WOTW: Jaspri Panesar
Woman of the week:
Growing up, I always had a very supportive family and still do. My mother has always taught me to become an independent woman and to do whatever my heart desires. My father has always taught me to be a good person, and to always do the right thing. Learning both these things have helped me get to where I am today. When I was little, I was a very shy little girl. I was very quiet at family gatherings, with friends, and other public places. My mother noticed this and she realized that in order for her daughter to be more confident with herself and open up with others and the world itself, she would need to put me in something that would allow me to do that. My parents decided to put me in Nachdi Jawani, which is a dance academy that teaches bhangra and ghidda. Ever since I got put into Nachdi Jawani, I slowly started to open up and became more confident in myself because it allowed me to dance in a public setting. I can proudly say that I have been dancing for about 8 years and have become a part of an amazing girl’s bhangra team called Nachdi Jawani Diyan Mutiyaaran (NJM) and have competed internationally in Boston. Because of dance, I have become more confident, and have learnt many skills that I use on a daily basis. To me, bhangra has become my happy place. A place where I can walk into and shut out all the other things that go on in life.
Fashion. Since high school I have always had a strong passion for fashion. It is something that I hold very dear to my heart. Because of my confident issues, and always having the need to care about what others thought, I was unable to showcase that passion for a very long time. Being a part of a dance team which helped me become more confident, and moving forward to University, I was finally able to express myself the way I wanted to without caring about what other people thought. When I finally realized that other people’s opinions don’t matter to me, I had the courage to put my sense of style out there and finally create my style account @jaspri.style . Being a South Asian female, it can be hard to pursue things like fashion because it is something out of the typical norm for a “brown girl”. Not only is fashion and bhangra something out of the norm but being a third year student at the University of Guelph-Humber in the program Media Studies can be seen as something not so typical for a brown girl as well. You would assume that I would be studying business, law or even becoming a doctor but instead, I am specializing in Public Relations and hope that in the future I can move forward with fashion and public relations. I am very grateful to have parents that support my type of lifestyle, life choices, and are okay with me pursuing different things.
Working as an intern as Laadliyan’s Social Media Coordinator has been one of the best experiences I have had. The cause that Laadliyan supports and the help they provide to empower South Asian women in the community is something that is needed in the type of society we live in today. Being a part of this amazing team has opened up so many doors for me and I have developed many key skills in just 16 weeks. This organization has become a very big part of my life.
To my future female leaders, I would tell you all to do what you want. Be confident in yourself, believe in yourself and know that you can do anything. Don’t let other people’s negative comments affect you in any way because at the end of the day, it only makes you stronger. Your passion is YOUR passion. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life has a quote that really sticks out to me. “Imagine what our world would be like if everyone loved themselves so much that they weren’t threatened by other people’s opinions, skin colors, sexual preferences, talents, education, possessions, lack of possessions, religious beliefs, customs or their general tendency to just be whoever the hell they are.” Be who you want to be.