Hansika Chandiramani is a celebrity manager and founder of HC Media. She’s a strong personality, very committed, and a go-getter. She knows what she wants and she leaves no stone unturned to get it – her profession does call for a person like that. But work that requires one to look their best through the long hours, heavy workload and lots of travel, must be some challenge. We managed to catch her in between shoots and events, at a very ‘backstage’ location, to know all about her work and how she manages to make her wardrobe work for her.
WM: Let’s start with your work, how did it happen?
HC: How I got into this profession, was actually unplanned. I really wanted to be in front of the camera. Not a lot of people know, but I have worked in a serial too. I also did one shoot with Manish Paul during his struggling days, almost 10 years ago. Now though, I work with him as a celebrity manager. Then I did some modeling stints with MTV and Channel V. My parents, though, especially my father, were not very supportive of me being in front of the camera. And I did not want to do something that he did not support. Around then, somebody offered me a job in celebrity management. At that time I had no idea that such a profession existed, but they assured me that going by my strong personality and knowledge of what happens behind the camera, I was a good fit. So, I took it up.
The first client I worked with was Anusha Dandekar, and after about 8 years of working together, she was the first celebrity to sign up to my agency, HC Media. She’s not only an artist that I have managed, but she’s actually been my pillar of strength…in my personal life as well. I am extremely grateful to her and to Sunil Grover. I met Sunil at a stage when I had not even registered the company, and I told him that “I want to manage your work”, and it was very kind of him to say, “Okay, do it”. So, these two artists gave me the strength to quit a job and start a company. It’s been a year and a half now, and I’ve worked with almost everybody in Bollywood…from singers to cricketers, not just actors, and I really like it.
Schedule-wise, I work all days in a year. Our work on outdoor events is seasonal, so during the monsoon, work is easier. But otherwise, I don’t think I’ve ever not worked on a New Year’s, or taken a holiday for Christmas or Holi. We also look forward to festivals, like everyone else, but in our case, while we enjoy the festive feel, we’re never really taking a holiday.
One thing that comes with this profession is that there is no fixed holiday, working weekends is a thing, it’s definitely not a 9 to 5 job. But of course, I do have a life beyond work, because I think that this is the age when we should enjoy ourselves and our work to the fullest. So, I do take my time off from work as and when time and the situation permits.
WM: With such a hectic routine, obviously, your wardrobe has to be as ‘ready’ for every kind of occasion, right?
HC: Exactly! My wardrobe is complete with outfits from a ghagra choli fit for a garba night, to going to an Eid party, to comfortable yet stylish outfits I could wear if I had to take a flight and land up straight at an event. That’s because of the nature of my work – I attend all kinds of occasions and events, but also because of how I am. I love all festivals, so I would go dancing with friends throughout Navratri, and try to engage in as many festive activities as possible. Having said that, I think a good wardrobe is one where you have an outfit for any occasion that you’re invited for. When you’re invited, you already know at the back of your head, what you’re going to wear to that event.
WM: Tell us all about how you dress for work. What do you wear most often?
HC: I don’t really stick to one or two things. I do a lot of mix and match, since most of the time we’re travelling with celebrities who are very well-dressed. So you do have to think of picking your clothes well. They should also be apt for the occasion – for the airport, parties, or even for breakfast with them at the hotel where we stay for the duration of the event. So yes, my wardrobe is pretty stacked with such clothes.
Since jumpsuits are comfortable, and a single piece – you do not need to put much thought into how to pair up top and bottom, I wear them often to events where I need not dress up too much. The good thing is, they also work well when you have long flights, because they’re so fuss-free! I wear a lot of Juicy Couture jumpsuits, though they’ve stopped making them now. (giggles) I’ve managed to get as many as possible, and good for me, they’re really long lasting.
I have jumpsuits in every kind – full sleeves, sleeveless, or even backless. I would usually wear them at events with these white shoes that I have, since they’re extremely comfortable for running around, and thankfully, the cameras are often not on our shoes. So, as much as I am extremely fond of boots and would wear them not only during winters, but literally any and every time of the year, at events at least, with the jumpsuits, I stick to comfort over anything.
I also wear a lot of blazer jackets, which I would wear over my jumpsuits, to give them a formal look. They make you look sharper and add in that element of authority to your look. I am also extremely fond of long flowy jackets that can make any outfit look more stylish and interesting.
I don’t accessorise too much as my focus points are my watch and shades, but yes, I have picked up some long necklaces and statement rings from my travels.
I like to dress head to toe in colours. I think that your outfits should shout out your personality loud and clear. At least at work, that always helps. So, for my work, I really dress up, even wear the most vibrant colours on my nails or lips, so I would stand out looking stylish and more importantly, fun!
(We intervened: Are you brand conscious?)
HC: When it comes to brands, I love Forever21, because they have nice jumpsuits, but I’m not really brand conscious. Yes, if a brand has something that really caters to my wardrobe needs, I would look out for it. I’m okay with shoes and clothes that are not really branded, but of course, they should be stylish and of good quality. Though, when it comes to watches and shades, I need my brands – those two things I would not wear if they weren’t branded. My maternal aunt from Dubai, used to send me watches as a kid, and I quickly got so fond of them that I would wear them everyday, even though I was really young. Since then, I cannot step out without a watch and just feel incomplete if I head out with my wrists empty.
My work also requires me to be at events where I would have to wear something ethnic. So, I do wear kurtas. But, I really think that Indian wear is not very user-friendly, and so, 90% of my Indian clothes would be a kurta paired up with pants that have an elastic waist. That way, I am comfortable, yet dressed for the occasion. I have a lot of these pants with a side zipper too, so that if I wear a shorter kurta, that looks as stylish and nice. I never ever carry a dupatta, and so I go in for high collars, so they look semi-formal. Moreover, at work, you cannot be fidgeting with your dupatta or worrying about your deep neck. Again, a chudidar at work would be so uncomfortable, when you have to sit and get up again and again. So, I instead would go in for salwars, again with an elastic waist.
For ethnic wear, I think everyone’s wardrobe should have pants in a couple of different shades of gold, so you can mix and match them with any coloured tunic or kurta, ditching the bottoms they came with, to create a new look. I even wear capes on Indian wear, so that makes my outfits versatile. It makes sense to invest in single pieces that would work with other pieces in your wardrobe. That way, you have more outfit looks than you think.
WM: If you had to describe what your wardrobe is like in short, how would you describe it?
HC: Style meets utility. That’s because, both of these are very important aspects for my wardrobe to be in sync with my work. Like I mentioned, I have a lot of jumpsuits. I do not wear jeans as much, I’m not very fond of them, I wear them only when I need to be warm, say during winters or if I travel to a colder place. They’re not user-friendly in Mumbai weather.
I often opt for leggings and jeggings instead. They’re high on utility and style, and perfect for my pear-shaped figure. I really think that people should put thought into dressing according to their body type. That way, it’s easier to look your best.
WM: You mentioned your work makes you travel a lot. You must be carrying a lot of big, heavy bags around.
HC: Fortunately for me, my profession has got me in touch with a lot of brands, labels, and designers. I get to wear the nicest of clothes and since I am constantly around celebrities, I need to be looking my best. So, I’m really grateful to them. I often get a lot of clothes from a close designer friend of mine, Snehal More. She runs a studio called Golden Hanger in Chembur. She’s one of my go-to people when I suddenly have to attend an event where I have to wear something heavy and glamorous. Of late, Flyrobe has been my saviour too, they not only send in outfits for the celebrities that I handle, but also for myself. That makes life much easier, especially during season time, when we literally live out of suitcases. There have been times when I have travelled 15 days in a month, and those 15 days have not necessarily been at a stretch – I’m in one city one day, then another, and so on. That’s when having these people around helps, because at least when it comes to your wardrobe, they’ve got your back.