Mangaluru: Mx Ria Sharma, a model, speaker, storyteller and LGBTQAI+ youth activist, has been working towards creating awareness about issues of gender and sexuality at various platforms through workshops, advertisements and short films. On February 16, they will be bringing their experiences to Mangaluru and engaging with the audience at TEDxSJEC.
Mx Ria is not new to TED talks as they had previously spoken at Unplugged by TEDxGateway 2019. Ria has spoken on the life of a gender incongruent person - ‘girl with a beard’.
Ria has also been a speaker for the youth organisation - The Plane Jar for the past three years for their C.A.A.S.A program and is presently the social media head at Jimme Foundation.
They have acted for the Campco chocolate campaign for their advertisements and was also a part of a documentary film - ‘Closet’, screened at the Kashish Film Festival.
Ria describes themselves as a "speaker and storyteller" who engages people in topics of "self-awareness and self-love" through stories that also take them on a journey of life.
Newskarnataka.com had the opportunity to speak to Mx Ria Sharma about their upcoming talk at TEDxSJEC and interview them. Here are some excerpts:
What is so beneficial about a TED Talk? What would you say to convince someone to come to the event?
The essence of a Ted Talk is in meeting people and having meaningful interactions with the speakers and attendees. People from various backgrounds attend the Ted event and share their stories. It is the greatest platform to know and learn about experiences and expand our sphere of knowledge, exposing us to different perspectives from all around the country. Apart from this, the energy experienced at Ted is incredible; one that nobody should miss.
What do you want the audience to take from the talk?
I want people to take back with them the POWER OF SELF- ACCEPTANCE. It is a life skill that each and every one of us should acquire. When I was growing up, I constantly body shamed and doubted myself, but the moment I accepted myself, things changed for me and life become more beautiful and meaningful.
How do you think speaking at the event will change anything for you as (1) a speaker and (2) a person?
Sharing experiences give power to people. I hope that my story impacts their lives and they get the encouragement to stand up for themselves and have their voice. It has always been my aspiration to be the change in society and as a speaker, I have got this great opportunity to fulfil my dream. I hope that it impacts the lives of as many people as possible.
The theme of the talk is "love conquers all". How relevant is it in this day and age?
What I am today is because of love and acceptance. Without it, I wouldn't have been able to achieve what I have. Love gives you the power to fight all the odds. First, my family accepted me and then I found true love in Sanjana. The experience of love will not change with time, may it be then or now. Love will always have the strength to conquer all.
This is the first time that this prestigious institution will be conducting the event, which will be held in the Kalam Auditorium.
The theme for the day-long event is "Love Conquers All", and with just under a fortnight to go for valentines day... love conquers all is a great theme, especially in these times of hate. Eight inspiring speakers, three glamourous entertainers will conquer you with the tales of all that they have done, and all that you can do - If you believe.
Apart from the Mx Ria, speakers include Capt. Arohi Corrine Antoinette Rasquinha - social worker and founder of White Doves NGO, Omkar Pai - engineer and nature enthusiast, Vaishak JP - mountaineer, Rishabh Seen - Indian classical and metal musician, Abhiraj Rajadhyaksha and Niyati Mavinkurve - chief storyteller at Following Love, travel writer and author, and Girish Bharadwaj (Padma Shri Awardee)- engineer and social innovator.
Then, of course, there is entertainment - live your passion be it music or the creative arts with Sitar Metal - the Indian classical and rock/metal fusion band, Vidwan Deepak Kumar - Bharathanatyam, Mahima S Rao - Yakshagana, and Prithesh Bhandari and team topping it off with an English play.
SJEC students are no minnows in the creative arts though. Their creative instincts and talents occasionally override their logical brains and the TEDxSJEC event is one such occasion. The students will be showcasing artistic installations, mime, drawings, etc under the title "Corridors of Love".
A token registration fee is all it takes
To get all this and more, interested persons (and having read this piece, you will be) can pay a registration fee of Rs 1250, but wait... don't be put off just yet! The registration includes a TEDxSJEC kit valued at Rs 600, and comprises breakfast, lunch and two refreshments! Participants will also receive an e-certificate as proof that they have attended the event, which will be sent via email.
Please be informed that the registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis.
To know more about the event and to register, go to http://tedxsjec.in/
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