The first time I met Anita Kapoor was a few years ago, and the television host, writer and emcee complimented me on my hair. I smiled shyly and revelled in that moment — I was a hapless fan girl who's been admiring her work since one of her earlier appearances on television as the host of Bare Beauty (2008). I doubt she remembers our initial meeting — I was among a sea of journalists hanging onto her every word. Years later, Kapoor waltzed into the Buro 24/7 Singapore office for a street style shoot and compliments me on the same. Commanding the shoot as well she does the screen, the Mumbai-born and Singapore-raised lass lights up any room she walks in with her energy — which I suspect is part head cheerleader and part Mother Earth.
From her days as a beauty editor at Elle Singapore, she's gone on to become the name you call for all things travel, food and adventure. Her resume includes hosting reality series Can You Serve, and travel shows Exotic Escapades and Starwood Preferred Guest TV for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Asia Pacific. You'll see her next in Luxe Asia — the second season premieres this November on Channel NewsAsia — where you can catch Kapoor digging deeper into Asia's diverse and ever growing luxury industry.
An inspiring success story, no matter how you cut it, we chat to this #girlboss of her one-woman entertainment empire at an exclusive shoot for BOSS Bespoke Bag.
You've been in the industry since joining the Discovery Travel and Adventure channel's search in 2003. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I wish I was more aware of where I was and what I was doing, and being able to put a little bit more thought into everything you do. Now that I'm a little bit older, I can take that pause and say, "Hang on, do I really want to do this job? What's it all about? What am I going to bring to it?" At that time, it was a little bit more impulsive.
Who's your role model in this industry?
My earliest role model till today and the person who taught me everything I needed to know within the space of a few hours was Keith Floyd. He used to do this series called Far Flung Floyd on the Discovery Network — this colonial gentleman who used to get into a boat or go out into the mountain to cook. It was one of those first series that came out that made people aware that cooking didn't have to happen in the kitchen. I met him when I didn't even have a show on TV. Just within the few short hours of meeting him, I learned how to conserve energy, when to turn it on and off, and how to know your camera angles.
How do you remain relevant in a fickle-minded entertainment industry?
I actually don't care about the fickleness. I remain relevant because in my head, I'm me, and that's relevant. There are going to be people who come and go who like and don't like me, and that's irrelevant in itself. As long as I can still be rooted in who I am and have confidence in what I'm actually bringing out there, that's all that really matters.
How do you define success?
It's a sum of parts, really. There's no one way of defining success. For me, success has been an incremental thing — it hasn't just been "Wow, I'm successful". It's made me understand not to have success as well, and made me deal with failure too. Success is when you can actually deal with failure and still think that, somehow, that's part of your success.
You travel quite a lot in your line of work. Where was the last place you travelled to, and what surprised you about it?
The last place I went to was New Delhi for Luxe Asia. Of course it surprised me because New Delhi has a bad reputation for the things that have happened there societally. But I had some fantastic experiences with architects and artists, and there's a revival in India of bringing back a lot of old school techniques and people who understand how to encourage old school artisans in the new world.
When you interview people, what's the first thing you notice?
Energy. Straightaway. It's about reading beneath what people are actually presenting to you and working with that. Because ultimately when you get to what's beneath the façade, that's when you get to the truth.
Who do you think are successful, and what are the common traits you admire in them?
People who I respect for their success are people who've actually had failures in their lives, and aren't afraid to admit that. I think there's too much out there about this whole, "Lets show my Instagram face to the world". But if you really look at it, the people who get more attention are the people who are actually more real — people who are authentic about not doing well as well as their successes. Life is pretty much up and down, and the people who cope with that are the people who have my respect.
How would you describe your sense of style?
I like streamlined clothes. I've grown more feminine over a period of time though I'm not very girly. I love strong accessories. I like that if I walk into a room, you see me first, and then you see my clothes.
Whose style do you admire?
I find myself constantly drawn into people who don't actually follow fashion in a traditional sense at all. I love going to sites like Advanced Style just because these ladies don't give a damn, they just pull it all together. I tell you what I really like: I like people who were formerly architects and artists who are now actually fashion designers, because their sense of proportion, colour and fabric is totally different.
What's always in your bag?
Eye drops because I have really dry eyes; bright lipstick because there's nothing like a red or a pink to give the appearance of effort when you really didn't put in that much time; and tissues, because it's always hot in Singapore! What else: Keys, phone, and money.
What do you look for when you buy a bag?
I love a bag that's a kind of a surprise. It looks maybe small on the outside but you can get a whole lot of stuff inside and it doesn't look overloaded. I move very quickly, I'm in and out of situations and meetings all the time, so I need a handbag that is stylish and yet versatile.
Click on the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at the Boss Bespoke Bag shoot.
BURO POP-UP STORE:
Come and explore the BOSS Bespoke Bag installation, featuring Anita Kapoor, at the Buro 24/7 Singapore pop-up store — 6 Scotts Road, Scotts Square #01-06/07.
From 20 October until 31 October, you'll receive a $50 BOSS voucher if you take an Instagram photo of the bag at our pop-up store and tag it with #BuroLovesBOSS. The most creative post will be in the running to win a BOSS Bespoke Bag — winner to be contacted directly on Instagram.
Open daily from 10am to 10pm (Tel: 6443 4771)
Anita Kapoor's outfits: All from BOSS Womenswear
Photography: Vanessa Caitlin
Fashion direction: Norman Tan
Makeup & Hair: Cindy Goh using Shiseido
Styling assistance: Andrea Sim