Gauri Sathe, who lives with her husband and two kids in San Jose, California, has ambitions to do a little bit of everything. By day, she works at a software company, but she’s also a student of dance and an avid photographer with plans to start her own skincare line. In 10 years, she says, “I want to see myself wearing many hats.” Despite her drive, she tells the Indian SCENE life hasn’t been easy: she’s struggled with depression, which she describes as a “hard and trying” time in her life, and she’s vocal about the need to end stigma around mental health. “Since this is a topic that is considered as taboo we need more conversation and dialogue and less judgement for the person going through it,” she says. To that end, she runs a private Facebook group where South Asian women are able to talk regularly about their struggles and well-being. Eventually, she’d like to open it up beyond the South Asian community: “Mental health doesn’t discriminate.” The Indian SCENE talked to Sathe about her inspiration, her personal style and her goals.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.
The Indian SCENE: How would your friends describe you?
Gauri Sathe: I have never asked my friends this question but I would consider myself a loyal friend and I believe most of my friends will agree with that.
IS: How did your parents influence you?
GS: I was brought up with classic middle class values which included hard work, sincerity and perseverance in whatever it is that I undertake. And those are the values that still keep me going and reaching for whatever I desire and undertake in life.
IS: What are you proud of accomplishing?
GS: There is not one single thing that I am most proud of. There are a number of things. You keep doing things and try to do the best that you can. I try to do that with everything I do. In that sense everything is an accomplishment which brings out the best in a person and gives immense joy and pride.
IS: Who inspires you?
GS: There are a lot of people who have inspired me at various stages of life. Jane Goodall, Marissa Mayer, Barack Obama, and there are many more. Michelle Obama is someone I look up to. She is charismatic, smart, confident and a person in her own right. She is accomplished and well educated. Coming from a working class family and accomplishing through perseverance and hard work, she is a true role model for today’s youth.
IS: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
GS: In 10 years, which is a very long time if you think about it, I want to see myself wearing many hats. Working on my passions, learning new things, traveling, writing.
At the same time I want to start my skincare line, give myself a platform to raise important issues and give voice to problems facing the world today. Last but not least, I want to see my children thrive and be successful in whatever they do.
IS: How would you describe your personal style?
GS: Classy and structured. I like well fitting clothes. For me, an outfit should fit well and should be comfortable. I don’t usually follow any trends but go for what looks good on me.
IS: What is the one thing you never leave home without?
GS: My purse, which holds my cell phone, lipstick and an eyeliner!
IS: What’s your favorite accessory?
GS: My shoes. Shoes can really elevate an outfit. I love high heels and some basic colored pumps like black, beige are a must for me. I also love bright-colored shoes which can give a pop of color to any neutral or basic outfit.
IS: Whose closet would you raid?
GS: There are so many closets I would love to raid: my mom’s closet for her saris! Karisma Kapoor in Bollywood dresses well and seems to have a good sartorial choice.
IS: What’s the best style advice you’ve ever received?
GS: Always get your clothes tailored to fit you.
Favorite things to do in San Francisco: San Francisco is my favorite city. There are many things to do here: its amazing and multiethnic restaurants, cable cars, walking up and down the elevated roads, Crooked street, Golden Gate Bridge and the Park and many more. My favorite is to eat clam chowder and drink Irish coffee in Buena Vista. Not to mention the hot paninis in Little Italy.
Favorite type of food/restaurant: I love all cuisines. There is no one favorite. Similarly, I like a lot of restaurants. There is no one single place.
Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii. Beautiful sunny beaches and amazing blue water. The weather and flora is amazing too.
Favorite actor: Ayushmann Khurrana in Bollywood, a multi-talented and versatile actor. Keanu Reeves, Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron in Hollywood.