Priyanka Karki is among the most celebrated faces of the country. She is an exceptional actor and dancer, a woman who comes across as unafraid to take on new challenges and go past her limitations. She is focused, dedicated and knows what she wants from her life.
As one of the most popular actors of the Nepali film industry, Priyanka wears the spotlight as second skin. The diva has set new standards from introducing the first queer romance web series to celebrating her pregnancy on social media unafraid of what people think or say.
In the edition of WOW, we delve into her journey as a new mother who dotes on her little princess, Ayanka.
Mannat Shrestha talks to her about motherhood, work-life balance, and some of the things that matter to her the most.
How do you celebrate the festivals especially Dashain and Tihar?
Dashain and Tihar has always been very important to me. When I was a child, it used to be about Dakshina and buying new clothes but as I got older it became about family values. I feel dashain is about acknowledging and appreciating everything our family does for us. So, I make sure to give all my time to my family and friends during the festive time. This year was extra special as it was Ayanka’s first Dashain, where she received ‘tika’ from her elders. Last year she was not able to participate in ‘tika’ as she had not completed her Pasni (rice feeding ceremony).
How do you balance work and life?
If you have a career that you enjoy like I do, balance comes really easy. I go to work and I never think about when is it going to end, I rather focus on giving my best. I believe to balance; you need to learn to priortise. I am a very family-oriented person so for me, they are always my first priority.
Your public appearances during pregnancy got very different reactions. What did you think of that?
My public appearance during pregnancy was really talked about and I think we still live in a society where women aren’t allowed to be themselves completely. There are so many rules and regulations for a woman, it is still a very male dominated patriarchal society.
For me to actually choose to show myself, how I really am, without any filter or any barriers did not suit a lot of people. Many deemed it as unnecessary ‘Anga Pradharshan’ – skin show or seeking attention. However, I was just being myself.
Times are changing and now more women are coming out, accepting their pregnant bodies and flaunting it. I think there is nothing to hide or be ashamed of. You are growing a life inside you and every day of your pregnancy should be celebrated. I didn’t take it negatively or have any complaints, it was just very new. I am just glad now people are slowly accepting it.
What is motherhood like?
It is the best feeling ever, I have always loved children, be it my friend’s babies, cousins or family. I have always been attracted to babies. I love spending time with them. However, nothing compares to how you actually feel when you have your baby. It’s the most beautiful feeling.
How do you react to Ayanka’s early celebrity status?
I wouldn’t say it’s a celebrity status because we have been very open about our journey during pregnancy and even now, we love sharing her growth with the world. I am where I am because of my fans, followers and people who love me. Hence, I want to share the journey with everyone. I feel Ayanka has now become more of a part of everyone’s life than a celebrity. People send her good wishes, want to meet her, hold her and hug her. I feel very happy she has all the love and blessings apart from just her family. It’s a nice feeling when you see the whole world rooting for her.
As working parents, how do you manage your time?
When I am working, Ayush is home and when Ayush is working, I am home. But when both of us are working, we are blessed to have my mother who is currently living with us. We can leave Ayanka with her grandmum with a very happy and content heart when we both leave for work. However, we try to make sure that either one of us is home whenever its possible.
What are you currently busy with professionally?
I just wrapped up a movie, Fulbari by Ram Bahadur Gurung. Now, I am busy rehearsing for a play.
A parenting advice you swear by…
It’s not exactly a parental advice but from my experience, I would just say to take things easy. Usually new mums get overly excited and end up buying a lot of stuff for their baby. A lot of people told me not to do it but I never listened. It was only later I realised that babies outgrow their clothes real fast. Sadly, we could not use many things that I bought for Ayanka.
New mum tips for looking and feeling good
Everybody is different. Everyone has their own priorities so you need to first define your priority and stick by it. Some people might choose to be a 24/7 stay at home mum. On the other hand, some might want to get back to work, or get back in shape. I think it’s all about personal choices.
Looking and feeling good comes from within, so do what make you feel good. In our society, we are repeatedly told that once you are a mum your life is over, it will be all about the baby and you should stay at home. The society will keep finding ways to make you feel guilty for trying to have your own time and space. Please don’t fall for this because in the end you are important as well.
Yes, you have to give time to your child but at the same time you can’t lose yourself in the process. That is one thing I stood by and it has led me to where I am today.
How do you want Ayanka to see you as a mother?
A good friend and a great listener. I want to be able to listen to her and understand where she comes from. She is a year old now and as per her age and ability she is doing what she thinks is right. I do not want to impose; I want her to grow to know what she wants. I want her to have her choices and make her own decisions. I want to show her the path when it’s needed without forcing her. Of course, I will guide her on what is right and wrong like if she is about to get into an accident, bang her head somewhere or put her finger in the electrical switch.
I want her to live independently not after she is 18, but right after she can understand and comprehend. I want to always be there for her to support and encourage her.
Something you learnt from your mother and you would want to pass to your daughter
My mother is a very hard-working woman. While growing up she never told me to behave like a woman; she never forced me to look a certain way or behave a certain way. I was always given the freedom to do whatever I wanted. My brother and I were treated as equals. For example, even if I wanted to go out late at night or take piano or dance classes or go for gymnastics or swimming, I was always given the freedom to do so. I think this is what I want to pass on to my daughter as well, to not let gender define who she is. I want her to know the sky’s the limit. She can do whatever she wants to do. She can be whoever she wants to be.
What’s the best and the worst part of being a mother?
The best thing about being a mother is that there is a little tiny human you created whose life revolves around you. You are the centre of their universe. So anytime I feel low or that things are not going right I just look at Ayanka’s face. Her smile just assures me that everything is fine and that is one of the best feelings.
I think the worst part about being a mother is that you constantly worry. Although I know Ayanka is in good hands even when I am not around, with her father or with my mum or even my nanny, I constantly worry about small things. Sometimes even when she gets a little hiccup or a mild cold, I begin to hyperventilate.
Do you fear the public attention in your life?
I have never feared the public attention. I think the attention is there as a result of love. It’s the love that people have towards me and my work that I have given to the film fraternity. Their attention is a way of showing me that they are watching me and appreciate what I do.
What’s Ayushman like as a father?
He is the best father and husband. Words will never be enough when I start talking about him but there is only one thing I will say, I hit the jackpot. We are very lucky to have him in our lives.
When people say you are working so fast, motherhood looks good on you and Ayanka is growing so well, I think Ayush plays a very big role in that. He is my best, strongest and the biggest support system.
Are your careers compared and does it matter?
I don’t think our careers are compared. Even if people do, we don’t really pay attention to it. We are both doing good in what we are doing. We are both actors and work in the film fraternity but there are also other things we like doing. Ayush sketches, sings and he is a great cinematographer. On the other hand, I love to dance. I think it’s about being good together, supporting, respecting and trusting each other. We have faith in what we do and stand up for each other.
Best gift a parent can give their child
Their time. Being actively present in their life and encouraging them throughout their journey as they are growing is the best gift a child can receive.
What kind of mother are you?
Anxious, happy, excited, happy go lucky, protective and ambitious. I am a mixture of everything.
Has motherhood changed you?
Motherhood hasn’t changed me, I am still the same person – goofy, outgoing, fun-loving, overly excited about work and a super active person. Motherhood is just an added feather. It’s a feeling of having a little one that you can call your own. I believe motherhood does not necessarily change you it just shows a different approach towards life and living.
For instance, earlier when I made plans or did anything I never had to think about having a baby in my life like how am I going to manage time or where I am going to put Ayanka or it’s her nap or her feeding time. Now it’s just an added responsibility that we love.
Three things you do for fun as a family
- Trips: Ayanka loves going out and meeting people. She is a social butterfly so this makes our trips really easy.
2. Nursery Rhymes: We love to sing nursery rhymes to her and she tries to sing along and say a few words.
3. Playing with the dogs: Ayanka loves our fur babies. We have six of them and she’s always all over the floor playing with them.
How do you keep the romance going strong?
- Do not lose yourself.
2. A lot of the times relationships go downhill once you start thinking you are married and start settling for this boring routine and don’t make the effort anymore. Keep making the effort to keep the spark alive.
3. Make sure to make time for each other as you both are growing and changing. Try to understand how your partner is changing and evolving. – See if they have new hobbies or things in life. Adapt to changes and share your new interests with them as well.
4. Don’t take each other for granted
Ayanka’s first word…
Baba. We call each other baba all the time so that’s the first word she picked up.
Her favourite thing to do
Play with our fur babies
Her favourite time of the day
24/7 everyday she is learning and growing. Every moment is precious
When she is cranky…
She gets attached to me and gets very clingy when someone tries to take her away from me.
Her Favourite nursery rhyme
Baba Black Sheep
Photographer: Sanjog Rai
MUA: Shradha Maskey
Stylist: Anush Shrestha
Outfits: COMO Nepal, Orchid Kids
Text: Mannat Shrestha
Location: The Exhibit Studio