Dream Catchers: Inspiring stories behind 40 women achievers from Vizag

From seeing a dream to striving to achieve it; we at Yo! Vizag take inspiration from some amazing women achievers in the city. With each of them having a unique story behind their achievements and diverse scale of operations, these 40 women achievers prove that all one needs to do is dream the reality they want to achieve.

40 women achievers from Vizag:

1. Indira Vankineni, Venkatadri Vantillu

It was in 2002 that Indira embarked with the meagre sum of 5,000 rupees to financially support her family. With a stove and two helpers, she began making snacks. After receiving a positive response, she introduced the sponge dosa, which went on to become her signature dish. Her tiffins soon became crowd pullers and her customers named the outlet as Aunty’s Kitchen. It was only in 2006 that she officially named it Venkatadri Vantillu. Though she shifted her restaurant at least half-a-dozen times, the unwavering loyalty of her clients remained constant. Known for offering food like dibba rotti and kesari poori, her delicacies have been hot favourites among Tollywood stalwarts including Late Dr D Ramanaidu, K Raghavendra Rao, celebrated Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and commoners alike. What started as a one-woman army is now a team of fifty dedicated staff.

2. Satya Chanduri, Sampoorna

While most believe in destiny, there are few who write their own stories. Despite being specially-abled, Satya home-schooled and passed matriculation with sheer grit. While attending interviews after graduation, she wondered about the spate of rural handicapped women. Deciding to help such ladies, Satya founded an NGO – Physically Handicapped Welfare Association in 2000, where she began training them in various fields. Realising that training them alone will not solve the problem, she started to employ women and market handmade products, under the brand Sampoorna in 2005. From candle making to cooking homemade snacks, from stitching cloth bags to manufacturing sanitary pads, she encourages them to choose their forte. Over the past twenty years, she has empowered over three hundred women and made them self-sufficient. To stay relevant and expand the market, she now plans to get a machine which manufactures winged sanitary pads.

3. Sayeeda Ali, Artist

Specialised in Reverse Painting, Sayeeda Ali’s sojourn in the field began three decades ago. While pursuing Bachelor’s in Fine Arts, she hosted solo shows across the country, exhibiting her art work. After her marriage, she moved to Canada, and thereafter travelled to the US, France, the UAE, Malaysia, and Singapore. The artist held exhibitions at each place and garnered universal recognition. However, in the meantime, she was gradually losing her ability to hear. But Sayeeda believes that this only brought her closer to art. Imbued with a rare sensitivity, and delicate colour play, her Nature series, Living Room series, Gangireddu (bull) series are just a few of those gems which unravelled the beauty of the ordinary. Throughout the years, Sayeeda encouraged people to paint and continues to raise a sense of self-love in them.

4. Hema Mangalagiri, HN Invitations & Design

It’s never too late to follow a dream. Graduated from Bombay Catering College, Hema worked with the likes of Taj Group and McDonald’s. She moved to Vizag from the US when her husband decided to start a seafood export business. Though Hema was helping her husband, she wished to do something all by herself. Having noticed the same old invitations and gifting options, she made boxed invitations for her daughter’s wedding. The attendees came back asking if she could design their invitations too. Soon, Hema along with her sister Naina, began HN Invitations & Design and there’s been no looking back. From making unique invitations to elegant packaging of gifts, she does it all. Her start-up has now created a substantial market in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Telangana too. At sixty, Hema is now planning to expand the footprint further and share her design and execution expertise with more clients.

5. Uma Raj, Green Valley Foundation

Hearing the heartbreaking experiences of alcoholics and their families from her father, who was a health officer, influenced her deeply. At the age of 14 years, seeing a family lose someone to alcohol addiction left an impression on her. When she got married and relocated to Kolkata, where alcohol and similar addictions were a lifestyle among the affluent, she was unhappy and joined Mother Teresa’s NGO as a volunteer. With an MA in Sociology, she also studied psychological counselling to aid her volunteering. Things took a turn when she moved to Vizag and found the city perfect to start her Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for alcohol and other chemical dependents. Started in January 2005, the centre has treated over 3000 patients so far. She also works with various corporates and institutions as she looks to widely spread the message of welfare.

6. Syed Salva Fatima, Saashri Jewellers

She saw opportunity when jewellery that she got made for herself, kept getting appreciated by people she did not know. Having returned from the UK in 2009 with plans to start a play school not panning out, she decided to do something in the jewellery line instead. Heading to Kurupam Market, she got the goldsmiths to make a few designs. It was definitely a new learning curve for this Phd in Finance, who only had experience in working with banks up till then. Focussing on lightweight jewellery, and getting a few designs made became the starting point. In approximately 8-9 months, things started picking up, and in 2011, she started working from a home studio. By end of 2018, she set up an exclusive boutique store called Saashri Jewellers, after the names of her two daughters. She hopes to make more alluring jewellery for brides in the days to come.

7. Rajini Chitra, Pollocks School

When Rajini was married into a family of educationists in 1999, she had no clue that she would come so far in this field. Back then, her mother-in-law Vijayalakshmi Chitra was ably running Pollocks School with a strength of 700 students. With her unexpected demise after nine months, Rajini stepped into her shoes and introduced advanced teaching methodologies. Though they were initially met with resistance, faith in her administration was restored with students securing district-level ranks in Board examinations. Since then, there was no looking back. Over the past twenty years, she, along with her husband, expanded the 56-year-old institution into nine campuses with over five thousand students. Having set up Pollocks Intelli School, a CBSE affiliated international campus, two years ago, she now plans to start aesthetic early learning centres for toddlers in the city.

8. Alka Jaju, Sugandhikaa

When Alka ventured professionally into offering florist and decor services, she had little idea that it would take her this far. It had all begun as a hobby when she hosted a party upon her friend’s request. The event was an instant hit with the decor taking centre stage. One event led to another and twenty years down the road, she has evolved as a decorator, who specialises in unique floral themes. Under the banner of Sugandhikaa, she designs venues as per the clients’ requirements while maintaining her unique style. Over time, she has not only earned a name for herself, but also employed several women, making them self-sufficient. With no plans of resting on her laurels yet, Alka wishes to reach out to a larger audience and grow as a prominent name in the decor business.

9. Jayshree Hatangadi, Heritage Narrator

For 63-year-old Jayshree, the age of retirement marked new innings. Having worked across the country, her tryst with Vizag restarted in 2006 when she returned post-retirement to start primary schools in remote tribal areas. Made Director of School Year Abroad’s Indian operations in 2008, she grew deep rooted with Vizag’s heritage as she would take US students to see Vizag. She soon became an INTACH Life Member. A heritage narrator who enjoys taking people on ‘Vizagapatam One Town Heritage Walks’, this vibrant and energetic persona also works to save heritage sites. Involved with students in tribal villages, she helps improve education, hygiene and livelihood skills. While most complain about things they don’t like, Jayshree chooses a few causes, and takes them up enthusiastically and whole-heartedly.

10. Radhika Satish, Radisa

Next on our list of women achievers from Vizag is the founder of Radisa. It has been two decades since Radhika Satish became synonymous with brownies in the city. Curious about chocolates, she always read about them. However, after her son’s birth and with her father’s motivation, she started to experiment being a chocolatier. Slowly, Radisa diversified into fusion and traditional food. Here too her son played a silent role, as she created fusion recipes to convince him to eat right with preferred flavours. Seeing him relish food, these newbies found a place on Radisa’s menu. When her son moved abroad and started facing the challenge of good food, she gave him a few simple recipes. It was he who suggested making these available for students who have similarly relocated to Vizag. Thus, came various traditional food combos. Now 5 years old, Radisa has 3 branches with integrated menus, 2 chocolate exclusives and going forward she plans to expand across Andhra Pradesh.

11. Jayalalitha Koneru, Swagrama Food Court (SFC)

Everything, they say, begins with an idea. When Jayalalitha proposed to start a confectionery three decades ago, she didn’t expect that the brand would soon become a household name in the city. Known for her culinary skills among friends and family, she would make large batches of sweets on special occasions and send them across. Their appreciation motivated her to start Swagruha Foods in a small space in 1991. Back when Andhra delicacies (sweets) were not available in shops, she began selling her signature bobbatlu. After a good response, she introduced sunnundalu, pootharekulu and other traditional savouries. Soon, she was outsourcing for events like weddings, birthday parties and other festivities. Upgrading the store to a food-court, she renamed it as Swagrama Food Court (SFC) and now has four branches across Vizag. With her children next in line to take over the business, she envisions a brighter future for SFC.

12. Alka Kumar, Alka’s Kitchen Academy

Having moved to Vizag about 19 years ago and worked as a Montessori teacher, it was the lack of work satisfaction, which drove Alka Kumar towards her childhood love of cooking. Always inclined towards it, she decided to start baking and cooking classes. Her education of nutrition sciences in Higher Secondary and Diploma in Home Science, made it easier for her to understand the technical nuances. From starters to main courses and desserts, the demands diversified and so did Alka’s offerings. She was also excited to see her students come back with keen and varied requests. A journey that started in her house is now continued from her Academy’s kitchen. In these two decades, Alka has taught people who range from individuals to restaurateurs, to kids. Also, interestingly, as many as three generations of some families have been her students too.

13. Aruna Gali, School Radio

Leaving behind a lucrative career in media, Aruna involved herself in various projects since 1999, promoting environmental education in schools across India. After realising that youngsters have always been listeners rather than active participants, she decided to bridge this gap through online radio. With her husband by her side, Aruna started her dream venture – School Radio on World Radio Day in 2015. With experience as a content creator, she designed a 3-day training module, where school students are taught how to record and edit songs and stories. Recognising her efforts, she was given Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitisation through Web Medium in 2016. She has trained over 3,800 students and 400 teachers and published 14 books in Telugu, English and Sanskrit, helmed by these kids. With these, now reaching national platforms, Aruna is looking forward to implement the programme in more educational institutions.

14. Vani Gannamani, CSR Head, Fluent Grid

This interior designer by passion and the Head of CSR in FluentGrid by profession, is full of joie de vivre. Enjoying the process of designing her space since childhood, she would be ever-ready to help friends in selecting furniture or draperies. This led her to earn a diploma and explore her passion on a larger scale. However, over time, and with the devastation of the city’s green cover with Cyclone Hudhud, she started to take up greening efforts with employees of FluentGrid. Garnering good response, led to her heading the CSR operations. Deeply involved and extremely committed to the work, today Vani devotes her time to making the office space plastic free, keeping the city clean and green, and helping implement other much-needed smart initiatives. She also works towards identifying and supporting causes that lead towards a smart city.

15. Anjali Dange, Starlite Nutrition & Wellness Center

Deciding between hotel management, which was her first choice, and medicine-that her family wanted her to pursue, was what pushed Anjali to pursue the proverbial middle path. Taking up a course in nutrition, she followed it up with 15 years of working in Bangalore. Shifting to Vizag with two young children, Anjali did not want to stop her career, and so began her stint as an online nutritionist. Counselling a few friends, Anjali soon started to work out of her husband’s office. As the number of clients increased, she took up her own space. Today, Starlite Nutrition has grown through word of mouth. The ability to help people suffering from complicated cases and improve their health parameters has been a major motivator for her. With a few things in the pipeline, the coming days will probably see them branching into other cities and food service as well.

16. Dr. KVL Suchitra Rao, Prajwal Vani Welfare Society

When Suchitra’s physically challenged sister was refused admission into every normal school she applied at, her father took a bold decision, and enrolled both daughters in a school for the physically challenged. This became a turning point for her, as she saw first-hand, the difficulties such students were facing. Beginning her career with the Jana Shiksha Sansthan in 2009 and using her skill-set of sign language, she started training the physically challenged. She slowly set up Prajwal Vani Welfare Society in 2010. Realising that mentally challenged children are uniquely gifted, she began working with them since 2012, and now helps those with limitations, to explore avenues to make them self-sufficient and attain their potential. She hopes to set up a retreat for the physically and mentally challenged, as a place where family members can comfortably leave them for a short duration, when they are travelling.

17. Salma Mehdi, Sujok & Reiki

Calling it a blessing in disguise, Salma Mehdi started practising self healing after she accidentally fell while playing throw ball and suffered spinal injuries in 1994. With doctors advising her against spinal correction and pain killers not offering a permanent solution, she came across Sujok and Reiki. Convinced by the logic and with her situation demanding her to accept this alternative, she began taking the treatment. She gradually noticed unimaginable relief. Fascinated with this, she started researching and learnt about how one can work on their energies in the body to heal themselves. Two decades down, she has treated many patients in India and beyond. She remains updated through workshops and is a certified Sujok practitioner who heals from home.

18. Balakondala Rao, Kuchipudi Kala Kendram

Introduced to Kuchipudi when she was a child, and tutored under the renowned guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, Bala Kondala Rao sought perfection even as a nine-year-old. Today, in her 60s, she has emerged as a Kuchipudi exponent both nationally and internationally. Disheartened by the fact that the State’s Dance of Kuchipudi is not as popular as it should be, she runs the Kuchipudi Kala Kendram. Here, this doyen imparts her knowledge to many children, and is lovingly addressed as Balakka. Recipient of the Kala Ratna Award, conferred by the State Government in 2012, she also won the Sangeet Natak Academy Award from the Central Government for her contribution to Kuchipudi. Impressed by her work, Documentary film-maker Dulam Satyanarayana also filmed this legend in ‘Balakka: Dancing with tradition’. Keen on nurturing talent, she takes the legacy forward through her younger son Aditya and elder daughter-in-law Amukta Maalyada, and through her many students.

19. Yasmin Khorakiwala, Oleander

When her child had trouble in class, Yasmin’s first-hand experience became a triggering point. Pursuing a course on Montessori teaching after her BA, led her to take up a job in Chennai where she lived. Here, she saw the impact of the Montessori methodology. When she shifted to Vizag, she started an after school to help regular school children. Imparting concepts of maths and language in a concrete manner using sensory methodologies, and by providing individual attention, she started the Oleander School. Now, 8 years in this line, Oleander focuses on academics and overall personality as it also makes space for a few special students to benefit. And given the success, Yasmin hopes to start another branch soon.

20. Keerthana Grandhi, Vaibhav Jewellers

Born into a business family, charting her path in the line of jewellery was a natural move for her. Drawn into it at an early age, she started by learning operations. A love for numbers, and under the guidance of her father, she began understanding fundamentals, methodologies to scale business, and above all people management skills. After completing her Chartered Accountancy, she was inducted as a full fledged Director. Having had her fair share of ups and downs, she expresses that managing a business at that scale wasn’t easy. She however, took over the huge responsibility of operations. Facing challenges ranging from fluctuating prices to customer requirements, she looks forth to expanding the brand’s reach in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

21. Sirisha Challa, Bake My Wish

This civil engineering graduate took just 1 month of working in Hyderabad to realise that a mainstream job wasn’t for her. She moved to Vizag, where a casually made large batch of chocolates led her to invite friends over. They loved it and started placing orders. Sirisha was soon outsourcing to events, her first order being a chocolate fountain, which her dad helped procure. Never afraid to take her chances, Sirisha started taking up orders despite the sizes and sending products to local outlets too. Subsequently, ‘Bake My Wish’ started in 2009. Slowly, with 10 lakh rupees, Sirisha set up her own bakery by 2013. A fascinating journey that brought her recognition and also the love of her life – her husband, she’s now started a second branch and looks forth to chasing her long-cherished dream of conducting baking classes too.

22. Kumuda Ravipati, Green Twigs

Inheriting the green thumb from her mother, this 30-year-old has been interested in everything to do with plants since childhood. A passion for this MSc Pharmacy student turned to profession after witnessing the denuded sight of Vizag post Hudhud. While her parents weren’t keen initially, Kumuda opted for the ‘literal’ green pastures, to start the ‘Green Twigs’ initiative. Things picked up, and she soon got into urban farming and terrace gardening. Now her family is extremely supportive of her venture, and Kumuda has increased the range of services she offers. These deal with everything from landscaping to corporate gifting, and even going green on a budget. She also continues to spread the green word and takes classes on urban gardening.

23. Nikhita Srivalli, Singer

Life came full circle when a two-year-old who crooned to music that played on TV, lit up the silver screen with her vocals two decades later. Trained under the renowned guru Sri IVL Sastry and Mutnuri Jalajakshi, she rose to fame with Super Singer 8, a singing reality TV show, where she stood as the first runner-up. Known for her crisp and bass voice, she worked as a playback singer for Kannada and Telugu films. The turning point came with Thaman’s, Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava. She lent her vocals to the popular track- Yeda Poyinado which received an overwhelming response. Striking a balance in her academics, this MA gold medallist in Music is currently pursuing a Ph.D. Having worked as an Assistant Professor at Shankar Mahadevan Academy previously, Nikhita continues to take classes at home and dreams to set up a music school in the future.

24. Bhavika Nahata, Dark Love

Watching her aunt make chocolates always left her fascinated, and dark chocolate became Bhavika’s love, for its unique flavour. While she was pursuing her MBA, her curiosity and free time in hand prompted her to make chocolates. Receiving happy notes from the near and dear ones, she shared chocolates with, she along with her friend, started taking orders. This was until she made a career-defining choice and decided to invest her hard earned money of about 3.5 lakh rupees, to do a Diploma in Baking Science and Pastry Arts from Lavonne Academy, Bangalore. Leaving behind safer options in Bangalore, she moved back to Vizag and soon started the brand ‘Dark Love’. It wasn’t easy to introduce the idea of minimalistic cakes, but these eventually went on to become crowd pleasers. Operating from her home right now, she dreams to open her own bakery someday soon.

25. Meghna Koneru, Urban Meal

With her cookery ‘genes’ coming from her father, it was the simple delight of cooking Sunday luncheons with him that triggered Meghna into chef-dom. However eight months ago, while consulting a nutritionist, she was given a diet regime to follow. The monotonic salads seemed to call her out to experiment and Meghna decided to concoct healthy yet tasty food for herself. These recipes found a way out when she sent across a box of salad to her friend who got others to taste it as well. Meghna’s family suggested converting this into a potential business idea. Discussing the viability with her nutritionist who was supportive, the concept of Urban Meal was formed. The salad chef introduced subscription based meals with her family’s support. What started with just 3-4 clientele went up to 30-50 gradually, and continues to grow and expand its offerings.

26. Shuba Darshini, Ralla Bella International School

For her, the journey began when she was looking for a school to enroll her two year old. Witnessing the changing scenario in education and wanting to help more parents attain the same dream of a good system of education, she set up the Ralla Bella in March 2012. Emphasizing that the persona and mental health of a child are more important than a report card, Ralla Bella, has grown with time. Recognising her work, Shuba was conferred many awards too such as the Asia Education Award from the HRD Ministry of India, Kirron Kher, 2016, Rashtriya Siksha Ratan in 2017, Bharat Gaurav Award and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Sadbhawana Award in 2018.

27. Nagashilpa Seethamraju, Coding4kids

After working in the IT and finance space for 16 years in the US, Nagashilpa moved to Vizag in 2017. While looking to enroll her two kids in a robotics course, she found nothing to match her need. Taking the onus upon herself, she soon took a certification from Carnegie Melon University’s Robotic Academy and founded Coding4kids Pvt. Ltd. The center trains children in Robotics, Stem projects and Lego designing. Her efforts paid dividends as two teams, coached by her, won the Championship Awards at the International STEM Youth Innovation Competition at London in 2019. Nagashilpa was also invited as a panelist to represent India at the British International Education Association 2020 Stem Conference. Her team also won the recent stem competition, and prepares to represent India at Kansas city in May. She now plans to extend services to Hyderabad as well.

28. Madhu Tugnait, Icha Foundation

Hailing from a defence background, the seed to serve was first sown in Madhu’s mind when she visited Nargis Dutt’s Foundation for the differently-abled in 1984. Life however seemed to have other plans, and Madhu came to Vizag in 1989 with her husband and set up her boutique Femme Fatale. After running it for fifteen years, she decided to act upon her inner calling and joined Bhagavatula Charitable Trust, where she trained children with minor disabilities. Her desire to foster differently-abled kids, propelled her to start an NGO – Icha Foundation in 2012. Selling a few of her assets and buying an acre of land, she built cottages, brought home three newborn babies and began raising them. Recognising her service, ICICI Bank bestowed her with an award in social services in 2017. With 18 children under her wing, Madhu wishes to establish a special education centre for differently-abled kids.

29. Dr. Kavita Kamineni, ABC Hospitals & Drop N Go

Serendipity, was perhaps what brought Dr. Kavita to where she is today. Being bad at math pushed her to opt for Biology in school, and her teachers nudged her to prepare for the medical entrance over her choice of civil services. She followed their advice, and chose critical care as her primary area of practice in 2010. The demanding field proved gratifying for her, as she felt blessed to be able to make a difference to lives. Passionate about handlooms, and a sari lover, her quest for solutions to laundry woes led this full-time doctor to start Drop n Go. Partnering with her sister, Sri Harita, the duo has built a brand image for Drop n Go in the past four years. Equally passionate about reading and writing, Dr. Kavita now plans to launch ‘Pick a book’ to engage book readers in the city.

30. Divya Das, Greendale International School

Age is just a number for Divya Das, who entered the work scene when she was just 23 years old. Living and breathing the academic business from a young age, it was in 2012 that she took up a serious role. Starting her work with Alwardas Public School, she also took up working with Greendale since its inception. In love with her work since day one, she believes in being quality conscious. Stating that school is the place where the maximum influence happens, she has helped in upgrading and updating the offerings, regularly. In the days to come, she hopes to take on new challenges in the field of education.

31. Ramya Adimulam, Fitness Edge

After having her second child, Ramya struggled to lose post-pregnancy weight, marking the start of her personal journey towards fitness. Developing a keen interest in nutrition, she focussed on a healthy lifestyle and worked out to shed the extra weight. Seeing a considerable change within herself, she planned to launch a gym and studio in Madhurawada, as the locality lacked a good centre. She started Fitness Edge in 2018. Instilling a lively atmosphere at the gym, she included power yoga, Zumba and dance sessions, apart from strength and functional training. Realising the importance of connecting with clients, Ramya conducts monthly wellness sessions and monitors their food and dietary habits. After the success of her first branch, she opened a second one at Gajuwaka. Aiming to address increasing obesity among kids, she now plans to establish a parent-child wellness centre.

32. Lakshmi Teja, Sattva Naturals

Making the cut to our list of women achievers from Vizag is yet Lakshmi Teja. A participant of the Women Startup Programme, by IIM Bangalore under the aegis of NITI Aayog, Lakshmi didn’t take long after B.Tech to float her dream of helping farmers through a business model. Aided by little support, she hit the road at a young age of 23 and travelled to different states trying to comprehend the art of cultivation and the science of producing chemical-free food products. Interactions with industry experts and potential customers soon laid the basis and Sattva Naturals was launched in October 2018. The store now caters to a range of products procured directly from cultivators and has been successful in striking a chord with consumers. Lakshmi currently works towards making Sattva a one-stop destination for natural and organic products in the city. Her exciting future plans include contracting farms, starting a second outlet and perhaps owning a few acres of land for cultivation someday.

33. Paridhi Agarwal, Wrapunzel

Passionate about crafting since the age of 5, little did Paridhi know that her inherent love would become her calling in life in 2012. A Mass Comm graduate, with a diploma in designing, she would often make handmade gifts for her friends and family. Realising that the demand was high, she set up ‘The Craft Factory’, a venture to teach kids the art of paper crafting. Soon, she started taking up customised packaging orders, which morphed into party planning and much more. Working within budgets, keeping a tab on the minutest of details and taking up niche events like baby showers and wedding parties, she shares that sourcing materials used to be difficult initially. While marriage did put her work in the backseat for a while, she’s back with her new venture ‘Wrapunzel’ that offers gifting solutions which are both unique and customisable.

34. Sheryl Bennett, Model

While studying Fashion Communication at NIFT Jodhpur, the colourful local markets charmed Sheryl. She would mix, match and style herself and casually upload pictures on social media. Little did she know, that her unique styling portfolio would quickly lead to a successful modelling career. Kanika Karvincop, a renowned stylist gave her the first modelling assignment, after spotting her quirky Instagram profile. Soon, a plethora of offers came her way. Making a brave choice, she dropped out of college to pursue a full-time modelling career. Under the wings of Anima Creative Management, the twenty-one-year-old model has in a short period, fronted campaigns for celebrated jewellery brands including Tanishq and worked with the likes of Tarun Tahiliani, Gaurav Gupta and several other talented designers. On the work front, she now dreams to work across the globe and associate herself with international agencies.

35. Apuroopaa Reddy, Photographer

It all began with the desire of wanting to capture memories of her school farewell in tenth grade. Apuroopa purchased her first camera with the pocket money that she had saved until then. She next graduated with a Bachelor’s in Architecture whilst exploring her love for photography. Aided by the design principles of Architecture, she soon made a name for capturing images from a different perspective. After working as a photographer at a renowned company, Apuroopa set up ‘Pretty Pixels’, with a few of her friends. Apart from gaining a reputation as a wedding photographer, she even helmed a special series on the depleting Indian rivers. The series not only showcased the sad state of several rivers in the country but also fetched her national recognition. Apuroopa looks to do more such series that carry social significance.

36. Smrite Bhatia, Mrs. India World

Having pursued her MBA from Cardiff University, UK, Smrite Bhatia also took up a course in Styling from Australian Styling Institute in Melbourne. Working as a Visual Merchandiser and Trainer, she never considered herself to be model-material. However, her mother thought otherwise, and enrolled her for the Mrs. World competition. Once she was in, Smrite Bhatia gave it her 100% and put in all the efforts needed for the pageant. With a well-planned strategy and hours of hard work and dedication, she not only won titles of Mrs. Tech Diva and Mrs Ramp Walk, but the Mrs. India World title as well. She now prepares to represent India at the Mrs. World pageant to be held in July, at Las Vegas.

37. Nithya Mutyala, Amoda Handmades

An example of how the reel world inspires real-life, Nithya got the idea of soap making from a character of an old Bollywood movie. However, the fascination of 2009 stayed in her mind only to come back, when she was studying B.Tech in Austria, sometime later. She enrolled for a soap-making workshop to learn basics and researched some more about making handmade soaps. When she learnt about the harshness of commercially manufactured soaps over handmade, it was a triggering point to set up her own studio of soap-making. In 2012, she moved back to Vizag and has ever since been creating handmade soaps, periodically introducing variants to her body care range like body balms, coffee scrubs and so on. This soap maker curates her recipes from scratch and makes them by hand in her studio, and plans to keep adding to the line.

38. Aayushi Jain, Choreographer

It all started a decade ago when Aayushi’s family was insistent about her joining a mainstream course, but her heart was in dancing. She attended weekend workshops in the city, and when one of her friends requested her to choreograph for a family wedding, she jumped at it. The word soon spread and projects started flowing in. This versatile dancer continued so for 3 years until she decided to become a trainer cum choreographer full time. Her passion and dedication gradually convinced her family too. With her dance partner she started teaching at various dance studios and eventually started Broadway Dance Academy. However, her major milestone came a year ago, when she graduated with a Diploma in Contemporary from Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, Bangalore. Now a trained dancer, she practises various dance forms like Latin, Salsa and contemporary, and dreams of bringing varied dance forms to the city.

39. Tanya Dhawan, Tayna

Fashion is her middle name, and her calling came in 2013. That was when this Economics (Hons) graduate who also has a Master’s degree in Fashion Management from NIFT, launched her design studio Tayna. Having a keen eye for detail and the support of parents, worked in her favour. Bringing together an eclectic collection of fashion design, setting up her dream wasn’t an easy ride. During the initial years, finding an audience for her quirky and offbeat designs was challenging. But with time, her not only carved its own market in the city but also reached out to a larger audience across the globe through social media. Today, her collections are much loved by the younger generation. All set to reach new horizons, Tanya plans to expand her label to another city and start an online store in 2020.

40. Alkananda Bodapaty, Instagram influencer

Concluding this list of women achievers from Vizag is a passionate fashion blogger. For Alakananda, it all began when she was pursuing engineering and had started a Facebook group called ‘Go girlies’, where she would discuss fashion. With a following that soon went up to 35k, she ventured into the world of blogging with Being one among the first to initiate fashion blogging in the city, she had to learn everything, right from designing her website to blogging. Her hard work started to pay off as she soon began to collaborate with top of the line brands. From being invited as a TEDx speaker to walking the ramp at an International Fashion Week, the social media influencer has been scaling new heights, ever since. As someone who loves to travel, Alkananda dreams to explore travel blogging and own her fashion label. Today, as a fashion blogger and brand influencer, she has a growing community of admirers on social media.

PS: No particular order has been followed in listing these names

This post was last modified on 05/04/2020 6:21 pm

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Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty locks OTT release date on major platform

After a long break, admirers of the 6-foot beauty Anushka Shetty witnessed her comeback on…

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Officials crack mystery of wooden box which washed ashore on RK Beach in Vizag

In an intriguing event which made the public gasp with curiosity, raising countless questions, a…

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Visakhapatnam Police bust 11-member betting gang, 63 bank accounts seized

In a sensational bust, the Visakhapatnam City Police, in collaboration with the cybercrime department, arrested…

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Get on a historical voyage at these stunning heritage sites in North India

Numerous historical landmarks in North India tell the enthralling stories of dynasties, different cultures, and…

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12 binge-worthy releases on OTT platforms today for your weekend dose of fun

With several interesting theatrical releases like Ram Pothineni's Skanda, Raghava Lawrence's Chandramukhi 2, and Srikanth…

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