The girl who loves the microphone! – Keerthi (KIKI) Shanthanu

She was born in a family full of passionate choreographers. Hence, dance comes naturally to her. She has her own unique fashion statement and over the years, she has secretly fallen in love with the microphone. This celebrated TV host opens up to Ritz…

TEXT: ABBY

Location Courtesy: Ramada Plaza, Chennai
Hair&Make-up: VIJI SHARATH
Wardrobe: THAT1TOO.COM

Did your passion for media begin as a child?

No, not really, it did not begin as a child but as a teenager I started getting interested in fashion. In fact, to tell you the truth, while growing up, I was never comfortable to hold the microphone and speak in front of a large audience. I could dance in front of people but I could never talk in front of them with confidence.

Who is your onscreen and off-screen inspiration?

My aunt Brinda Master, who has been a choreographer for 30 years in film industry is my biggest inspiration onscreen. She is very dedicated and she enjoys her work. She keeps travelling for her work but she never gets tired. I try to emulate her work culture. Off-screen my biggest inspiration is my mom, who has groomed several famous actors and actresses since the 90’s. She is like an unshakeable rock.

Tell us about your first stint on TV and were you nervous?

I entered the TV industry as an anchor through a dance show called ‘Maanada Mayilaada’ which was telecasted on Kalaignar TV. My aunt Kala Master was the director and judge. I was nervous to begin with but after a few episodes, I became relaxed and that’s when the audience started to enjoy my bubbly nature, that’s when I fell in love with the microphone.

Had you not become a VJ, what would you have become?

I don’t have an answer to this because I have never planned my life because no matter what we plan, God has a different plan for us. So, I do not know what I would have become but it’d have been something to do with fashion for sure.

Any movies you did and plan to do?

When I was in my teens and 20’s, I did get some interesting offers from the film industry but I did not take them up because my dad was very particular that he didn’t want me to get into acting. In fact, my mom was an actor and had to quit her acting career after her marriage. My husband Shanthanu is an actor and many people ask us when are we both going to act in a movie together. We are open to good opportunities.

What is the best part of being a VJ?

We get to dress nicely, we get pampered, we get the attention, we get admired but above all we get the freedom of speech. There will always be critics who put you down but there will be people to support you. Take the best and leave the rest!

How would you describe your fashion style?

I am a very simple person. I like to apply makeup only when I am in front of the camera. Otherwise, you’ll find me walking down the street with a casual jeans and a cotton T-shirt with absolutely no makeup. Sometimes I wear a lip shade or gloss but even that is rare. But when I am on screen, I love to experiment a lot with makeup and especially colours. For me the fitting is very important. I love black colour the most since it makes you look slim, fair and it also secretly motivates you.

How does it feel being married to an actor?

It was never anticipated but it just happened. Shanthanu has been my good friend since my childhood. A marriage can never work out if there either of the couple have ego. We both are proud of each other and support each other in all walks of life. I am a little possessive about him but he is a very relaxed person.

 How do you balance personal and professional life?

Well, I am blessed with an understanding family and I have never had to step into the kitchen. I only do out of my free will and not because of compulsion. Everyone in my family works hard and is engaged in different professional meetings outside home that each of us independently does our work even at home. I am very particular about cleanliness. I ensure that I instruct the maid to clean all the nook and corner of my house. But there is no pressure on me, which is why I can do my best personally and professionally.

What is your message for women’s day?

Be bold, be brave, be you!