The WOW team was excited to work with the young and sparkly Arjuisa Adhikari who is debuting in the glamour world with the WOW cover but has her heart set firmly on chasing her dream of becoming a pilot.
It is noon and Arjuisa’s excitement is infectious. I find myself taken in by her enthusiasm as we chat over a cup of tea. 16 year old Arjuisa tells me about her growing years watching films, travelling to Italy and dreaming of conquering the skies. “I have watched many of my father, Akash Adhikari’s, films over the years and love how Nepali cinema has evolved,” Arjuisa says and is quick to add, “However I am passionate about the aviation industry. I want to fly and I have my heart set on becoming a commercial pilot”.
Born of Nepali-Italian parentage, Arjuisa often travels to Italy with her mother and is grateful that she is able to learn from and experience two very different cultures. “I sail on two different boats,” she laughs. Raised by two very artistic and caring parents, Arjuisa is confident, candid and full of optimism.
In a conversation with WOW’s Ankita Jain, she talks about her dreams, self-love, and the importance of staying true to oneself. Excerpts:
Tell us about your growing years…
My mother is an Italian and my father is a Nepali. This is evident even in my name – Arju is a Nepali word while Isa is an Italian name. With these little details, I have been brought up in mixed cultures. I love both the cultures, especially the food.
When did you know that flying was a passion?
Ever since I was little I was always fascinated by airplanes and airports. Being up in the air always felt better. I took my first flight when I was three and it had to be to Italy. For my future, I am planning to go to the US for my training. I am looking forward to going to Florida.
Since my father is into filmmaking, he thinks I should try my luck there. But honestly, I have never seen myself as an actor. Also acting is serious business, you need refined skills for it.
What are teenage challenges you face?
For me, mostly it’s just body image and how I feel like it’s a really big thing if I don’t fit into society’s “fit body’ image. Mainly because if I gain weight, society starts body shaming and says that I should lose weight. So then I lose weight and they again start complaining and say that I was looking better before. It’s really frustrating but now I am working on accepting myself as I am, ignoring all the negative comments and just being positive about myself.
Your generation doesn’t just accept information as it is put forward, instead you really question it, and that’s good and important. With the world facing so many issues, how updated are you?
I am aware of everything happening now and I always want to stay updated and help in any way possible. Until and unless the mindset of many people doesn’t change, it will be hard to control the things that are going on. But sometimes I avoid negative news. I am very much aware about it but I try not to get too involved. Sometimes because of the internet I really don’t know what’s real and I don’t know what to believe or what not to believe. But I will always speak for what I think is right.
What’s your relationship like with your parents?
I am very close to my parents, we spend a lot of time together and I am very open with them. I like to be transparent with them. They are always there for me and they are very supportive with my goals in life. My dad is the easy going guy and the problem solver for all my issues. On the other hand, my mother is more attentive to details.
An important lesson you learnt from your father…
He has taught me to follow my dreams, no matter what. Also during the difficult times, he has taught me to look through the situation rather than getting mad about it.
How do you deal with attention as a film personality’s daughter?
I am proud to be his daughter. I love how I can be a part of this industry even though it’s all because of my dad but seeing how things in the film industry work is amazing. Having said that, I have watched many films of my father and the ones I love are “Kathmandu” and “Kohinoor”.
Pick three of your favourite experiences from Nepali and Italian culture
It would definitely be food, festivals and people. The value of family is more in Nepali culture. People live in joint families here and the connection they develop over the years is amazing. It is not the same in Italy.
Have you experienced any gender barriers or resistance in the things you do because you are female?
I haven’t faced any gender barriers from my parents end but some of my family members are conservative. They are very particular about how girls should behave, be homely and stuff. Since my mother is an Italian, I am an exception.
Do you enjoy the social media platforms?
I believe social media is a sensitive topic. If you are big on the digital platforms, you are tagged as influencer. But I don’t see myself there. I want to talk about certain issues but the thought of trolling and negative comments demotivate me.
What is the best thing about being you?
I like trying new things. Also what sets me apart from the current generation is that I don’t make instant decisions. I see a lot of teenagers complain about life. But they don’t realise that everything happens at the right time.
What is the one cause that moves you?
I am an advocate for gender equality whether at home or in the community. I have heard many stories about how difficult it is to be a woman in Nepal and I would really like to change this.
What in your opinion holds women back from achieving their dreams?
The fear of being held back.
How do you define beauty?
Confidence and having a voice.
What do you do for fun?
I dance. I learnt Flamenco dance form few years back and I really enjoy it. Otherwise I usually just hang out with my best friend, and I love spending time with my family and my dog.
Three things you really want to do in life
• Be a pilot
• Be happy
• Make my parents proud
One thing no woman should have to tolerate
Sexual violence. Women and teenagers should have a voice against it.
Location & Hospitality partner: Hyatt Regency Kathmandu
(Instagram: hyattregencykathmandu) Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is a five-star luxury hotel and resort in Kathmandu, set on 37 acres of landscaped grounds and created in the traditional Newari style of Nepalese architecture. This beautiful hotel and resort is located on the road to the Boudhanath Stupa: the most holy of all Tibetan Buddhist shrines outside of Tibet and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located within a five-minute walk from the hotel.
Photographer: Suzan Shrestha
HMUA: Suman Lama
Interviewed & coordinated by: Ankita Jain
Assistant stylist: Eliza Shrestha
Wardrobe: Pant, Shirt, Blazer and
Satin Slip Dress : Chuplag Studio
Sequin Silver and Black Dress: MINUTIAE
Accessories: Ziba Studio