We had the good fortune of connecting with Pooja Uberoi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pooja, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I have always been ambitious as a child and a go getter. I am huge on making plans, setting goals and achieving them no matter what. After trying my hand at various professions such as Banking, Architecture, Customer services and Sales I decided to follow my passion and chose Dance and there has been no looking back ever since. I realized early in life both personally and professionally that working from a space of love and passion can make life very fulfilling and happy. Since then I have followed my heart and no matter how tough it was to follow this path I kept my mission, vision and goals in mind and keep facing every challenge. None of this was possible without the support of my family in India and my husband who has supported me and trusted me with every choice I wanted to make in life. I have never been disappointed with failures and always learnt a lesson from them. In my next phase of life I want to make sure I can give back to the community and add value to others through my dance and passions and create a better world for all to live in.
I truly believe in the term IKIGAI that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.” When combined, these terms mean that which gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose and thats my Mantra for life and work
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The biggest part of my journey as an artist and dancer has been my work in choreography. Whether it was TV shows, movies or live musicals, I have been using my life experiences to choreograph. I have been a very observant child and adult and extremely curious to listen to stories of courage and life lessons. This has shaped my art and choreography style. I have been a great believer of the quote – “If your mind can conceive and believe it, then you can achieve it”.
What sets me apart is my constant will to learn and be a student first. The day we think we know everything, we stop growing. I have followed my passion and purpose in life with great dignity. Professionally I always believed hard work can beat talent. As the Bhagvad Gita mentions, “Follow your Karma and work towards it, don’t look for immediate results.” I am a fighter, and I am never afraid to start over.
It wasn’t easy for sure as some of my closest friends and family members doubted what I was doing and often even demeaned and discouraged me from following my passion. Every time this happened, I worked harder and let my work talk.
One of the greatest lessons I learned is that collaboration is key, and one should encourage others to discover their passion and mission. That is why I formed my company IKIGAI which basically revolves around the life mission to follow your passion and live by it.
My brand talks about creating, connecting and celebrating life through art. I would like to be an example for many other women like myself who come from a country and a time where dancing was not considered mainstream or viable. If I can inspire and encourage even one person today and help them follow their passion, it would be a great win for me.
I have seen a lot of artists give up on their art and passion and it is not easy to be an artist, so I understand where they’re coming from. But I truly believe that it is meant to be hard and that’s why everybody cannot do it.
I wish and pray for a day when more people would encourage and support artists and donate generously, buy tickets and help small businesses because that is truly something that can help our children and future generations. I wish every child can be exposed to performing arts, imagination and creativity and that is only possible if more artists are supported and encourage by those who can afford to support them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First of all, I would be great if they check out my blog and IG page @miamifoodevents_blogger as I record all my experiences through pictures and videos.
But an ideal itinerary would be to start with downtown and Brickell and enjoy a pool day as most of the condos in Miami have amazing pools and restaurants.
To anyone visiting Miami, I would definitely recommend taking a tour of Everglades National Park and visiting Haulover Beach and Fort Lauderdale Beach. Then they should take a paddle boating or snorkeling trip. One should definitely visit the Miami Design District and South Beach. If you are in South Beach, you could head over to the Versace Mansion and enjoy a lovely, luxurious meal there.
A lot depends on what activity you enjoy and if you prefer to party or take a walk or a hike and just soak up the sun. For people who enjoy being in nature, I’d say go to the Matheson Hammock Park and visit the Kampong, previously owned by famed horticulturalist Dr. David Fairchild. It’s really a hidden gem worth visiting.
In terms of enjoying high-life experiences, Miami has just so much to offer that you can never run out of things to do and places to eat at. I would definitely take my friends to a great Cuban or Mexican food joint. One can also enjoy some nice Japanese or Italian cuisine here. But what I would definitely do with my friends and family is take them to Joia Beach during sunset and just laze around with a drink in one of the beach shacks.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to recognize Chapman Partnership and what they do for the homeless. They run two centers in Miami and Homestead and work relentlessly to help homeless kids and adults and get back on their feet.
I have been volunteering with them and teach the kids dance and it is the most gratifying feeling ever. I love to support them in any way possible.
Pictures by Clarita Sam Reynolds Photography