To the outside world, it may seem like she’s born with a “diamond spoon”, but Upasana Kamineni Konidela neither takes her privileges lightly, nor for granted. She represents two of India’s prominent legacies – as a third generation entrepreneur and philanthropist from the family of a leading healthcare group and married into a family of film superstars. That gives her more impetus to empower others around her, says the 33-year-old healthcare entrepreneur, philanthropist and sustainability champion, who is currently expecting her first child with RRR star Ram Charan. On International Women’s Day 2023, HealthShots interacts with Upasana Kamineni Konidela about women empowerment, healthcare and leading a happy marriage.
Healthcare is a cause close to Upasana Kamineni Konidela’s heart, and she is at the helm of a wellness platform as well as Vice Chairman of CSR, Apollo Foundation, which works in the urban, rural, and tribal landscapes of India. She has very recently become one of the youngest independent directors of a publicly listed company, proving that she’s ready to balance her personal and professional life during motherhood head-on!
Excerpts from the HealthShots interview with Upasana Kamineni Konidela
1. What is women empowerment to you?
Upasana Kamineni Konidela: Women empowerment to me is being financially independent. Whether it is urban or rural population, when the woman is financially independent, her health improves, her mental state improves and she feels great about herself. So why not be financially independent? Turn your passion into business. If you can run a house, you can definitely run a business… Actually running a house is much tougher for me (laughs)! If every woman became an entrepreneur in her own right, the GDP of the country would rise, and we would become a more successful and more powerful nation.
Watch the video interview of Upasana Kamineni Konidela right here!
2. How can more women start prioritising healthcare?
Upasana Kamineni Konidela: Whether you are in a tribal region or a city, the minute you have financial stability and you know your health matters for your family and the family’s well-being, it will automatically fall in place. I seriously suggest that women take care of their health… We really need promote more financial stability for women in the nation and that will completely impact your health in a great way. It will improve your self-worth. The minute you know, ‘Hey, I am worth it’, you will start taking care of your health like there’s no tomorrow. You will start walking, you will start eating healthier, give up all the fried food, then you will start going for health checks. You will understand the value of health for yourself and your family.
3. Tell us why is running a house more difficult for you?
Upasana Kamineni Konidela: Running a house is tougher for me because I have a lot of things to take care of and also because of two people’s very strict diets and regimes. We (Ram Charan and I) do a lot for our well-being. I like smaller things in life. At 6 p.m. every day, both of us like to light candles in the house. That’s something sweet we do. Making sure both our schedules match, and that by 10:30 a.m. food leaves for his shooting location… Getting all that sorted while running a business, the house is more taxing for me than running a business! But I get huge support from Ram’s mother, who is my biggest support system.
4. How important is a strong support system for a woman?
Upasana Kamineni Konidela: The support system has been very personal to me right now. Whatever I do for my husband – go to places with him or spend time with him on set, he would do the exact same thing to me when I need it. Going with him to the Golden Globes (for ‘RRR’), or being on the set with him when he was going through a tough time and working really hard… being supportive is really important. And he does the same for me. Ram can’t show it as much because my work is not in front of the camera, but he is always there as a support system. Supporting and respecting one another in a relationship and your different professions, can be the biggest strength.
Also read: Having a strong support system won’t make you feel weak. Here’s why
5. Have you experienced bias as a woman in a position of privilege?
Upasana Kamineni Konidela: Well, with great privilege comes great responsibility, so it’s not such an easy life because I challenge myself to be better every day. I want to be known because of my worth, not because of my birth. I represent two of the biggest families – one in healthcare and one in film. And what a waste of a lifetime if I don’t put it to good use. I know the outside world can say she’s born with a diamond spoon, but only a diamond can polish a rough diamond. I am my biggest critic and constantly keep challenging myself.
For more real-life stories on women empowerment from HealthShots, click here!
6. You have recently completed a decade of marriage with Ram Charan and you are set to enter the beautiful phase of motherhood. What is your mantra for a happy married life?
Upasana Kamineni Konidela: Ram believes that you should never fall in love, you should only grow in love. And so, every day is a new learning. We have a discipline as well that we maintain and we review our relationship goals just as we review our business. It’s healthy to do such things. Maintaining basic principles and lines of communication are our mantra of successfully spending 10 years together!