By Sujany Baleswaran
Kick-starting her career as a makeup artist for Christian Dior, opening numerous successful salons and spas, Mudrika de Maria delved into the ‘masculine’ sector of business, co-founding Investment Mastery, a multi-million turnover business. Juggling two contrasting careers, forced the makeup artist turned businesswoman to find ways to balance both her feminine and masculine energy. To balancing two energies to combining two cultures, as a second generation Indian raised in the UK, Mudrika is sharing her vision with her children. With a vision to share her secrets of success, Mudrika created Unleash your S.E.X.Y. (Self-confident, Empowered, Xtremely, You), a myriad of tools and methods to reconnect women to their true authentic selves by practicing self-love and discovering the power of feminine energy.
Starting your career as a makeup artist for Christian Dior over two decades ago, it’s clear that beauty has been an integral part of your life and understanding of confidence. What was it about this industry that you found so desirable?
I am passionate about making women feel good about themselves, and the beauty industry makes it very easy to transform how someone looks and therefore, feels. A simple stroke of lip gloss or a few coats of mascara can do wonders to a woman’s confidence. Beauty treatments and rituals are a form of self-care that promotes self-love. The bliss we feel as women when we enter a spa; the music, sound of water and smell of aromatherapy oils just elevate us. Women are at their best when we are in peak health because we are looking after our own well-being.
It’s not just a love for beauty, but also clothes and accessories – I have always loved being glamourous. As a child, I used to dress up as an air hostess, the most glamorous job back in the 70s, radiating beauty and elegance. Fashion and beauty is an expression of yourself, a chance to be true to yourself, giving you a sense of confidence and empowerment. When I started working for Dior, I started finding my own style, and thus, a sense of self and confidence.
Your experience in the beauty industry led you to open your own salons and spas which focused more on wellness and helping others find inner balance. How would you describe self-care and its importance in helping individuals – especially women – succeed in all aspects of their life?
Self-care is imperative, it is not a luxury – it fills up your emotional bank account. Without self-care, you are not giving yourself self-love, and you must love yourself first in life to be able to give to others.In these busy modern times, women are juggling numerous roles and get overwhelmed with the need to be superwoman, and consequently, we go into masculine energy and neglect what we need as women.
There are various ways to explain this neglect, but I have found that an analogy of an oxygen mask in an aeroplane is the most impactful. When you get onto an aeroplane, they always say put your oxygen mask on first. Once you have taken care of yourself, you can take care of all the other people around you. Now, if you proceeded to put all those masks on your family first, you won’t have any oxygen for yourself to survive, and you would end up not being able to help any of them.
Everything starts to fall into place when you put yourself first, and that success will flow into other parts of your life, and everything becomes effortless. Of course, it is easier said than done, which is why I created Unleash Your S.E.X.Y., where we have proven tools and methods to reconnect women with their true authentic selves by practising self-care and discovering the power of feminine energy. Our products are designed by women for women, and they are transformation, experiential and luxurious but at an affordable price.
You’re a co-founder of Investment Mastery, a company born out of the desire to help clients reach their goals and achieve financial success. When did you decide to let your career have a different trajectory and how did your experience working in finance – a field that is male-dominated – help you in making that transition to enter the beauty industry again?
The salons I had were doing okay financially, but I realised that I would need at least 10 to have the financial freedom that I wanted in my life. Marcus (my business partner and husband, at the time) started teaching people to trade 1-1, and this just grew, and Investment Mastery was born. The company was doing so well that I decided to give up the salons to build a financial future for our family. I realised that what we were achieving personally with trading and investing was something that could help others, and as it grew, it allowed us to help more people and this kept me busy for some time.
It was a struggle working in a very masculine field and this moved me away from my core energy. Running the operations side of the business required me to be constantly in the right Headspace, incredibly organised and efficient. I was absolutely in what I call the “go, go, go” mode, which is left-brain masculine energy. It was what I needed to do to reach the financial goals we were working towards, and it has allowed me to have the resources to start my own company without some of the pain of when I started previous businesses like my salons.
However, what I wish I would have realised earlier is that there is a way to do business in a feminine way, a way that doesn’t leave you unhappy, overwhelmed and extremely exhausted. When transitioning back into beauty and self-care, I ensured I did business in a feminine way, a way where I was in my core energy and not out of balance.
As a South-Asian woman from a Hindu background, what does it mean to Unleash Your Sexy? Has your culture played a part in your understanding of confidence and female agency?
Growing up in the 1980’s, I was a real daddy’s girl. I had always called for him, hugged him, cuddled him, but the minute I hit puberty at the age of eleven, I was told by my mum to follow our culture, and out of respect for my dad, I was told back then to dress more appropriately. I was no longer allowed to hug him or sit on his lap. I didn’t understand why I had to do this and what I had done wrong, so I started shutting down my emotions. This whole experience led me to think that Hindu culture taught you to lock down your womanhood and to cover yourself up, such as a saree is there to cover your body fully and not expose any part. Embracing womanhood is difficult enough, let alone feeling like a feminine woman. I felt at the time that the culture taught the opposite to S.E.X.Y., that the culture didn’t teach Self-confidence, it taught you not to talk back, to not have an opinion and to do what you are told to respect your elders.
You’re encouraged to be a stay-at-home wife, not a businesswoman, or if you are going to work to choose a classic career, and as I struggled with academic work, I wasn’t empowered to be the creative person I am and choose the career for me. Instead, it sadly led me to think I was not good enough. The culture told me to be like everyone else and to fit in and be the same – you are not encouraged to be you.As the years went on and I had my own children I realised that I hadn’t, at that young age, understood how hard it was for my family to come over and start a new life in a very different culture and I started to appreciate what the reality actually was, as opposed to how I had understood the culture, my culture.
My parents who were first-generation Indians in the UK, raised us with the only culture they knew and did the best they could. Things have evolved massively for me and in the last 20 years, and as a second-generation, I have chosen to integrate both cultural sides whilst raising my children.
You’re a mother of two with many business ventures, when do you feel your sexiest?
I feel sexiest when I am dancing, I love getting my body moving – the music, the sexy high heels, getting dressed up. Dancing just gets me in the flow, uses my senses which forces me to get out of my head into my body. Its also a way to be more at one with your body and present in the moment.
Women need to keep connected to their senses and move their bodies to allow the feminine energy to flow. We spend so much time sitting in a chair working, driving and more, it’s not good for our root chakra. Movement, specifically dancing, makes a difference, and I feel this grounding when I am dancing. I feel inflow.
Going back to senses, as this is such an important power to be in touch with, as our senses connect us to the universe. Seeing everyone dancing and their movement connects me to my sight; then my touch sense is triggered when dancing with partners and sound from hearing the fun and sensual music.
How has motherhood influenced or changed your perspective on what self-confidence and empowerment mean?
Motherhood made me realise how important it is to be taught S.E.X.Y. from a young age, so I encouraged my children to be true to themselves, feel empowered and have self-confidence. I find that communication is key – I allow them to express how they truly feel. Raising two young girls and wanting them to experience life being S.E.X.Y., I am aware I need to address the unsexy, the bad patterns that can build from childhood and be passed down from previous generations, which are:
1. Denying our Emotions
2. Over Giving and Depletion
3. I’m OK!
4. Disney Princess Syndrome – Lost Reality
5. Disease to Please
6. Need to be a Good Girl
Also a key point is to be comfortable to cry. We women are emotional beings, and we need to be able to accept that and embrace it. I have always taught my girls that if they need a hug that it doesn’t matter what I am doing, they can come and ask for one, and I will always give them one. We are taught if we are good then we get love, affection and praise, a disease to please. I tell my daughters to not lose who they are to please others, don’t do it for me or for them, do it for yourself. I don’t push them into what I think they should do.
Three quick and simple tips that can help women feel S.E.X.Y.
1. Be unapologetically you – the rest will need to fit in, and you will find the correct people for that.
2. Put self-care on the top of your priority list – it is not selfish, it is VITAL.
3. Keep your feminine energy in check.