Kavita Suri is a celebrity beauty entrepreneur and one of the most sought-after names in the Toronto beauty industry. With over 20 years of experience, she started off as a successful make-up artist turned business owner. While running, Infuse Med Spa, a medical spa, along with the Toronto’s first ever open space for beauty entrepreneurs and women professionals, Kavita is changing the game in the beauty industry. You can follow Kavita on Instagram @kavitasuri_beautyinc
How and why did you enter the beauty industry?
Getting into the beauty industry was a natural journey for me. It started in high school when I had to make a choice for my co-op position in 1997; it was a choice between a job placement with the police force or becoming a cosmetician. I automatically gravitated toward the co-op in the cosmetic/beauty industry and there was no turning back. The love and passion for the art of make-up is where it all began for me.
If you had to do it all over it again, is there anything different you would do?
I chose to be a social butterfly during my school days and didn’t focus much on studies. It prevented me from getting a higher education and I wish I had the same passion or discipline for studies as I do for running a business. Had I had the same passion, I would be a dermatologist today. Another area I wish I paid more attention to is my dating life, which I still tend to neglect because I am way more focused on running my business. I believe we are who we surround ourselves with and I learned that the hard way, but I have no regrets because these experiences made me who I am today. I live a contented life and I am aware of the changes I need to make overall. Truly, everything I have experienced was and is exactly how it is meant to be and I wouldn’t change a thing.
How do you maintain self-care? What are your beauty secrets?
Self-care is NUMBER ONE for me in my life. It starts with mindful mornings. My work hours start later in the day at my spa, so I take advantage of my mornings with a self-care routine including Yoga or a workout, drink water, prayer, and eating a nutritious breakfast.
My beauty secret is: BE HAPPY!!! It really is that simple.
I am going to touch on number of items here when it comes to self-care because it is not about one area in life. This came to my attention in my early 30s. I started with my uterus health and this began with discontinuing birth control because it is poisonous to our body. Then I focused on regulating my cycle by being more attentive to my hormone health. This is a very important topic and women should not shy away from talking about this. We need to take supplements to feed our uterus health because it is a big part of our body. I wake up at 6am and I drink 4-6 glasses of water with electrolyte drops, which kick starts your system. Realistically, I can work out 3-4 times a week, so I don’t pressure myself to go beyond that. I advocate setting realistic goals it is not healthy to cut out things you love to accommodate an unrealistic lifestyle. We cannot have an all or nothing mentality. Having friends who also prioritize self-care is important so you can share your routine and support one another. Routines are important for balance so take some time to evaluate different areas of your life and find that balance.
Every two months, I pamper myself with facials using products from my spa. I start with a calming cleanser, a light hydration moisturizer and once a week I use the enzymatic exfoliator at night and I finish off with a retinol serum with peptide. This is a good way to kick start anti-aging. I consume high quality supplements which include multivitamins, omegas, and vegetable based iron pills etc. If you look at my skin, hair, health and body, I definitely see a healthy improvement. Rest is also key so don’t feel guilty for getting in 8 hours of sleep. Most importantly, be kind to yourself mentally and if anything, such as social media, is draining you, then shut it off.
What challenges do you see brown curvy/plus women entering the beauty industry facing and what advice would you give them?
I was criticized for my big hips, big thighs and got comments like “lose weight”, “you have gained weight” and “be skinny”. I hate when people say that. There is also an unfair representation of South Asian women in Bollywood. For example, in the West, Aishwarya Rai represents Indian women, but the majority of Indian women don’t look like that. The tall, skinny and fair body representation is an influence of British colonization which is not a true depiction of us, in my opinion. I am Indian, and the majority of Indian women I have met come in different shapes and sizes and from various parts of India. The stigma and judgement associated with plus size/curvy women impacts our daily lives because we live in this body. We have to figure out our own unique way to overcome it.
For me, the best way to overcome the stigma was to really have an “I don’t give a F***” attitude.
You started modeling recently. What made you start and how do you think curvy/plus size women can make a difference in this industry?
I actually started modeling in 1997 when I was 17. I didn’t pursue it because I decided to focus on school, volunteer work and my makeup business.
A few years ago, I was encouraged by my friends to do plus size modeling. I decided to give it a shot and called various modeling agencies. One thing that turned me off was the competitive nature of the business and all the rules that came along with it. As plus size women, we are already challenging the norms in society and I didn’t feel I wanted to take the route of signing up with an agency when I had an existing brand in the beauty industry. I wanted to continue to build my brand on my own terms and eventually I got opportunities for photoshoots and runway.
My advice to plus size women entering the modeling industry is to see if there is an option for you to build your own brand because that possibility now exists with social media. Invest in a photographer, makeup artist and a stylist and go for it all the way.
I would also like to mention that there needs to be more retail clothing support for our body types to help us make the difference. However, we can stand for a positive movement and encourage a healthy lifestyle while doing so.
Tell us about a time you were feeling down and what strategies you used to get through it?
I have felt down during breakups with boyfriends or when I had some failures in my business, which I call blessings in disguise. I do embrace me feeling down and I know it will pass. I can’t suppress the fact that I feel like shit, hurt and want to cry because I am in pain. But I also don’t let those feelings own me, so after taking few days for myself, I am up and running after my dreams again. The strategies I have used are engaging in positive activities like working out, going out with a friend, helping someone who is in need and by surrounding myself with good people. The longest funk I was in was from the age of 27 to 31. It was because I was struggling with my career and relationships. But one day, I decided enough was enough and I am going to turn this around. Since then, my bad days have been shorter and recovery is faster.
My advice to women is that we feel down every so often and it is natural to feel that way. Create a strong support system and make it through with them. It is so important to talk it out, engage in some physical activity, treat yourself to a good meal and maybe even a nice spa treatment. Hard times do pass and we all survive and learn.
What are your secrets for success?
My secret has been taking a leap of faith, taking risks, shaking hands with people I want to work with, being open-minded and putting myself out there.
No one is going to make it happen for you but YOU. Keep in mind that sometimes sacrifices have to be made which may mean less family time, a non-existent social life and may even put some relationships to the test but you have to go with your intuition on how much that dream job or business means to you.
What does body positivity mean to you? And why is this important?
To me, body positivity means to truly love the skin you’re in. Do not compare yourself to another, wear your clothes with confidence, and encourage other women to look and feel beautiful always. I wake up and do deep yoga stretches which boosts my body confidence. In other words, own the fact that you are size 12 in jeans and make the best out of it by wearing things you feel great in. Not just owning it externally but also internally by nourishing your body with good food, supplements and movement.
What are some of your future goals?
I am going to talk about my 2020 goals –I am not a person who makes 5- year plans because we don’t know what life is going to serve you. This year I want to focus on the new spa location we opened, take time off to travel and attract a partner who is compatible with my energy.
Edited by Shamini Sivathasan
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