Introduce yourself? Who are you?
I was born in April and brought up in India. I am a fashion designer by education and a philanthropist by belief and passion. I love hiking, traveling to historical places and monuments to learn about their history. I am passionate and energetic person who believes in waking up with a smile and laughter and go to bed with a smile and laughter to stay positive in life. I am Founder and CEO of a non-profit organization (Mahendra Singh Foundation Inc.) based in New York, to empower women with violent experiences and under privileged background. I love to inspire people and help others to be their best in their mission. I am known for being a survivor of an acid attack, and also for being a patient of the pioneer case of successful reconstructive surgery from India. I learned to adapt and approach many hurdles that came into my life and share the wisdom of self-love and acceptance through my talks and through my work.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
Before the Attack at the age of 18, I was enrolled for Theatre acting and wanted to pursue my dream to be an actor. Also I was chosen to represent the state level lawn tennis by the government to play for Nationals.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My dad told me, if I let my past become bigger than my future, I won’t be able to live the way I want. Heal your mind and never stop. Keep walking, keep smiling.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
Never let anything bigger than yourself effect you. Nothing really matters more in life than becoming best at your work.
What is your greatest fear?
Fear of living too long without knowing what ‘love is’.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Many people have doubt me, in fact some people might doubt me right now. But that doesn’t stop me, these doubts ignite my power to prove them wrong. I believe that people will never stop doubting others. So if they cannot stop, why should one stop their dreams and goals to achieve their destiny with their own positive thoughts.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
Don’t try to become someone else. It is who you are which defines your super power. Be the mirror of yourself, be your own society, be your own idol & be grateful for life to experience infinite opportunities and feelings.
Have you always had confidence in yourself?
That’s what my parents always told me about me. I always stood up for what’s right, I always shoot for the stars. I never let my dreams become smaller than the reality. After the attack, I went to a dark place for a while, but slowly got my power back.
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I live in New York currently, and I love that, this city is a complete world by itself. You can meet people from all over the world. You can experience different culture, tradition, taste and lifestyle. I see people working hard constantly towards their own dreams more than anything. It bring so much joy to my heart.
What do you love most about yourself?
If I set my mind or plan something as philanthropist or as a Designer, I know how to work on it. I am capable of doing a lot, and have the patience to learn from everyone I meet, on an every day basis.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
I think adversity came to my life when I decided to go back to college with a walking cane & bandages on my body & face to finish my degree in Fashion Design. I never let anyone or anything stop me from finishing my studies. Again, at the time of getting a job, no one was hiring me as an Assistant Designer because my look made them uncomfortable, but I never stopped applying for jobs in my field. After 1 year of struggle, I got my first offer as a Designer.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Nothing really matters in life. Practicing a lot of patience and having a right mind set with supporting family and friends is enough for anyone to survive any hardships. Education is the key to my survival. I always believed that “your face changes, your life changes every now & then, but education is the one that grows and stays with you throughout your life”.
What motivates you most?
My dream for every girl, to get support from my foundation for education, medical support and counseling when they need. My work towards gender equality, proper education, good health and peace to people mind that “Life exists”, “Life is beautiful”.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
Discipline! Work never ends, but you have to give yourself time. Keep your mind – healthy enough to do your best work. If you want to achieve abundance of success, you need to make time for both. Life and Work.
What is your favorite meal?
Anything from my mom’s kitchen. Simple organic homemade food.
What do you do on daily basis to grow and more forward?
I just live life as its comes – one day at a time.
Do you have a mentor? If, so what did they teach you?
I have had mentors in my life on every step of my journey. Professors from my graduation colleges NIFT (National institute of Fashion Technology) & Parsons School of Design who taught me that I am capable of many things. I’ve also had mentors who guided me for my philanthropy work. And my constant mentor is my MOM.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
That I am good dancer and I can make people laugh.
Do you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
No! I was always confused with this questions since childhood. Maybe because I wanted to experience many things.
Were you scared to start the process?
Scared no! Nervous yes!
What is something on your bucket list?
To see the world, inspire billions of girls and tell them that life doesn’t end when things looks impossible. It ends when you give up or stop working towards your dreams.
Who is your biggest role model? Why?
My dad! I grew up watching him support and help people effortlessly. His enthusiasm to accept one and all was very inspiring to me.
Where do you find inspiration?
We are surrounded by inspiration all around. So many amazing individuals are setting their mark on people through their work and words of wisdom. You don’t need to go far to find inspiration anymore. It’s right here, it’s happening right now.
What is your biggest passion?
Fashion, I love styling myself in different looks every day and to be able to know my fashion sense instead of merely being an acid attack survivor
MoniCa Singh is an award winning international speaker on various subjects such as Violence against women, Self-Empowerment, Changing the way of perspective