A new framework that bridges the gap between beauty and wellnessread article
When Tina Ramchandani was in her late teens, she traveled with her family to Mumbai, to attend a cousin’s wedding. While they were visiting, they stayed at the JW Marriott hotel, overlooking the Arabian Sea. Today, the hotel’s design is dated. But Tina’s first meeting with the lobby would prove to be an important moment in her life.
If you walked into that hotel now, you’d be like ‘I’ve seen this.’ But when you’re 18, or 19, you’re like ‘Wow, this is really cool!’ There were many layers to the hotel and it eventually overlooked the ocean and I had this ecstatic feeling when I walked into that place. There was a smell in the air; little bits of glimmer in the metal they were using, you could see through the glass, it was still night time, it was stunning and the lights were sparkling. And I thought ‘This feeling that I have walking into this place - this is the feeling I want to have forever. Whatever this is, I want to do this.’
Tina’s parents were the first from their respective families to go to college before emigrating to the US, so there had always been a clear-cut expectation that Tina should have a career path lined up for her. A doctor, a lawyer, an engineer - some kind of professional vocation that her mother and father knew to be stable and secure long-term. Tina didn’t feel the same way. The intercultural upbringing she’d experienced had manifested in the shape of big dreams; the notion that she wanted to be personally passionate about whichever career path she chose.
When I was in high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. My dad is a doctor and my mom is a dentist and I’m the oldest of three children in an Indian family, so not having a career direction wasn’t their favorite thing. (...) For them, having a steady career was a big deal. But I grew up really American. You know ‘Burgers, hot dogs, I can be anything I want to be, because this is the American dream.’ So there was a big divide - not really tension, but divide - between what I thought I could do and what my parents thought I could do.
There was a big divide...between what I thought I could do and what my parents thought I could do
It didn’t mean that her parents weren’t supportive. When Tina did figure out that she wanted to study interior design, they were behind her 100 % - but for Tina, it took a while to identify what her career would be. She went into undergrad to study business, but researched endlessly while she was studying - looking for that something she had experienced at the hotel in India. The penny dropped when she completed a few introductory courses to interior design in Chicago over summer, and realized this was it.
I think that a lot of my life is luck and opportunity. That, and that everything worked out, plus a little bit of intuition on my part - being able to figure out that ‘Yup, this is right for me.’ (...) My parents were also totally supportive then, with the attitude of ‘You can absolutely do this, we just need to figure out what it is.’ So it was never a matter of them stopping me. They did tell me, when I started my business, that it would be unstable. But me, you know, again - part intuition, part naïveté - didn’t realize how scary it was. So I just did it.
Now, Tina has been running her own business successfully for six years - which she only started after 10 years in the industry. When she reflects around what it is that’s made her stick with interior design for so long, she explains it with the same luck/intuition balance that seems to be a recurring theme throughout her life.
She’d never encountered anything previously that had made her want to apply herself as much as she wanted to with her designs. Arts and history had both been interesting in school, but even those subjects weren’t comparable. She wanted to create emotive atmospheres - like the one she had been encapsulated by at the JW Marriott - and now her style is so distinguishable that it even has its own name: soulful minimalism.
Show everyone the best and the worst parts of you, but own them - own your best, make it shine
The emotive essence is what’s most important to Tina in her work - the feeling people want to have when they walk into the homes she designs for them - and so it isn’t surprising that energy is a key component to her personality. She’s bubbly, fun, and radiates with happiness. These aren’t just positive sides to her. They’re things she’s been able to use strategically in her life, and so are also qualities she’s proud of.
I think my positivity has gotten me this far, because I avoid negative thoughts - and I’ve done it since I was young. I don’t know if it’s something my mom does, but I know my parents aren’t ‘No’ people. They’re more ‘Well, how are you going to figure it out?’ So even now, I always say yes to something - and then I figure out how to do it.
Things don’t hit her as hard as they may hit other people. Her journey has made her resilient and open to immense challenges, taking them on in that positive, can-do way. That doesn’t mean things don’t hurt or worry her, of course. But most of the time, Tina is able to take things with a smile. This is also, incidentally, an aspect of her personality that tends to lead to situations she wishes she could be better at avoiding.
Because I am so care-free, I get taken advantage of. I don’t know how to say no to people. That’s what I don’t like about myself. I don’t stand up for myself and then I get walked all over (...) I’ve gotten much better in my professional life, but in my personal life I still struggle with it.
While you can certainly see how Tina might find herself in interactions where she gets taken advantage of because of her care-free attitude, you can just as easily see how her contagious positivity would bounce her right back into her groove. She walks a decisively happy path in her life. She avoids confrontation, but she does so with confidence. She doesn’t like meanness - so she does her best to practice mindful inclusivity.
And when she talks about what #OwnYourGlow means to her, Tina answers in the intuitive, energized spirit that is so uniquely hers:
I feel like it means that you should shine to your fullest. Show everyone the best and the worst parts of you, but own them - own your best, make it shine. You know, be the Beyoncé in the room!