Our woman of the week is a Business student, a model, and a blogger, who is doing it all amidst battling PCOS and has come out shining because of her strength and the willpower to make it happen. If you are looking for a dose of inspiration to get you through the week and help you give that nudge required to follow the path that leads you towards your dreams, read Reema Richard Rodrigues’ journey right here.
How was your childhood?
I was a very active and enthusiastic kid. Always having craziest ideas among my friends, trying the most unheard and insane activities like building swings, digging mini wells, painting our walls, and what not! I’ve always had a very sharp and creative mind for ideas. Being academically achieving was also a very big part of my childhood.
What did you aspire to be when you were little?
I always thought I would become a lawyer. For some reason, the idea seemed really cool and viable in my head. Maybe it was the big books or the way some people looked up to lawyers or also because of my mum, who still to this day, thinks I would become one. xD
Could you take us through your work, please give us a brief about it?
I write blogs on the 2 pages that I run, which are Hungover Books (HB) and Hungover Fashion (HF). On HB, specifically, I review the books I read along with some Study-gram ideas such as pictures of my handwritten notes, and on HF I share write-ups on personal style topics, the outfits I put together for occasions, and also sometimes some skincare and travel topics!
What made you turn towards fashion?
Starting college, I realized that dressing is such an important form of self-expression. I learned that it helps form your first and lasting impression. Trust me, I wasn’t the best-dressed person always which helped me realize the power of well dressing. It was this importance that I want to try and help people understand and help them find comfort in living their styles.
What is one thing you love about modeling?
Just being in front of the camera! People say modeling is an easy job, but to me, communicating with a camera with your eyes and body language is anything but easy. It takes work to be able to be comfortable with your body, the camera, and do good poses that actually sell.
When did books become your best friend? Can you take us through “Hungover_Books”?
I have always had a knack for reading and languages. As a kid, I would reread the same books once I got through all of them. But I got into the habit only a few years ago, when I felt a strong urge to just read. I asked my friends to suggest some books for me to start and I haven’t stopped reading since! 🙂
What does your daily routine look like?
These days I am spending a lot of time just creating content for both HB and HF and that usually takes most of my day. Also, I am still preparing for my final exams and studying requires a lot of my time too. I try to squeeze in a quick workout on most days. Because of the lockdown, I also spend a lot of fun time with my family and read every chance that I get! 🙂
What do you think are your biggest achievements?
I feel that my biggest sense of achievement comes from knowing that I serve some inspiration to people. Whenever people ask me fashion advice, or how to start blogging, or even when people tell me that I inspired them to do something good, I feel accomplished. 🙂
Was it difficult in the beginning to follow your dreams?
Absolutely. I wanted to start blogging years ago, but I had no money, no resources, and a thousand unanswered questions on how to go about with things. But slowly and eventually, I started from scratch, with the most basic of resources and slowly built up to where I am today. Many of those questions still remain unanswered but the process is a great teacher. It wouldn’t have been possible without the monumental support from my loved ones and I aspire to make them proud one day!
What was your hustle journey like?
Blogging and modeling changed my whole perspective towards hustle. I have always been a very hardworking person. I would work like a madman to earn my top grades and I brought the same work ethic to blogging and modeling too. But like they say, when you enjoy what you do, it hardly seems like work. Moreover, what feels like hustle is dealing with all the uncertainties and risks of a business, stepping out of my comfort zone, and always adapting to the needs of my audience. Because looks are so important in this profession, it is also difficult to live up to the unrealistic expectation of having to always look ‘perfect’. I very often have my low moments while looking at myself in the mirror with my hormonal acne and breaking down into tears because I don’t meet the traditional requirements of models having ‘perfect’ skin. Putting in the tremendous effort to feel Body-Positive, fighting the negativity, and moving forward with nothing but hope feels like a hustle to me. 🙂
What are some of the challenges you deal with even today? And, how do you overcome them?
My biggest challenge to date has to be my constant battle with my health. I have a condition called PCOS and I have had to really work and strive to stay healthy. The condition has brought me severe physical and emotional pain over the years. I have had to be on medication for months on end, popping pills every day, dealing with severe cystic acne, which negatively impacts my career. I wouldn’t say that I have it all figured out on how I deal with that yet, but I try to practice gratitude and stay positive, as much as I can. On most days it just seems hopeless, but I have learned that taking breaks helps a lot. Whenever I feel low or just feel like giving up, I go back to an ‘Achievements’ folder in my gallery where I have saved snippets from my work on fashion websites, some souvenirs from some of my biggest projects and mostly messages from my audience where they appreciate what I do and all that reminds me of my larger purpose and helps me get back on track. 🙂
With success also comes failure. So, tell us, how do you deal with failures? What keeps you going?
Being in the modeling industry, rejection is around every corner. In the past year and a half, I have been rejected by around 20-25 modeling agencies for reasons they never shared. Which left me to assume that ‘Maybe I’m not this’ or ‘Maybe I am that’. It would hurt me deeply and I remember crying myself to sleep most nights as I would feel that I was not enough. That led me to really start questioning my worth and doubt my capabilities. But looking back at these times makes me feel proud of my courage in dealing with those tough times. I would bravely send agencies my Polaroids of a no-makeup face with acne scars on my cheeks, find new agencies, and try to get in touch no matter how hurt I would feel that it hadn’t worked out for me before because I wasn’t enough. I think back on a time when I had a horrible reaction to some medications and had painful, puss-filled acne on my face to the extent that some people would stop on the road and look pitifully at the state of my face, everyone kept giving me advice and everyone was feeling a great deal of pity for me. Dealing with this along with the physical pain I was going through really put me in a dark place and all I wanted to do was run from my problems. But, I never let my rejections, or fears and insecurities get in the way of me doing what I needed to do. I proudly went places with my bare face, I never missed a single class because I didn’t feel like my skin was at its best, I never missed work for it and that’s something that I am really, really proud of now. 🙂
Do you have a mantra or motto for life?
I believe that life is our biggest teacher. Our experiences shape up the lessons we learn. So in everything we do, we either win or we learn. This helps me take risks knowing that the least that can happen is I can get wiser. 🙂
Has the pandemic hindered your future plans? How are you dealing with it?
It has certainly slowed down the pace and flow of work as compared to how it used to be before. Financial crunches are tighter for brands and that’s why they do not wish to advertise as freely as they used to. We can only hope that the pace picks up soon and opportunities are plenty for people like me. In the meantime I am focusing on staying safe, healthy, working on things that I have control over, and leaving the rest on the Almighty.
What do you have in store for the future?
Huge ideas but the execution are hindered by the pandemic. I have something big planned for Hungover Books, which I can’t reveal just yet but if all goes to plan, you would get to know about it before this year ends. I am both nervous and psyched to be at work on it! 😀
Do you have any advice for our readers?
I always wish to pass on just one message and that is to be kind. You never know what battles people fight and your kindness can make a world’s difference to them! 🙂
If someone wishes to choose your line of work and wants to be a model or get into fashion, what is your advice?
I would pass on the advice that I greatly live by and that is ‘to never take rejection personally’. Especially in modeling, you have to believe in yourself and keep moving forward even if the world seems to tell you otherwise. Resilience and strength are important virtues to work in this industry. Work on yourself, believe in your potential, and keep moving forward. 🙂
You can follow Reema on Instagram, just click here.
It was a great read, wasn’t it? Let us all take her advice and spread some kindness wherever we go. Also remember, rejection is not personal. Fight for your dreams and you will make it happen.
Bloomer Craze Women of the Week is an initiative taken to appreciate and celebrate inspiring women and girl bosses from all streams, across the globe! If you are or you know someone who fits the criteria, do not hesitate, just write to us at email@example.com