my favourite vase at home. For me, waking up in the morning and seeing fresh lovely blooms really lightens up my day.
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