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Once Called ‘Chinky’, How Sonia Became A Symbol Of Societal Transformation

Engineering or Medical? Millennials grew up in the aftermath of this superfluous crisis situation. Perhaps generation X was raised infusing a lifetime-belief that a successful life can only be accomplished by choosing either fo the professions. Thankfully, the new Millenium emerged with a great many professional options to choose from – calling it an end to one to the biggest crises Indian society faced in the 20th century. Though the question ‘Engineering or Medical?’ faded due to the availability of numerous professional options, it is taking longer for the mindset to change. Fortunately, we have a few Millenials who are resilient enough to face the difficulties and ease the transformation. Sonia Thiyam is one of those.

Hailing from the serene North-Eastern Indian state of Manipur, Sonia completed her college in Delhi-NCR. She moved to Bangalore to do an MBBS as her father wanted that she becomes a doctor. She completed her MBBS and started working with a hospital in Bangalore. In love with the city, she decided to make it here home. The societal stereotypes were not favoring her North-East-Indian looks and she often got called ‘Chinky’. Sonia displayed strong determination and remained firm with her decision to settle in Bangalore despite the south Indian city could have not been an inclusive one for her. 

“My father has always been fascinated with the profession of Doctor because of the kind of work they do, saving lives. For him, there’s no other profession as respectable as a doctor. That is why I pursued MBBS from Bangalore.” – Said Sonia in a chat with KenFolios.

The more determined you are to face challenges, the more you will have of them, and the more you will win. After defeating the psychological barrier of being referred to as a ‘Chinky’, a person like Sonia had many other challenges to face. She soon realized that her profession of a ‘doctor’ is respectful and rewarding, but not her true calling. Sonia decided to switch to a different profession and decided to become a fashion blogger. Halting a successful medical practice, and challenging stereotypes(relating to the appearance of a person) to become a fashion blogger weren’t the only struggles, but the convincing of her family was another level of difficulty. It took some time for Sonia to produce some results before she gathered the courage to talk to her family about the decisions, however, early success paved the way for her.

Sonia started working on her blog ‘Sheer Vanity By Sonia’. She was a newly employed doctor and did not earn a high package. Yet, she hired a professional photographer from the savings she secured from her salary. Her quirky sense of styling accompanied by her physical attributes carved a smooth journey for her in the fashion blogging arena. Unlike many other early-stage fashion bloggers, Sonia focussed on creating a style-insignia of own instead of copying other successful bloggers. An increasing number of admirers got many interesting offers from renowned brands like Svarovski, Grazia, and Popxo  – Sonia soon became a known face in the Indian fashion blogging industry.

Sonia has a younger brother who is also a doctor and very supportive of her career choice. He is the one who confronted her parents about Sonia’s career choice in a way that helped her convince them. Today, her parents are extremely proud of her and the work that she does.

 “My brother has always been a strong support system for me. I never knew I’d be able to gather the courage to disclose this to my family.” Said Sonia.

Though Sonia Thiyam is not the only name to recall while talking about fashion blogging in India, she is one of those rare influencers who beat many odds to reach here. Her journey as a known fashion blogger is more than the journey of a successful social media influencer, Sonia Thiyam symbolizes the ‘hard-work’ it takes to challenge and change the stereotypes – to transform.

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