Uma Deshpande is the icon of determination and success. She is only mid-way through her career and has already set up her own production company, travelled the world and has many titles to her name including; one of the five most influential women in the Middle East, one of UAE’s 40 most influential Asians, First runner-up of the Gladrags Mrs. India competition of 2005, as well as brand ambassador to Danube Buildmart, Natura Bissé and Swiss watch giant Phillip Stein.
After a stint as a fashion trainee and Guest Relations executive at the Taj Group of Hotels in India, Uma took up an opportunity as an Air Hostess with Jet Airways in 1996.
Two years on she got married and accompanied her husband Yogesh to Dubai, where he held a position in the sales division of a corporate organisation.
In 2000 Uma had her son, Dhruv, and suffered a major case of post-natal depression. After taking on a prescribed medication with serious side effects, she decided that she would only be able to overcome the condition by taking matters into her own hands. A new schedule, a structured diet and a couple of self-help books later, Uma was back on her feet and ready to take on the world.
It was after this life-changing accomplishment that she launched her label, Pepper by Uma, in 2002. But it was her win at the Mrs. India competition of 2005 that opened many opportunities and brought her several offers. She took up a role as an anchor for a TV show for the Dubai Shopping Festival. Twenty-five episodes in and she launched her own production company called Queen Bee.
Uma is now the anchor of a popular Asian entertainment programme ‘High Life in Dubai’ and regularly meets with A-list personnel from the fashion and entertainment industries including Dita von Teese, Salma Hayek, Amitabh Bachan, Aishwarya Rai and Shahrukh Khan, among others. She has also designed outfits for Jimmy Shergill and Saloni in the 2006 Bollywood film Rahguzzar.
In 2010 her husband joined her company to look after the sales and marketing activities.
Speaking of her experiences, Uma says she learnt to adapt to different cultures and lifestyles. Her father, Ranjit Ghosh, was as officer of the Indian Air Force, and his job often required that the family relocate to different parts of India. The experience opened up whole new worlds of people from different walks of life. Her mother, Tapati Ghosh, had a strong influence in her life and those of her siblings.
Moving forward Uma says, “I would like to produce a feature film that changes the stereotypical image people have of this region. I want them to see the vibrant life of the UAE, which has a good cultural mix of the East and West. And I would also like to feature successful Arab/Asian women in this region in a touching and entertaining manner.
I also intend to spend more time supporting a charity run by my mother-in-law in Nashik, called Vanita Vikas, which provides meals and education to poor students.”
We applaud her accomplishments and wish her the best in achieving her goals in the New Year to come.