Shakti perspectives: Suki (Brown Boss Girls)
What was it like to grow up with a south asian background in Sydney?
It was wonderful. And challenging. And clashed at times. Growing up as a kid with a half western - half eastern upbringing proved to be a little difficult. Back in the 90s/primary school - bringing curry meals to school meant you were labelled a curry muncher. Then in highschool - putting oil in your hair and wearing a bindi to class labelled you a FOB, even by your fellow brown coloured sisters.... sad hey? And if you didn’t embrace your culture enough - you were an oreo. So definitely a mix of emotions. I do think things have progressed monumentally with education and acceptance and EXPOSURE.
Have you ever faced personal mental health concerns?
Growing up with a non-nuclear family was hard! Mainly after being in the brown community, where it was so taboo to have a single foot of of line, or hair out of place... let alone an uncoventional family. Having had moments of my mental health drop, makes me that much more empathetic to those that suffer at a deeper level. Having a stigma on mental health concerns makes it all harder to deal with and boxes you in. Moments of anxiety and depression i’ve experiences were mainly overcome due to having that strong supportive system of family and friends to go to! Void of any judgement and stigma! It’s counterproductive!
What inspired the creation of BBB?
We're women. Women from the same community. Women from the same upbringing. All women with the same driven, cultured, vibrant blood running through our veins. Yet too many of the times we’ve felt all alone. Been pitted against each other. Wtf? It’s time to really come together, have each other’s backs and support one another in our creative/business/life-endeavours! That’s how and why BBB was born. To create a community of culture, creativity and support.
What challenges do women of color face growing up as a minority?
I think we’ve grown up being misunderstood (I once had a girl in highschool be properly gobsmacked when she learnt that my friends and I listened to hip hop instead of straight up Bollywood, like she REALLY couldn’t comprehend it and we've always been underepresented.
In many ways. *hey hey hollywood we never saw people that looked like us or had an ounce of the cultural upbringing that we had as South-East-Asianers represented. Though that never stopped me from connecting to the stories that were told on my TV screen, imagine all the MORE impact people like us would have felt if we had seen characters that represented us in the media? How much more heard, seen and inspired we would have felt as kids? I know it has taken a lot for me to feel like we are not secondary characters in someone else’s story and i am ecstatic at all the compassionate, smart, inside-out beautiful diverse brown women i get to see on my screen now!
Message of support for mental health:
If your'e going through a hard time, know one thing. Actually two. Two things that have always proven to help me. 1. You are not alone and 2. You got this. Life is tough, but you are so much tougher. There will be times where you think you cannot make it through to the other end, but you will. We all face some aspect of this. You are not alone in this. As much as that little voice in your head makes you feel like you are, it’s not true.
Allow yourself to feel everything, then share it - with a friend, in a painting, or write it down on paper then chuck it out. Then shift your focus on anything big or small that makes you happy. Which will help attract more happy thoughts and remind you why you are here doing this thing called LIFE and why it is worth it. So yeah, you are not alone and YOU. GOT. THIS