Chai & Chats with: Iqbal from Desi Desciples

“People can’t take a brown person seriously in hip-hop”

Chai & Chats

 Read The Asian Destination’s exclusive interview with Iqbal from Desi Desciples.

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Chai & Chats with: Madina Rahman

She may still be in high school but she has a voice way beyond her years. Madina Rahman (MR) is surely set for great things in the near future and talks to The Asian Destination (TAD) about her career plans, college and Madina Music.

Madina

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Chai & Chats with: Veena V

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From the very early age of 15, Veena V has been one to watch in the radio industry. She was awarded ‘Best Radio Presenter’ at the Channel 4 Talent Awards in 2008 and has interviewed the likes of Nicole Scherzinger and Jay Sean but still has many ambitions waiting to be fulfilled. The Asian Destination (TAD) talks to Veena V (VV) on her success. 

TAD: Veena, you made your mark in the radio industry from the early age of 15. What was it about radio that made you want to pursue it as a career?

VV: I just always found it fascinating from a very young age. When I was 5 I used to make cassettes for my family and teachers of me playing song and talking in between the tracks – little did I know I had put together a radio show!

I love being on the radio it gives me such a buzz and didn’t really think of doing anything else as a career (except being a teacher, popstar, businesswoman and 100m Olympic runner when I was little!) Working in the broadcasting industry has always been my passion.

 

TAD: You have been so successful in your career already and yet you are still so young. How does it feel that many of your fans have placed you as their role model and look up to you?

VV: I wouldn’t say I’m successful and I’m no where near where I want to be in my life and still have so many ambitions I want to fulfil. Many people don’t realise I’m also a Mum so have slowed down in the last couple of years to really spend quality time with my son. Being a mum inspired me to set up a pregnancy blog called www.VIPregnancy.com to document it all.

If children aspire to be like me that’s a honour but I wouldn’t call myself a role model.

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TAD: In 2007, your Q2 RAJAR figures were 107,000 listeners and you beat the Breakfast Show figures which is really surprising. Have you faced criticism or jealousy in the industry? How do you deal with it all? And what advice would you give to individuals looking to break into the entertainment industry?

VV: My show and listener figures on Club Asia Radio has been one of my career highlights. I loved my time there and learnt a lot. I haven’t encountered any jealousy in the radio industry but I have come across many people with big egos!

I’ve actually just written a blog post about how to be a radio presenter and I made a YouTube video on my 3 biggest tips to get into the media industry. I update my blog regularly so be sure to check out lots of radio and TV presenting advice on there if you’re trying to bang down that door.

TAD: Veena, how important is your Asian heritage? And how do you incorporate your ethnicity into your everyday life. Have you found it difficult to balance cultures and traditions whilst living in a British culture and lifestyle? Was your family always supportive of your career choices?

VV: Being Mauritian is important to me but I wouldn’t say it’s built into my everyday life. I never knew the Asian music industry existed and how important it was to people until I started working at Club Asia, I was blown away by it.

My parents have always been so supportive and just want me to be happy. They really are the best parents in the world and are my role models.

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TAD: You have interviewed some huge names such as Nicole Scherzinger, Imran Khan and Jay Sean. Have you ever got really starstruck or tongue tied? If so, with whom? How do you deal with nerves on air? Who are you yet to meet that you would really love to?

VV: I don’t think I’ve ever been starstuck except when I did my first celebrity interview at the age of 16! I love Nicole Scherzinger, she’s even more beautiful in real life.

I would love to meet and interview Diddy and Richard Branson. They inspire me. I wake to Diddy’s Instagram pictures which really motivate me for the day ahead!

TAD: You already have a number of awards such as “Best Radio Presenter” at the Channel 4 (4 talent) awards in 2008, and host`The Shaadi Show’. What can we look forward to hearing and/or seeing you on next?

VV: Keep an eye on my blog for all my latest celebrity interviews and where you can hear me on the radio next www.VeenaV.com

Photo Source: veenav.com

Want more updates from Veena V? Follow her on Twitter!

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Chai & Chats with: Arjun Coomaraswamy

Chai & Chats with: Natasha Sandu

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Chai & Chats with: Pavan Ahluwalia

Chai & Chats with: Malika Garrett

Chai & Chats with: Amilla Javed

Chai & Chats with: Jesbir Bahia

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Chai & Chats with: Natasha Sandhu

By now, you must have heard of the extremely talented Arjun Coomaraswamy.

If not, check out our interview with him here.

Behind every successful artist is usually a very organised management team and Arjun’s is no different. However, not only is Arjun’s personal assistant committed to helping promote his talent, Natasha Sandhu is also a full-time qualified doctor, singer and model.

The Asian Destination finds out how she manages to balance being an integral member of Arjun’s management team, her own creative projects as well as a career in medicine.

Natasha Sandhu

TAD: How did you first become Arjun’s personal assistant?

NS: I first met Arjun when we were assigned to sing together at a show, over 4 years ago now! That very moment I heard him sing at our first rehearsal I thought,

“Wow this guy is destined for big things”.

I was so blown away by how humble yet talented he was which meant helping him a no-brainer. I’ve believed in him from day one and he is now one of my best friends, which is why he trusts me to be part of the team. Since then, I’ve become increasingly involved in helping with his day-to-day affairs, touring, online PR, styling etc alongside his main management, Crown.

I’ll always have his back and work hard to help his talent get recognised.

TAD: You’re a qualified doctor, what stage are you in your medical career? What is your specialty/what are you hoping to specialise in?

NS: Yes I’m a full-time working doctor now, which shocks a lot of people in the media industry. I qualified 2 years ago, so work is really busy with increasingly more responsibilities.

In the long term I want to be a General Practitioner since you build long-term relationships with patients, there is more scope for variety and I find the daily work in hospital specialities too repetitive.

Plus I’d have more flexibility to keep travelling, helping Arjun with his music, and doing my own projects, as they are all passions I cannot give up! But I love A&E so I plan to locum in that for the excitement.

I’ve also had an interest in international health promotion and human rights since I was a teenager (UN and Amnesty) so I want to take time out of clinical medicine and get more involved with that later.

TAD: Are we right in thinking as well as your PA job and medicine you’re also an aspiring singer and model? Tell us more about these other passions of yours.

NS: Err, yes I can sing English R&B/pop and have performed a lot but I’m not planning a singing career!

My favourite performances involve a Beyoncé song since I am OBSESSED with her!

If you have heard Arjun’s Kabhi Kabhi I sang in that with my ‘sister’ Shivali but I cringe singing it since I’m not fluent in Hindi (yet!).

Nowadays I don’t sing solo since it’s only been a hobby for me, and there is no time. On tour though, whether it’s Kabhi Khabhi or an acoustic cover of an English song, I love singing on tour with Arjun.

I’ve done mainly editorial modelling since I was 14, but it’s been on and off due to medicine meaning I cannot make most shoots in working hours.

It has picked up again though and I’ve had some fun shoots in the past 3 years with my agencies.

It’s something I don’t talk about much since I do it for me rather than to talk about it, and I’ve experienced girls becoming judgemental or jealous in the past so I’d rather keep most of it to myself. However, I LOVE fashion, so when opportunities have arisen I’ve taken them since I don’t want to regret it later.

TAD: Is there anything you can’t do?! Should we be looking out for you on the next series of The Apprentice?!

NS: Trust me I’m useless at SO many things! I can’t act, I can’t play a bunch of instruments I’d love to, I can’t rap (haha imagine!), I’m not as multi-lingual as I’d love to be… the list goes on! Doing multiple things doesn’t mean I’m amazing at everything I do or that I don’t wish there were other things I could do. Besides nobody multi-tasks as well as my mumI swear mothers are superhuman right?!

Natasha Sandhu

TAD: Most doctors find it difficult to juggle medicine and other personal commitments, how do you find time to balance a second career whilst also pursuing other interests as well?

NS: My dad always taught me to “work hard, play hard” so it’s down to him! Ever since I was at school, I would study but every evening I’d have a different extra-curricular activity. I just liked being busy even then. I’ve never needed 8 hours of sleep and my diary is my life – organisation is the key; you have to know when to say no and what your limits are.

TAD: How do you stop yourself from burning out? How do you relax?

NS: Spending time with family, especially my sister, and friends is important to me. It’s definitely the best way to relax – you can’t replace girly nights-in! I’ve recently tried yoga plus the occasional massage also helps! I like going to the movies, working-out, shopping, and reading.

Travelling has always been one of my favourite things in life and I have fortunately grown up going abroad to a different country with my family every year. So as manic as touring with Arjun can be at times, I do find it relaxing in itself and I want to see as much of the world as I can before I die.

Natasha & Arjun

TAD: And what advice would you give to other people out there that may have gone down one specific career path but may be thinking of switching?

NS: Actions speak louder than words so if you want to do something different even as a hobby don’t waste time! Don’t ever regret not trying something if you’re passionate about it. But take calculated risks; if you’re worried about switching careers and possibly risking everything just wean into your new path part-time. Then if you think it will work for you great, and if not at least you have tried rather than wondering ‘what if?’

TAD: What’s next for you?

NS: I will have important medical exams over the next 3 years so I can’t wait to get them done and focus on the speciality I enjoy. Arjun is releasing his first mainstream single ‘Take It Back’ very soon so I am very busy with that release (you guys will LOVE it!) and we are finalising his album and talking to international music labels. I’ll continue to travel as much as possible, stay happy, and who knows what else the future holds!

We wish Natasha all the best with her future endeavours.

Be sure to check out Natasha on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Have a listen to Kabhi Kabhi here:


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Chai & Chats with: Jesbir Bahia

from Destination: Interviews

Happy Durga Puja

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from Destination: Celebration

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Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

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Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination

Calling All Arjun fans!

We’re excited to announce…

On Friday 2nd August 2013 we will be featuring an interview with Arjun Coomaraswamy!

Arjun

UK’s newest R&B sensation answers questions from The Asian Destination so watch this space and check back on Friday for the full interview.

Meanwhile, we’ll leave you with a couple of videos that led to his initial success!

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Chai & Chats with: Jesbir Bahia

The Asian Destination Links

Follow The Asian Destination on Twitter: @theasiand

‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/theasiandestination

Follow us on Instagram: @theasiandestination

Chai & Chats with: Amillah Javed

Business owner AND still a student?!

The Asian Destination (TAD) talks to Amillah Javed (AJ) about how her online jewellery company started & what makes it so unique!

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TAD: Tell us a little bit about Precious Pieces. The face behind the name, how it all started. Is this your sole profession or more a hobby that turned into a business venture?

AJ: Well, hello! My name is Amillah Javed and I am currently in my second year of University. I have always been buying sellable jewellery from EBay, local markets and ordinary high street shops and have been selling to family, friends and in my local area. As the years went by, my passion for selling jewellery increased and it didn’t take long to start selling vintage inspired jewellery and scarves under the name of Precious Pieces. Therefore, I would agree and say this started off as a hobby which I am now trying to develop further into a successful online business.

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TAD: You advertise quite a lot of your pieces on social media such as Instagram & Facebook, how do you think social networking sites have impacted on your business so far? Do you think there are downsides to it as well?

AJ: I think the world has moved on and more and more people have started using the internet, or should I say “social networking sites” to do their shopping from personal items, household grocery, gifts and much more. It is definitely an easy option to sit and browse the internet from home, work or wherever internet access is available. As a result, I think my business benefits from this because everyone (online buyers) are so addicted now and have turned online shopping into a habit. Ultimately, I believe social networking sites are powerful and are seeing a dramatic growth!

However, there are also disadvantages because an increasing number of people have started to create businesses solely through social networking, like myself. Therefore, this means I have more competition in this constantly expanding society.

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TAD: How do you feel about other rival jewellery companies working in the same way? What makes your pieces unique?

AJ: If you have the determination and enthusiasm to set up a business online, this makes it much easier to start a business. Currently, I have noticed that more and more people have started to work in this way! I’ve learnt that in any field of business, you will always find competition lurking right around the corner. So, other rival jewellery companies challenge me to become bigger and better more than anything else!

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Precious Pieces offer affordable, stylish and vintage inspired jewellery and scarves which are different, startling in design and appearance. So, whether you’re looking for that statement piece to add sophistication to your outfit or you want a quirky, unique touch – Precious Pieces have got you covered and noticed within a crowd!

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TAD: You donate 10% of your profits to charity. What are your views on corporate social responsibility?

AJ: I think that we are all capable of helping others in whatever way possible and by donating 10% of my profit to charities (chosen by my audience) is the best possible way to help the needy. Therefore, by purchasing items from Precious Pieces not only helps my business to grow but you are also helping those who are suffering and need help in this world right now!

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We have been donating to Islamic Relief towards the Syria Appeal and hope to start supporting many other charities too.

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TAD: What’s next for Precious Pieces?

AJ: We are looking forward to starting up a website soon and although we are in our early days yet, we hope to expand further and further. With the love and support we are currently receiving, we are hoping we will go far!

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Last words: WATCH THIS SPACE & check out more jewellery on Instagram: PRECIOUSPIECES13
or Facebook: www.facebook.com/PRECIOUSPIECES13

Want to get in touch with Amillah? Email her at preciouspieces@hotmail.co.uk

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Now, are you a devoted fan of The Asian Destination?

One lucky reader of The Asian Destination will win a scarf, necklace AND bracelet from Precious Pieces!

To enter this free giveaway competition,

you need tofollow @TheAsianD on Twitter

‘Like’ & tag both The Asian Destination & Precious Pieces

whilst sharing this post on Facebook:

‘Share this post to enter The Asian Destination’s free giveaway & have the chance of winning freebies from Precious Pieces’

Hurry though! You have until midnight 21st June 2013 to have a chance of winning!

Good Luck & Happy Friday!