If you haven't heard her name before, you better remember it now, because soon it'll be everywhere. Multi-hyphenate powerhouse Anisha Thai — she’s a dancer, choreographer, influencer and oh, yeah, a civil engineer as well! — got real with us about empowerment, dreams and more in celebration of Women’s Equality Day.
How did you start dancing?
I've been watching music videos since I was about five years old, and one of them really got my attention — it was one by Michael Jackson, I think it was 'Billie Jean'. I was so mesmerised by his confidence, his energy and the way he interacted with the public. I was like, "This is what I wanna do! I wanna have the same confidence, share the same energy and be out there." so I thought that dancing was the best way to get started.
When do you feel the most empowered?
Whenever I accomplish something. The day I got my Masters Degree in Civil Engineering, I really felt like, "Okay, I've officially proven to the world that I can be an engineer as a woman." It's a very male-dominated field, but I have proven that anyone can be a civil engineer.
I also felt super empowered the day I won the TVB Dance Competition 'Dance for Life'. Most of the candidates were male, so it felt like a similar environment where I had to prove myself. I had to tell myself, "OKAY - I have to win this!" I have this whole community of people of colour behind me - I wanna give them representation and power. I wanna show them that anything is possible, so let me demonstrate that on TV.
So, in general, to me, action means way more than words - definitely. Whenever I accomplish an action or goal, I feel like, "Wow, this is it. This is my moment. I am powerful. Nothing can stop me!"
What's your favourite part about being a woman?
Proving people wrong, haha. Many people have clichè ideas about women: that we are emotional, sensitive, and weak. So my favourite part is showing these people that this is not the case, we're actually very strong.
Wait...you didn't mean like, a physical body part...right?
What are your goals for the future?
I have a few — but firstly, I wanna keep being my own boss, working for myself, and working towards my own goals. It's super fulfilling.
Life is short - to all of you reading right now - we only live once; we're only young once in our life. If you feel stuck somewhere, like something doesn't make sense to you - you should question yourself about your direction. It's okay to make mistakes or to take the right direction for that moment in time, but it's good to sometimes step back and ask yourself three things:
What is the meaning of what I am doing?
Through what actions and environments can I become the best version of myself?
How can I be proud of myself and make a positive impact in AND around me?
In general, I just wanna keep making an impact around me - whether it's through representation or uplifting women. I also definitely want to build my empire and a strong community of women. I want to make women entrepreneurs - I wanna make them feel like their own boss and make them feel like, "yeah, we're here, we're strong, we're empowered!"
How do you turn your dreams into a reality?
And never, ever give up. Sometimes you can feel discouraged because you don't see any progress and you feel stuck, but at the end of the day, it's worth it.
What helps me, which might be useful for some people, is that I always feel like I'm on the clock. This might be a little stressful, but because I feel like I don't have time, I feel obliged to keep pushing, keep moving, to keep on doing something. So that's really helped me a lot since I was born - to tell myself I have limited time here, so I need to make the most out of it.
What's one thing you would want to tell every woman in the world?
You flawless. Don't let ANYBODY define who you are. You're the best person to tell yourself who you are and what you want to become. That's what can make you feel a bit insecure sometimes - like hearing parents or friends say you'll never do this or achieve that. And actually, you should listen to them and write all of these things down - then demonstrate they are all wrong.
Who is your role model?
Firstly, my mom. She is so strong and made so many sacrifices for me. For example, she left her country and immigrated to France so that her children could have a better life. Working her a** off - waking up at 5am every morning - until today - to make sure that we got some food when we got home. I have so much admiration for her. She always told me, "you have to work hard because life is not gonna be easy for you." Love you mom.
Secondly - the new BILLIONAIRE, Rihanna! Her new businesses open a highway - I don't know what it is - I feel like anybody can do it now! She proved it and gives so much hope to the new generation. She's bold, she's wild, she's herself. She's very, very, very inspiring.
Could you tell us a little bit about your career transformation from engineering?
I was going to do a YouTube video on this but let me give you a little sneak peek! Things have definitely changed for me ever since I won the dance competition - it took my career on a different path. Right now, I'm a full-time entrepreneur, and I'm so happy about it.
But I'm still so grateful for my engineering path - it taught me so many things, like managing a team, being detail-oriented, respecting rules, planning and being organised, which is all amazing. I took what I had to take, but now I'm onto my next thing - which is ME. Building myself, building my brand, building my empire, and to keep inspiring women. I feel like I really found my calling here - like I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing. Some people wake up and really know what they are meant for - same thing for me right now with all the things I have been doing.
I feel so happy when somebody tells me that I inspired them to do something or that I built their confidence. It's so much joy and self-fulfilment. I'm going to stick to this path until I make it!
Stay blessed and Happy Women's Equality Day!