The young businessperson discusses growing up in a setting where topics like menstruation, sexual health, romantic connections, friendships, and professional ties “weren’t taboo.”
Naveli, Navya Despite being born into a famous film family, Nanda chose to forge her own path. Navya decided to make a difference in the lives of people through her job after exploring the world on her own terms and being driven by an insatiable need for change. And thus, her entrepreneurial journey began.
Over the last few years, the 25-year-old has launched and collaborated on a number of social causes, particularly those related to women’s empowerment and health. Navya recently spoke with indianexpress.com about her initiatives, her podcast with Jaya Bachchan and Shweta Bachchan-Nanda, her love of travel and reading, and more.
The main goals of all the campaigns and initiatives you back are gender equality and women’s empowerment. Why are these problems motivating to you?
Our country has a female population that makes up 50% of the total. Inequality and the disproportionate advantages granted to women are also evident. Being a woman myself and coming from a background where I was never denied an opportunity, I made it my mission to open up these opportunities to more women so that we can be represented on all fronts, from politics and entertainment to healthcare and medicine. For the rest of my life, it is why I will continue to do this.
What gave rise to the idea for Project Naveli?
“Project Naveli” was launched 2.5 years ago. That was because I had just begun working in the field of women’s healthcare at the time. In addition to health, there are many additional pillars that I felt may help us support women. Therefore, the “Project Naveli” evolved into a platform through which we could work with women in a variety of areas, including health, education, entrepreneurship, and legal awareness.
You just partnered with the “Stand Up Against Street Harassment” programme. Could you please elaborate?
L’Oreal Paris has been working on this project for a very long time. There is an online training course that explains the various interventions that can be used if one is being harassed on the street or witnesses it. I’ve teamed up with them to support this cause and raise awareness of street harassment, which affects both men and women. And it’s not just emphasising intervention; it’s about discussing what it means to stand by victims and deter harassers. Given the type of work I’ve been doing, it’s a project that really reflects my values. So, it was a great partnership between the two of us.
Everyone listened intently to your podcast, which also included your mother and grandmother. How was it talking with your family about different elements of life?
The whole point of discussing topics that are taboo is that, the more you talk about them, the more normalised they become. I was actually raised in a setting where these topics weren’t considered taboo. Menstruation, sexual health, love relationships, friendships, professional relationships, etc. were all topics we could discuss. It was crucial for us to have those conversations in the hopes that it may encourage others to do the same and to not be afraid to bring up these topics in conversation.
What encouraged you to choose entrepreneurship over acting as someone with a background in film?
While one side of my family is in the entertainment industry, my father’s side of the family has a very long tradition of successful business people. Actually, it’s not a surprise that I decided to start my own business. That is the direction I want to go in. Whatever the path, whether it is in business or movies, I really believe that passion is crucial. Only if you are wholly committed to it should you choose a certain path. I selected the one I’m on right now for that reason.
Your social media feed makes it clear that you have a passion for travelling. What does travel mean to you?
I adore travelling. Travelling, in my opinion, is not just about visiting stunning locations; it’s also about getting the chance to interact with people you might not otherwise run with in your hometown. Travelling in India has been my most significant educational experience. We live in a huge, gorgeous, and diverse country. I believe that seeing different parts of India truly helps you understand the vast diversity and culture that our country has. Travel is one of the best teachers, thus learning is enhanced by it. This is what motivates me to keep travelling.
Do you ever feel annoyed by your frequent presence in the media spotlight? How do you move through that?
It’s wonderful that anyone with a public profile on social media is in the spotlight and has a voice. In addition, I often speak out in favour of social causes and topics that are very dear to my heart. I primarily garner attention for this. It’s fantastic that I have this platform to discuss issues that require much greater attention, in my opinion. It means more awareness and a more socially conscious community, so I am happy that people are bringing it up and talking about it.
Entrepreneurship can be time-consuming. How do you strike a balance between work and life?
I don’t consider my work to be work. It’s something I really enjoy. I don’t see it as something I have to force myself to do every day. It comes very naturally to me, and I am genuinely enthusiastic about it. When your work becomes something you truly like, you no longer regard it as just work. It’s the reason you’re doing what you’re doing. I don’t consider it anything to be balanced. As a result, it does not overwhelm me.
What are your favourite pastimes when you’re not working?
I enjoy reading a great deal. I am a voracious reader. I enjoy a fantastic criminal thriller and murder mystery since I am a great admirer of murder mysteries. At the same time, because I enjoy non-fiction, I read a lot of autobiographies, biographies, and business non-fiction. I also play the piano. When I’m not working, you can find me doing either of these two things.