The Savvy Sapiens Podcast

The Authentic Artist

September 15, 2019 Riya Chandiramani Season 1 Episode 2
The Savvy Sapiens Podcast
The Authentic Artist
Show Notes


On this episode we have Riya Chandiramani, a young, up-and-coming artist in Hong Kong who is also one of the wisest old souls I know. Riya was born and brought up in Hong Kong and decided to study Communications at UPenn, an Ivy League university in the States. Whilst there however, she battled with deep anxiety which led to an eating disorder that changed the course of her life forever.  

After taking some time out to work on herself back home, she returned to college stronger than ever before, with a renewed sense of identity and a powerful drive to pursue her dreams. Today her work is very much a reflection of her passion for mental health, and an expression of her desire to break boundaries, question gender stereotypes, and encourage people to just be themselves. 

Show Notes:

0 - 5.00: 

  • The mission behind Riya’s art which is breaking boundaries, labels and stereotypes, and spreading the message of sharing your true self 
  • Where her interest in art started and the influence of her schooling on her career now  
  • Riya's choices at university and why she ultimately decided not to do art and apply to an Ivy league school  
  • Her experience at Penn, wanting to fit in with the culture, and how she ultimately fell ill with anorexia in her first year 
  • The issue of people-pleasing and not having a strong internal core  

5.00 - 10.00:  

  • Why a high-achieving exterior can be a mask for a lack of self-acceptance and belonging  
  • Not giving herself the permission to ask what she actually wanted, and instead seeking comfort in external validation  
  • Why having your sense of self-worth determined by your grades is so harmful     
  • How her eating disorder was a cry for help and feeling like she couldn’t express herself or confront others 
  • The difficulty of reconciling your own identity with that of your parents and your surroundings 
  • The stigma of going to therapy, especially for Asian families  

10.00 - 15.00: 

  • How therapy massively helped Riya and the importance of having a third party perspective  
  • Why love within your family gets miscommunicated based on the different ways people express love 
  • Why it’s ok to get angry and really important to “feel your feelings” 
  • The reason Riya suffered being because her self-esteem pores were open, without a strong identity or boundaries  
  • How Riya managed to return to university with a renewed sense of confidence and well being and have the best final year ever, becoming unapologetic in pursuing her own interests and passions  

15.00 - 20.25: 

  • How her illness helped her gain the courage to trust the future and trust uncertainty  
  • Developing self-trust and knowing that no matter what happens, she can always come back and come back even stronger  
  • Exploring how we as a society define success and why going to an Ivy league school and having a 4.0 GPA didn't ultimately mean anything for her 
  • Riya’s personal definition of success and being comfortable with herself regardless of what happens  
  • Her advice on how to make self-love tangible in your every day life 
  • The importance of maintaining human connection, even during exam time