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Alefiya Singh, Irisreps #RiseLikeAPhoenix

‘You are being judged no matter who you are, so be who you want to be.’

Born and bought up in a Bori-Muslim family, Alefiya Singh, Director, Irisreps was taught to not discriminate people, especially based on their religion, gender and colour of their skin. “My parents always taught me to have my opinions, gave me the independence to take my decisions and respected my choices. However, people always had a surprised look when they saw me walk into a college classroom or even in an office wearing formal skirts and even formal western wears. Listening to ‘Oh my god, are you really a Muslim? I thought you were Christian or even Punjabi’ is like a usual statement for me in daily life,” explained Alefiya.

After finishing her education, she applied in Jet Airways for an air hostess job but somehow landed a job with one of the top travel company in India in the late 1990s. Since then, she has worked with multiple airlines like Air New Zealand, Emirates and South African Airways.

After years of experience, she started IRIS Reps in 2011 which made her more confident and also learn that people will always have perceptions about others. She said, “Perceptions and reality are two different things. I mean how can you connect my lifestyle and my appearance with my religion? Yes, I’ve learnt my own lessons due to my choices and my decisions in life but that doesn’t give anyone a right to judge me for my religion. I stopped explaining myself when I realised other people only understand from their level of perception.”

Yes, she did face challenges during her initial years but she always looked at it as an obvious struggle in new business. “It’s a social norm to discourage women when she starts a new journey of her own but when she has a supportive family, she can overcome any challenge in life. I never let those negative opinions define me,” said Alefiya.

Today, Alefiya owns a company which represents global hotel chains, destinations and DMCs in India.

We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us. Let them say or think what they want, you have to focus on what you want from life. Spread your wings and #RiseLikeAPhoenix and know that their perceptions are not your reality. #BeCurious, #NotJudgmental