Sporting dazzling jewellery from Bulgari, five dynamic women from the city of Nizams get candid with HELLO! about their success stories — notwithstanding their illustrious backgrounds.
They belong to some of Hyderabad’s most elite families but chose to forge their own identities, away from resting on family laurels alone… Sandhya Raju believes in finding happiness in pursuing goals rather than living a life of leisure. Shriya Bhupal lives in eternal gratitude for the privileges and opportunities life has bestowed upon her. Ishita Mallineni enjoys her new experiences in London as she studies business management. Hasini Rao Boinipally puts her skills to good use in healthcare. And Viranica Manchu is busy bringing a progressive education model to Hyderabad as well as changing the world of kidswear. In this special feature, HELLO! celebrates these enterprising women and their journeys of growth and success.
Sandhya Raju (Managing Director, Sandhya Spinning Mill, Kuchipudi Dancer & Actor)
HELLO!: You were born into an illustrious family and are the daughter of PR Venketrama Raju, Chairman of Ramco Industries. What were your formative years like?
Sandhya Raju: “I grew up in a traditional business family and was raised by highly educated parents who are well read, spiritual and driven to excellence. Every single member of my family is work-driven and finds happiness in their goals, rather than in the joys of a life of leisure.”
H!: Tell us about your husband Byrraju Rama Raju, son of industrialist Ramalinga Raju…
SR: “I hardly had a social life growing up. My days would begin at 5am and end at 11pm after numerous activities. I met Ramu once over dinner at my parents’ request and decided to marry him. Luckily, he turned out to be a wonderful man who’s kind, warm, funny and always encouraging me to pursue my dreams. I’m happy I have a husband who respects my work ethic.”
H!: How did you develop an interest in Kuchipudi? You’ve had over 800 live performances across the globe!
SR: “No one, not even my parents, could have predicted that an after-school hobby would become my life’s obsession, thanks to the influence of my extraordinary guru, the late Padma Bhushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam. From the age of 10, I knew I’d become a professional dancer.”
H!: Your Telugu movie Natyam won two National Film Awards this year. What made you take the plunge into this medium?
SR: “When I realised that the opportunities coming my way as a Kuchipudi solo artist were limited, I turned to social media platforms, which led me to feature films. Acting feels like an extension of my existing potential as a dancer. I’ve trained extensively to portray different characters, display various emotions and sustain mesmerising moments for an audience.”
H!: Define your personal sense of style.
SR: “Safe and classic. I can style myself in a half saree as well as a couture gown, depending on the occasion. I prefer monotones, whites, pastels, florals and simple, classic silhouettes.”
H!: Who are your favourite designers?
SR: “I love my best friend Anushree Reddy’s Indian wear. I also love classic French chic designs. I’m partial to Dolce & Gabbana’s floral dresses.”
H!: What’s your favourite piece of jewellery?
SR: “My parents gifted me a pair of solitaire earrings for my wedding that I wear all the time. Recently, I gifted myself something from Bulgari for achieving my dream of winning a National Award. This was the first time I bought something for myself!”
H!: Your most luxe experience:
SR: “African safaris. Nothing makes me feel more privileged than to be on an exotic holiday in the African Savannah.”
H!: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
SR: “I see myself in the new home my husband and I are building in Hyderabad, surrounded by all my loved ones and feeling absolutely content.”
Shriya Bhupal (Founder & Designer, Shriya Som)
H!: You belong to the eminent GVK family in Hyderabad. Tell us about your background.
Shriya Bhupal: “I’m always grateful to be born into my family and truly appreciate every opportunity I’ve been lucky to receive.”
H!: How did you decide to launch your couture and ready-to-wear label?
SB: “My journey began in 2012, after I graduated from Parsons, New York. I’ve always wanted to be a part of the art world. I even dabbled in fine art and was keen to be an animator. But once I was introduced to garment construction, I knew that was my calling. Having a mentor like Tarun Tahiliani pushed me to develop a signature aesthetic as a designer.”
H!: Your marriage to Anindith Reddy made you part of the family behind Apollo Hospitals. What attracted you to your husband?
SB: “My husband and I have been classmates since the fifth grade. We grew up together. You could say we are high school sweethearts!”
H!: How’d you define your personal style?
SB: “My style is ever changing! Currently, during the day, I enjoy adding my own twist to the Gen-Z aesthetic of oversized sweats, standout yet relaxed T-shirts and chunky shoes. At night, I like to dress classic and add a statement jacket, shoes or bag to the look.”
H!: Who are your favourite jewellery designers?
SB: “Apart from the heritage family jewellery passed down to me from my grandmother, I admire the designs of Graff, Bulgari and Boghossian.”
H!: Three fashion tips for women:
SB: “1. Choose timeless statement pieces that you can style from day to night and pass down to your children. 2. Don’t stick to one aesthetic; as you grow, so does your style. So be free, be experimental, be fearless! 3. Being comfortable in how you dress speaks volumes. Trust your gut.”
H!: Your best luxe experience so far:
SB: “A day spent at the MET Costume Institute Exhibition in New York City.”
H!: What did you learn about style from your mother, fashion icon Shalini Bhupal?
SB: “I grew up watching and admiring how my mom dresses. I think my style reflects her love for experimentation.”
Ishita Mallineni (Business Management Student)
H!: Describe yourself in five words:
Ishita Mallineni: “Confident, passionate, considerate, extroverted and a feminist!”
H!: How are you enjoying your experience pursuing business management in London?
IM: “I absolutely love everything about London! For me, it’s a tie among the food here, my friends and retail therapy. It’s been a great learning experience overall. I’ve met some amazing people and created wonderful memories!”
H!: What made you decide to get married at 20?
IM: “I met the love of my life in 2022, and it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It felt as though we were destined to be together, so here we are!”
H!: Could you tell us something about your husband?
IM: “He runs his family business, which is an engineering and infrastructure company. He’s an avid traveller, loves his cars and absolutely loves the beach!”
H!: How would you define your personal sense of style?
IM: “I love dressing up! It’s a trait I inherited from my grandmother. My go-to aesthetic is chic, structured, feminine and, most importantly, functional.”
H!: Your favourite fashion and jewellery brands:
IM: “My favourite fashion houses are Chanel and Hermès, and my go-to jewellery brands are Cartier and Bulgari, as I love how exquisite and timeless every single piece they curate is.”
H!: The one piece of jewellery you always wear:
IM: “Solitaires, always!”
H!: Your favourite shopping destinations:
IM: “London and Dubai have my heart when it comes to shopping.”
H!: Your current luxury indulgence:
IM: “l’ve been splurging on bags and jewellery of late. Every woman needs a few accessories in her closet, like a classic handbag, a bracelet, or a statement necklace, as they can enhance any outfit.”
H!: What perks you up when you feel low?
IM: “Going on a long drive with my husband always leaves me feeling much better.”
Hasini Rao Boinipally (Doctor & Entrepreneur)
H!: You hail from a prominent business family. Give us some insight into your background...
Hasini Rao Boinipally: “I did my schooling in Hyderabad and graduated in medicine. But while taking my first career steps, I found that I was more inclined towards entrepreneurship. So I’m a second-generation entrepreneur in my family.”
H!: What’s it like working as both a doctor and entrepreneur?
HRB: “As one of my family businesses is in healthcare and I’m a doctor, the balance is good for me to work in the same field. I also run a startup on artificial intelligence, which help hone my skills in a new field of work.”
H!: You’re also identified as a fashionista. How would you define your personal sense of style?
HRB: “I like to keep my look simple and elegant and add a statement piece to enhance it overall. It’s best to keep your colours and patterns muted to prevent the outfit from being too over the top.”
H!: Your favourite fashion and jewellery designers:
HRB: “Cartier, Bulgari, Repossi and Boucheron for jewellery, and Louis Vitton, Alaia, Chanel and Gucci for fashion.”
H!: What does luxury mean to you?
HRB: “Luxury is the feeling you get from a great experience and is not defined by a price tag. I look for quality and craftsmanship that stand out and is well-appreciated.”
H!: Your favourite shopping destinations:
HRB: “Paris, London and Dubai.”
H!: Your favourite heirloom pieces:
HRB: “My mother gifted me one of my favourite jewellery pieces from her collection for my 21st birthday.”
Viranica Manchu (Founder, Maison Ava & New York Academy, Hyderabad)
H!: Share your thoughts on the concept and your role as the founder of New York Academy, Hyderabad?
Viranica Manchu: “New York Academy is a progressive American school. Progressive education instils in children a lifelong love for learning and equips them with values to become the leaders of our ever-changing world. As the founder and director of NYA, my role is to ensure the smooth functioning of the school.”
H!: What kind of an upbringing did you have in New York?
VM: “My parents gave me complete ownership and freedom to make decisions about what I wanted to study and pursue later in life. And for that, I will forever be grateful to them. Living in a city like NYC ensured I was exposed to multiple cultures and diversity. My love for design comes from the various elements of the city, including its exceptional architecture and Art Deco aesthetic.”
H!: How did your journey with Maison Ava begin?
VM: “I have four children, and I love dressing them up. I’d always look to my designer friends to make couture outfits for my firstborns, my twin girls. As my quest for these continued, I realised they just didn’t exist in the market. So I built my team and did my research on cuts and patterns for my first collection. And Maison Ava was born.”
H!: Are the kids as fashion conscious as you?
VM: “Yes! And they have a mind of their own. They have their own identity and individual style, which I love! It’s amazing because I don’t have to look elsewhere for design inspiration. They constantly inspire me to create and evolve.”
H!: Define your personal sense of style.
VM: “My style is more classic and timeless. I’m not one to get carried away by fads and trends. I like effortless fashion and timeless silhouettes.”
H!: Your favourite jewellery designers:
VM: “Bulgari, Buccellati and Van Cleef & Arpels are some of my favourite brands.”
H!: You’re married to a popular actor, Vishnu Manchu. How did you two meet?
VM: “I met Vishnu when I had first moved back to India after finishing my education. He had attended a party I had hosted in Hyderabad for my grandfather’s birthday. As soon as I met him, I knew he was the one for me. It was an instant connection.”
H!: Do you design your husband’s wardrobe, as well?
VM: “Yes, I do! He works with amazing stylists, as well, but he always wants me to have the final word. Now that we have an atelier of our own, there’s a team always working on creating new styles for him.”
H!: The most coveted item in your wardrobe:
VM: “I can’t pinpoint one, but it’s definitely my collection of Hermès handbags.
H!: Your current indulgence:
VM: “I love skincare. I love to try out and experience the newest products in the market.”
Interview: Nayare Ali; Photos: Dabboo Ratnani; Creative Direction & Styling: Preetham Jukalkar; Jewellery Courtesy: Bulgari; Hair & Makeup for Sandhya: Sachin Dakoji & Lucky; Hair & Makeup for Ishita: Sandeep Molugu & Rajabal
This has been adapted for the web from a story originally published in the April 2023 issue of HELLO! India. Get our copy of the latest issue right here!