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Sandi Ismail (CP Women Of Substance 2018)

Sandi Ismail (CP Women Of Substance 2018)

“A strong woman is one who builds other women up, not tears them down”

Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m a radio personality, a yoga enthusiast and an advocate for women’s rights and spreading awareness on mental health. I’m also the mama of three fur babies – Siggy, Scully and Sage!

Tell us about your education.
I was a major bookworm as a child so, after obtaining my A-Levels from high school, it seemed like a natural decision to study English Literature, which I earned from Kuwait University. While at university, I was introduced to my favourite literary subgenres: feminist and postcolonial literature by Dr Hanan Muzaffar and Dr Mai Al-Nakib, respectively.

Tell us about your career journey.
My first foray into radio started in 2009 on Mix FM as the co-host of ‘Mix Mornings’ while I was studying at university. After graduating in 2010, I moved to RKFM 99.7 as the host of ‘The Night Ride’. In 2012, I went on a hiatus from RKFM and then returned to the airwaves in February 2017. Those five years away from the radio were very difficult. That’s when I realised being in broadcasting wasn’t just my passion, but my destiny!

How do you manage your time? Describe your average day.
My day starts at either 5 or 7am, depending on when my yoga class starts that day. After class, I return home, prepare a hearty breakfast and then head out to attend meetings or run a few errands. If I’m having an easygoing day, I spend time with my cats, then work on playlists and show themes for my radio show. During the weekend, I try to spend as much time as I can with the people I love.

What is your biggest strength?
I’m transparent about speaking my truth. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in life, it’s not to keep our thoughts and feelings bottled in. Speaking one’s truth not only empowers the person speaking, but also helps break misconceptions and forms a path to dialogue and tolerance.

Do you have any weaknesses?
Over-thinking and questioning my thoughts. If there’s one thing I’d like to change about myself, it’s that!

Have you made any mistakes that have made you stronger?
All mistakes make us stronger one way or another. I’m grateful for all the ones I’ve made in the form of people and situations. My mistakes have taught me to be more resilient.

How do you stay motivated during challenging times?
By remembering exactly why I started in the first place. This helps to put my passion back into perspective.

What do you do to relax?
Binge-watching a year’s worth of TV in the matter of weeks! But my ultimate form of relaxation comes from yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga consistently since August 2017. It has really helped me centre myself on all fronts – emotional, mental and physical.

What is your favourite music?
I’m a huge fan of most music genres, but I mostly enjoy indie songs – particularly indie folk, and EDM.

What has been your proudest moment so far?
It’s really hard to answer this question because there’s so much to be proud and grateful for. However, the most recent moment that I’m proud of was when I was approached by a 9 year-old girl who said she wanted to be a radio personality like me when she grows up.

What is your biggest fear?
The thought of disappointing the people I love or look up to, terrifies me.

What is your favourite quote?
I am fully formed carved by the hands of the ancients, drenched with the stench of today’s headlines. But my own hands whittle the final work, me. – Gloria Anzaldúa

Name one item in life you can’t do without.
Other than my phone? Chamomile tea, avocado toast, concealer, books….it’s so hard to pick just one thing!

What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Don’t let the actions of others discourage you from what you want to achieve.

Share three books on your nightstand.
The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide, Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado and Arab Women Voice New Realities

In your opinion, what are the three keys to success?
To be passionate, confident, and brave enough to take risks.

What is next for you? What would you still like to achieve?
Plenty! However, I believe pinpointing certain goals can sometimes be a little bit of a hindrance in one’s growth; life is about exploring and discovering – and that’s exactly what I plan on doing!

What advice would you give to young women starting out in their career?
Always root for yourself. With that being said, never forget that a strong woman is one who builds other women up, not tears them down.

How does it feel to be a CP Woman of Substance?
It’s an absolute honour to have been selected as a CP Woman of Substance alongside other, very inspiring women. Thank you, CP!

Your message for the team at CP magazine:
Thank you for recognising women in Kuwait who are working to better different facets of the community, and hopefully even the world! This not only helps put women’s achievements on the map, but it also inspires young girls and women to pursue their dreams and passions.

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