[This article is a part of our series Off the desk, where we feature unconventional jobs that go beyond the corporate]
Nadia Hakani, an emcee by profession is based out of Hyderabad but recognised all over India. She’s been in the field for just four years, but she has compèred over 500 corporate and private events across India and abroad. She has worked with some of the biggest event managers and corporate brands like Microsoft and Allen Solly. She’s even shaken a leg or two with the likes of Deepika Padukone and Mithun Chakravarty on stage!
In an exclusive chat with OfficeChai, a very spirited and friendly Nadia gives us the lowdown on her career.
What’s your background like?
I stay with my parents in Hyderabad, and we are a very close family, however my bonding with my brother Saleem is more special.He’s a special kid and a blessing to my family. I’ve done all my education in Hyderabad and I was an average student throughout. In fact I started working and got my first emceeing gig in my 10th holidays!
How did you get into the emcee job?
Events and promotions were always interesting. But holding the mic and speaking in public is something I hadn’t thought of for a career! I happened to get a job to host a Sangeet function and just to get over my stage fear, I went ahead and did it. It was soon followed by hosting a celebrity-laden event at a resort, and ever since then, there has been no looking back.
Did your family/friends support you in this unconventional career, especially for girls in the country?
When I started doing events I had certain restrictions by my brothers and dad. [But] Mom and specially Saleem bhai had always been very supportive and after a year I had my complete family supporting me. My friends started admiring my work too and usually my family or friends would come by to watch me do an event.
How do you get your gigs?
Freelancers usually get by through word of mouth. Social media also does play a vital role. I usually get a lot of leads from Facebook groups, and now I have my own page. Usually, I get more assignments than I can do!
Are you satisfied with your unconventional career choice?
Very! And the best part is, I’m now growing and expanding my horizons, so to say. From emceeing for corporate and private events, I turned to being a games jockey, then to team building trainer, and am now adding creative theatre concept which would help me enact different characters on stage and be a performer. In fact as we speak, I have just finalized a deal to host a reality show for kids on Chardikala Time.
What are the biggest challenges of having an unconventional/non-corporate job like yours?
One needs to be alert as we work with new people so need to know them and their company details. Moreover, at times events go on till late in the night, and in light of current events, you need to ensure your own safety. Additionally, at times, you come across unprofessional people who don’t treat your time or talent with respect, and then there are issues like payment delays.
Some of the best moments from your career?
While, most events are fun, and I get involved to the extent of being friendly with the organizers, and sometimes even making friends with them. Recently at a show I hosted for JM Financial, where a famous artist was performing, a lady in the audience complimented both of us saying that “I made her forget that her father’s death”. That was touching. Also, I recently bought a house for my parents with my own savings. That was a very proud moment for me and I’m very thankful that my job has enabled me to do something for my family.
And of course, meeting celebrities is always fun. I hosted a show where Deepika Padukone and Ranvir Singh were the celebrity guests, and have even danced with Mithun Chakravarty on stage!