*Interview compiled and conducted by Sheila Moeschen, IATG Senior Editor
We live in a makeover culture. Everyone has one they are eager to share with you: give your closet, your kitchen, your wardrobe, your blog page a makeover! From reality show creators to the editors of glossy magazines, there is no shortage of helping hands eager to provide you with a way to improve upon everything from your space to your face. Sima Kumar is one of those happy helpers, but she is on a makeover mission: a makeover from the inside out. Sima is a Certified Yogi and Fashion Stylist with a passion for helping people heal and enabling transformation. In her journey, she has worked in film, television, and print providing style expertise to actors and musicians. It is through her love of style and the yogic traditions that Sima has been able to develop her mutual interests into Bespoke Yoga, where unity, authenticity, and spiritual as well as physical transformation takes place “on and off the mat.”
Image courtesy of Sima Kumar
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?
Loyal, Warm, Curious
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
Azita Ardakani of Love Social. She’s a girl who couldn’t catch a break. I remember when she reached out to me years ago for advice/assistance I said, “Do your own thing.” She says her Mother gave her the same advice. She’s someone making waves in a way I don’t think she ever could if she went to work for someone else. I wholeheartedly believe she’s going to be a major game changer on multiple levels. She also embodies the qualities of smart and silly, which I enjoy so much in humans.
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
My dream is to reach the end of my life and feel a deep sense of “I did my best to wake up.” I want to live consciously and take part in reality. My goals are to successfully transition my styling career where my creative vision is realized through writing and directing, whether it’s short films, fashion films or funny little webisodes. It’s something that’s been percolating within me and I’m finally at a place to embrace that challenge and build that skill. I also have a joint goal with my friend, client and partner in crime Kristin Kreuk to turn our online blog New Culture Revolution into an online lifestyle magazine. Personal goals include sharing myself with transparency and healing relationships with family members who are so dear to me and to be a living example of how we can work through pain and achieve unity and community to realize a true sense of what the word “family” means.
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of having survived physical violence and a battle with cancer and coming out of these traumas with kindness, hope, wisdom, AND a sense of humor pulsing through my veins vs. being a bitter and broken woman.
What piece of advice changed your life?
“I’m not interested in what you have done, I’m only interested in what you can do” by stylist Isabella Blow. I couldn’t move my career from the mid-level to the next level while living in London, England. After working in the business for 8 years, her connections and seal of approval made me an overnight success.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would like to see myself living at a much slower pace and being a potent contributor and healthy example of what it means to live a holistic life and age gracefully. Specifically that would be wildly in love with my life and a pretty fantastic and confident gentleman who shares my love of life and living. Making a home either in the English countryside or close to the sea in a warm and sunny climate, writing, and creatively collaborating with colleagues. Growing my own food. Hosting friends for yoga retreats and sharing myself with the world by having become a public speaker on surviving trauma, delving deeper into yoga philosophy, and being a crusader for kindness.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
To ride a big wave surf in Teahupoo, Tahiti (and survive).
Who has been the biggest female influence in your life and why?
Undoubtedly my mother. In my early years I watched her negotiate life and I was a sponge. I just learned through observation. What I saw had both positive and negative effects and there is value in this. As I’ve become a woman my Mother is someone who has become a close friend. She shares with me honestly the struggles of what she experienced and takes responsibility for her choices. She also is a living opportunity for me to work my issues and practice compassion. It’s very easy for women of our generation to say what women of my Mother’s generation “should” have done. She allows me to deeply experience and recognize we never know what it’s like to walk in another persons’ shoes. She’s also the most patient woman I know, a trait I could develop further.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
The biggest risk I took was going to India in 2009 for 4 months to become a certified yoga teacher. I knew I wanted to learn a new skill before I turned 40. I had developed this (false) story and image that I was rubbish at science due to having built a career in the creative arts for two decades. To immerse myself in a deeply traditional school in Kerala and study science and find out I was AMAZING at science at the age of 39 was incredibly empowering for me. That training and philosophical teachings of my master, Swami Santhi, planted knowledge in me that I’ve integrated on a cellular level and they guide me peacefully to understand myself and others every single day in the modern world.
Why are you THAT GIRL?
I am THAT GIRL because I actively face and move towards fear vs. running away from it. I believe there is so much potent information for us once we face our fears and get really cozy with it. That has led me to be a girl who values honesty above all things. This path isn’t easy or paved with gold but it allows me to really tap into LOVE being a guiding force towards growth vs. living a lie. I’m also someone who has learned through NOT getting what I want what unconditional love and forgiveness is. These two qualities will guide me successfully into the next phase of my journey as a girl and inspiring a lot of other girls to join me.