Presenting to you, Payal Guin, Wife, Mother, Model, Designer, Self-taught Face-Art & Makeup Artist, Former Mrs. India 1st Runner-Up 2018, Mrs. Fashion Icon 2018, & Director, Delegate Acquisition, Corporate Event Industry, Bengaluru, India.
Born to a family from Bengal, Payal grew up in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. Age five, she designed her first couture from underwear, and a cardigan which unknowingly marked her entry into the world of fashion.
Growing up, she had a pretty good life until she turned eleven. Payal never sensed a more life-altering moment in her life. Diagnosed with Vitiligo, her life took an unexpected turn. She had to grow up faster as she learned the hard fact ‘people are mean and life is not all that easy’.
Payal always thought she was meant to be a homemaker. Nevertheless, throughout her life she pursued her desires and empowered herself. She took up stitching, fashion designing, she taught herself makeup art and face art and kept on exploring her passions. Payal never gave much interest to a career upuntill another life-altering event.
‘Thanks to my Bengali genes,’ Payal Guin says she is an Art Connoisseur. Artist who is amazing at singing, dancing, designing, styling, makeup, face art, and much more. Her passion lead her to be spotted and invited to be part of the 2018 Mrs. India competition. Rest is history. Payal didnot pursue a profession in the fashion world. She preferred to take up a career in Corporate Event Management.
Join us in conversation with Payal Guin. Let’s unveil her life journey from the unknown to world of Corporate Event Management.
A conversation with Chippy & Payal Guin, Director, Delegate Acquisition, Bengaluru, India.
(Edited and compiled by Priya Rajendran.)
|Chippy———————–||Welcome to ‘Conversation’ Payal.|
|Payal||Thank you for having me Chippy.|
|Chippy||Tell us a little about yourself.|
|Payal||I am the Director, Delegate Acquisition in the Corporate Event Industry in Bengaluru. Our company hosts events and conferences across the globe.|
|Chippy||Let’s put that hat away. Apart from work, who is Payal Guin?|
|Payal||Payal Guin… Oh! I was Payal Sen before marriage. A Bengali born and brought up in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. I consider myself a proud Jabalpuriyan. I did my entire education, from schooling to my post graduation from Jabalpur. |
I have always been a Jack of all trades. Thanks to my thirst for learning. I studied fashion designing, then became a self-taught artist, no classes or certified courses to compliment my claim.
My earliest tryst with fashion, styling, and makeup began when I was 5 years old. I would love to share a small story about how I was inspired to enter the fashion world and a bit about my childhood.
|Chippy||Yes please. I would love to hear it.|
|Payal||The year I entered the world of fashion, I used underwear, which resembled the tights people wore in the 80s for one of my designs. It had been newly introduced then. There is a background story for this inspiration too. I’m born in 1984 and we wore tights then. |
At that time, I wanted to create something for myself. So, when I was five years old, literally, I fashioned an outfit from underwear and one of my mother’s cardigans. I did use the sleeves. I cut and stuck to both sides of the undies, proudly wore it and flaunted in it. I was so happy and proud that I had worn an outfit that I had designed on my own! All wasn’t well in school though. Then Life changed for me in sixth standard.
|Payal||Yes, I went through an unforgettable phase during my sixth grade. I was diagnosed with Vitiligo. It’s a skin condition where the skin loses its pigment cell and I started showing white patches on my face and body. I had to take a lot of medications to keep it from spreading and or getting aggravated. The white patches got worse with time. I faced bullying in school because of my skin condition. Thus, my memories associated with school aren’t that great. I was surrounded by people and a town that was quite conservative and constantly made me feel like an outsider. Also, I was at a tender age and felt hurt deeply.|
|Chippy||You were only 11!|
|Payal||How I got treated broke my heart to the core. I could not entirely express all these emotions, feelings and hurt to anyone. My parents took me everywhere for different treatments. But nothing seemed to help me. It kept increasing – spread all over my eyelids, cheeks and hands. Soon, I started using makeup – lipstick, and even sketch paints, just to hide them.|
|Chippy||You were trying to cover it up.|
|Payal||Initially, I did. During school, yes. Eventually, as I expected, people started thinking I had applied some eyeshadow or lipstick in school for fun. Despite informing them that I used makeup to cover my patches, they continued to poke fun. |
The most painful thing is when people would not allow me to touch any newborn baby. They feared I would infect the baby and I felt insulted. No matter what, I could never persuade them that it is simply a colour pigmentation and not contagious or transferable. These patches resemble melanin deficiency.
|Chippy||I am really sorry this happened to you and you were so young.|
|Payal||My experiences taught me to be more empathetic towards people. Instead of becoming a weakness, my Vitiligo and white patches turned into my strength. It instilled more confidence in me. I never gave up on myself or never indulged in any self-pity. |
As a result, now I am extremely confident. At a point I reached a phase where I embraced my patches. I stopped taking medications and I was just happy then on.
I never shared my stories with everyone, but I did start sharing my story with those who suffered low self-esteem because of colour-linked prejudices, biases, and discrimination like I have faced. I would encourage them to turn their weakness into strengths and present themselves to the world confidently so that they would not be treated like any “bechaaree” or “obola nari” (someone vulnerable).
As I grew up, my skin tone slowly got restored. I think it perhaps was due to the early treatment I got and I assume it restored pigmentation to affected areas of my skin.
|Chippy||You mentioned bullying at school.|
|Payal||I did my schooling from one of the top schools in Madhya Pradesh. Yet bullying continued throughout my schooling. My teachers never bullied me, but they did keep questioning me and pointing out my scars. My seniors often asked me about my scars but once they came to know, they treated me as though I suffered from contagious diseases. I had very few friends back then. Thanks to my skin condition.|
By the time I reached 10th grade, I kept a distance from studies. I was always a back bencher. I chose to do Commerce after school because I knew I wouldn’t have to study much. But I remained proactive when it came to participation in all extracurricular activities. I made myself available for all events and activities. I pushed myself and made sure I would not get sidelined.
Oh! I also fell in love when I was in 9th standard.
|Chippy||That’s so sweet.|
|Payal||Yeah, he is my life partner now! We were in a long-distance relationship for a long time since he was pursuing his education in Nagpur. But whenever he visited Jabalpur, it used to be a memorable visit. Eventually we got married in 2008 and we are now blessed with two lovely daughters.|
|Chippy———————–||Payal, you mentioned that you were a backbencher in school. Why do you say that?|
|Payal||Yes, I was a backbencher in school. It did not change ahead too. During my college years also, I was the least career conscious. I would often think why should I invest so much in education if I wasn’t going to work in the future. Somewhere, I had also underestimated my potential. So, I decided to get married once I completed my M.Com (Masters in Commerce). |
After pursuing my Master’s degree, within a gap of six months, I learned basic stitching in 15 days. And once I got married, I started stitching my mother-in-law’s blouses, my blouse, my mother’s dresses, etc. I learned all this on my own.
I always thought I was meant to be a homemaker – looking after the house and cooking food for my husband and children. Nothing beyond that. But during these stages of my life too, I didn’t stop exploring my passions. I started taking up stitching work. Since I loved experimenting with fashion trends and styling and was good with “jugaad” (making maximum use of resources at minimum costs), I specialized in designer blouses using good quality materials I purchased at budget-friendly costs.
|Chippy||Tell us more about how you got into the stitching business.|
|Payal||After marriage, I continued stitching but never did it for money. So during 2014 my friends pointed out that I must charge a nominal price. They pointed out the fact that I am putting in so much effort. When I started my stitching business, I was also pregnant with my younger daughter. I used to wake up early in the morning at 5 and start stitching. I stitched nearly two to three blouses a day – mostly designer blouses. My friends encouraged me a lot by giving me more orders.|
|Chippy||You also moved cities.|
|Payal||I moved to Bengaluru in 2015 with my husband. He got a job opportunity in Bengaluru. Here also, I continued stitching. |
In the interim, I started painting as well. I used to gift my paintings to friends, who loved it.
|Chippy||There is an artist hidden inside you.|
|Payal||Apart from stitching and designing, I’m also a makeup enthusiast. Before marriage, I used to do all kinds of makeup, including bridal makeup for all whom I knew. Since it was my passion, I did it for free. I loved trying various hair do and did it for children living in my neighbourhood as well. This came into use during my wedding. I did my own bridal makeup. After we got married, we had a joint reception with my elder brother-in-law who had also got married then. I did my sister-in-law’s makeup as well.|
|Chippy||“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” Designing, stitching, makeup, styling…you are full of surprises…What did you do next?|
|Payal||This is where things get interesting. There is a group on Social Media called Urban Tribal. The page promotes all kinds of arts and you can promote your talent there. Since I loved singing and dancing too (thanks to my Bengali blood), I started posting my song and dance performances there. I became quite active in that group. My father is a photographer, so I have a passion for that too. I also do a lot of photography and click selfies too.|
|Chippy———————–||That’s cool. Tell me Payal, how and where did your Mrs India pageant journey begin?|
|Payal||As I mentioned earlier, I am an Art Connoisseur – singing, dancing, makeup, face art and taking photographs and being clicked as well. So, I got noticed by one of the organizers of the Allure Mrs Asia Pacific India pageant. The pageant was to happen in Delhi and they had begun auditions already. |
This organizer who was heading the Mumbai zone, Maharashtra, had been following me on my social media pages. She directly approached me if I would be interested in participating. She even mentioned she had already seen my singing and dancing performances and if I agreed to participate, I would be directly shortlisted for the finale. I was super excited! It was a huge deal for me, considering I was going for the finale.
|Chippy||That must have been an amazing break for you! Share more about your journey and preparations for the pageant until the finale…|
|Payal||I had always been taught to make good use of resources with limited money since childhood. A pageant meant a good amount of money to be spent on clothes, makeup, grooming and accessories. I was assigned a mentor during the pageant. During discussions with her, I shared my worry about the same. In turn, she assured me that it is my creativity which will stand out during the pageant. So, it meant that a well-designed dress would stand out no matter what the cost of the material was. |
Being a fashionista, I was aware of how to do this. I did all street shopping – nothing branded. For the pageant, I had packed a few sets of shoes with me, necessary makeup, and everything else basic. Before starting with the pageant, I had a notion that since it is going to be in Delhi, there will inevitably be a lot of show off. It was only later I learned during my journey that it was grace and confidence, the way you present yourself and the way you interact is what mattered the most for judges. You will be judged from the moment you enter the pageant. Since I’m an extrovert, I had no problem with that aspect.
My overall journey was a beautiful experience. Everyone treated me well, right from groomers to choreographers. It was a four-day event and the last day was the finale. It was overwhelming for me since I had never encountered a big audience in my life. Once the pageant was over, I gained a whole lot of confidence to face huge crowd and be able to talk to anyone.
|Chippy||I am sure you carry loads of memories with you from the pageant. Any touching incident that you want to share from the pageant?|
|Payal||There was one incident that I can never forget. During the introduction round, the very thought of it still makes me shake. During this phase, you are expected to talk about yourself, introduce you and all participants have been trained to learn the speech verbatim. I did learn mine too. However when I had to face the audience, I froze. Yes. It happened. |
I was happy that the judges told me to relax and even allowed me to take my time. It took me some time to relax, and then I got myself together and did a good job. However, I think my nervousness may have gotten reflected and I may have lost points in this round of the competition. This moment still remains fresh in my mind and stays with me. It was an unforgettable moment.
|Chippy||What was running through your head during the whole pageant?|
|Payal||This entire journey and experience was new to me. I was quite scared too. The fact that I had to encounter this world and the one thing that kept me going and I kept assuring myself all the time, ‘I have this opportunity, and I have to give my 100%.’ And I gave that. It was worth every second.|
|Chippy||This indeed was a challenge for you. You wanted this for yourself.|
|Payal||True! I really wanted to take full advantage of this challenge and opportunity to prove myself. The rest as you know is history. When they announced the name Payal Guin as the first runner up, I was quite shocked, stunned and truly happy!|
|Chippy||It’s a big feat. Yeah, I can imagine!|
|Payal||I earned it. I earned that name. And then post pageant, when I returned home, all my friends encouraged me saying since I won this crown, I shouldn’t let it go to waste. They said, you know, you have potential. Just explore it. I also started getting offers. Something was burning inside me. I really wanted to do so many things, but my focus was to be with my family and both my children. I did take up one assignment I was offered though, after the pageant. But once I did this assignment, I started getting more offers from theaters in South India for short movies etc, but I turned them down.|
|Chippy———————–||The pageant was over and you weren’t planning to take up any offers that came your way!|
|Payal||Right. I wasn’t planning to take up anything related to the industry. So instead, I joined a Corporate Event Management firm of Architects and Interior Designers. It was a sales profile, which was completely new to me. But thanks to my grooming during the pageant, I got confidence to take on this new profile. |
After 15 days of training, I started interacting with leading Architects and Interior Designers across India. Since I had young kids, I informed them that I would be working only for three hours. So, it was a challenge for me too. This work was based on targets and I was told to complete targets – the time to complete it, did not matter.
Time management became vital. I was the only one in charge of delegates and the firm hosted all B2B summits. My responsibility was to organize a lot of in-person meetings, inviting Architects, Principal Architects and Principal Interior Designers. I became good at my work by learning and observing people around me, and the way the teams interacted with clients.
I became the top seller of the company each time and within six months, I was promoted from a Delegates Relations Officer to Delegates Manager. I worked for two and a half years until the pandemic hit us.
|Chippy||That must have been hard for you, right?|
|Payal||When the pandemic hit, it became difficult for me to work from the office so I quit the job to be with my family. But the positive part is that amidst all this, my clients proactively called me and said I could work with them. It was really an honour.|
|Chippy||During Pandemic how did you make use of that time.|
|Payal||For the work I did, it was a challenge to continue. Since work from home can be an obstacle in building a client network. You need to meet people in person to crack sales deals. Once I quit the job, I spotted Face Art videos on social media and started experimenting with them. I fell in love with this art and created my Instagram page for the same. I shared all my Face Art on Urban Tribal again. I started receiving a lot of appreciation on all my posts. Thanks to huge encouragement from members, I started making Instagram reels on Face Art. My inspiration is a famous face artist on social media called Mimi Chow. |
I also started makeup tutorials on Zoom. My students ranged from 17-76 year olds! Each time, I had to use makeup on my own self for all the demos. That was a big challenge for my skin. Many buy a lot of expensive cosmetics but do not know how to apply it. I received a great response then and a lot of people wanted to learn how to apply makeup. My focus was teaching them to use budget friendly cosmetics and do amazing makeup using a lot of tricks and hacks.
|Chippy||During pandemic years, you did take on Face-Art. Is there any chance that you turn Face Art into a profession or perhaps do a collaboration with someone in the fashion industry?|
|Payal||I had to halt doing Face Art because of my new work schedules and restarting of schools here. But I will definitely do it sometime in the future. Hopefully full time. For Face Art, I had started getting offers for collaborations from professionals, asking me to work for them too. |
India is still not exposed to Face Art as much as other countries. There are very few artists in India but even they don’t have much exposure here. I think it will catch up soon in India as well. I do want to take it up full time as well. Just waiting to get more time for it so that I can do justice to this art form as well and work towards it.
|Chippy||At each stage, you manage to step up. Each time you worked harder to get yourself that space and find a spot for yourself, and made a space for yourself. It matters to us as a person, as an individual, that we have our own personality and identity, and we need to do something for ourselves, to lift ourselves up so that we will feel that we have done something.|
|Payal||Yes, I had to work extremely hard for everything. I always had a shelled life – as in, I really didn’t get many opportunities to explore myself. Whatever I did, I really had to struggle and grab those opportunities for myself. So, I am happy I could explore myself whenever I got a chance and also started realizing I do have choices despite the constraints I have. My work gave me a sense of identity and independence as an individual.|
|Chippy||So, when did you begin your current job? You re-started your career, right?|
|Payal||So, after two years of the pandemic, companies started re-hiring. I applied for work once more and got my current job.|
|Chippy———————–||What if we could go back in time and meet your 18-year self? What would you tell her?|
|Payal||will definitely ask her to pursue a good education. Explore her career more and be extremely ambitious when it comes to career. I would ask her to do something really great for herself and for society as well.|
|Chippy||Is there anybody who inspired and influenced you, also pushed you towards becoming what you are today?|
|Payal||I would say my husband. I have known him since I was fourteen, he has been my rock. Next without a blink, my mother-in-law. She is my biggest inspiration who stood strongly by me and supported me to participate in the pageant and whatever I am doing now in my career. Next is my mentor during my pageant who groomed me and motivated me a lot. |
Last but not the least, Urban Tribal whose members helped me and encouraged and pushed me to attain my success. Urban Tribal is an amazing platform wherein I got an opportunity to exhibit my talent. That’s the reason people got to know about me. So, I really owe this group a lot.
|Chippy||What lies ahead for Payal?|
|Payal||Let me put it this way. It all started with me watching a random video of Face Art and I started learning, engaging and doing the same. After posting one video on Face Art, I received a lot of appreciation and fascinating comments on Instagram, and I just went with the flow.|
So, I really don’t know what the universe has in store for me next. I am just going with the flow. I just accept whatever is coming my way. I never thought I would be entering a beauty pageant. Neither did I think I would be doing Face Art. You don’t know what can push you or interest you.
|Chippy||Unfinished. There is more to come and Payal has more to offer. Your story is unfinished. It was an absolute delight talking to you.|
|Payal||Absolutely. Thank you so much Chippy for spending so much time on my story. Really means a lot.|
|Chippy||Thank you Payal for taking time to share your story so far. Wish you only the best in life and we will be rooting for you in everything you do.|
Follow Payal Guin Follow on LinkedIn