Inspirational Woman: Meera Sharma | British Indian writer, media personality and founder, The School of Sass

Meera Sharma

Meera Sharma is a British Indian writer and media personality who came to the limelight on ITV’s Take Me Out.

Sharma is the founder of motivational platform The School of Sass and host of motivational talk show, The Sass Life airing Mondays at 11am (PST)/ 19:00 (UK) on Rukus Avenue Radio x DASH Radio.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I came to the limelight on series 11 of ITV’s dating show Take Me Out, since then I’ve been using numerous mediums to encourage discussions around identity, representation, and staying motivated! I’ve written for the likes of The Independent, Metro, gal-dem, as well as appearing on BBC Radio to name a few!

I’m a firm believer that you can achieve your goals and dreams but at the same time I do acknowledge we can all have a down day, which is exactly when we need someone to cheer us on. This inspired me to publish The Little Book of Sass, featuring ‘sasspirational’ quotes to perk people up when they need it the most.

On the back of this, and with all the extra time during lockdown last year, I created my platform The School of Sass to educate everyone on the skills they need to stay motivated, positive, and live the life they’ve imagined by channelling their inner sass.

Currently, I’m the host of my own weekly motivational talk show, The Sass Life, airing on the world’s largest original digital audio broadcast platform, Dash Radio. It launched in June 2021 and it gives a new meaning to Monday motivation! Every week I speak to notable women who are experts in their fields to learn how they’ve channeled their inner sass to create the life of their dreams. It’s great as I have creative control and have interviewed inspiring women such as Sydney Cummings, Cara Alwill Leyba, Ayesha Perry-Iqbal to name a few!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I’m a firm believer in goals so I did have an idea of what I wanted to achieve when it comes to my career, but at the same time I do believe you can’t know exactly what you want to do until you try it. If you find it’s not for you, then it’s fine to make a career change and adjust your goal! For example, I graduated in Fashion Design, from The University of Westminster, but after having my own label and working for designers I realised the industry wasn’t for me! I always had a keen interest in the media industry, so I pivoted and here I am today.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I don’t like to use the word challenge, as I feel the words, we say to ourselves have a subconscious impact. I would say I have had plenty of opportunities to grow and push myself out of my comfort zone. I moved to London, from the North West, at a young age and faced plenty of setbacks but I overcame them – they’ve all made me who I am today. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you can’t do something, (which I’ve had said to me), instead find another way, work hard and follow your gut! The right opportunities will present themselves at the right time – rejection is redirection after all!

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

There’s loads I’ve achieved but doing things that can make an impact are important achievements to me, so having pieces published for the likes of the Independent about importance of South Asian representation in mainstream media. Although, nothing beats the feeling when someone says that my advice or sayings has given them the confidence to pursue their goals! Making people feel good about themselves is my proudest achievement.   

You recently appeared on Take Me Out – do you think there is a societal pressure for women to be married/have a partner by a certain age?

Yes, I do think there are societal pressures on woman to be in relationships, no matter what culture you come from.

I think as a society we need to stop putting pressure on woman to be in relationships or get married, it can be damaging especially if women go into a relationship just because of the pressure, and end up settling or ignoring any red flags.

Everyone should remember there’s nothing wrong with being single, I actually think it gives you a confidence as you learn more about yourself, what you want and you become comfortable in yourself – it’s a powerful place to be. Stop looking for someone to complete you because at the end of the day you should complete yourself!

You founded the School of Sass – being sassy is often viewed as a negative thing, so how can a little bit of sass help our readers?

Yes, sassy does have negative connotations around it, but I really wanted to turn it around. The meaning I have for sassy is being self-assured, spirited, and bold – bold enough to live the life YOU want to live, not what society pressures you to do. You know your worth, you know yourself and you know you can achieve your dreams.

This sass can help readers because if they are feeling doubtful or like they can’t achieve their goals I want them to channel that inner sass and remember that they are amazing the way they are and can do everything if they put their mind to it. I turned my life around and I just want everyone else to know they can do the same! You have to channel this inner confidence and live life – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

How can companies and organisations encourage more diversity within the workplace?

Firstly, I think they need to know the difference between diversity and inclusion. A company may look diverse but what are they doing to make sure employees feel included and ensure they progress? I normally talk about D&I in relation to reality TV, take a show like Love Island – I’m sure ITV think they have a diverse cast, but I wouldn’t say they have got inclusion right. Take the current season, Kaz was picked last in the coupling, and ‘blonde and blue eyes’ is the go-to answer when contestants are asked about their type. It’s not just this season either, it happens regularly – 2018 contestant Samira Mighty went through similar rejections and had barely any screen time especially when she was coupled up with Frankie. 2020 winter Love Island saw Nas Majeed get put in the friend box, adhering to the stereotypes we often see around South Asian men in mainstream media. If Love Island was inclusive this wouldn’t happen. Diversity as a box ticking exercise, without inclusion, will just continue to reinforce stereotypes as we often see on reality shows such as Love Island.  

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Don’t listen to anyone that says you can’t do something!

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

At the moment I am focusing on my radio show, The Sass Life but I really want to continue to expand my platform, The School of Sass, to one on one coaching, in person events and really do my part to empower everyone!  

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