Preity Uupala: Travel, Beauty and Life of Style
I had the pleasure of meeting the uniquely exotic, extremely creative, empress of eclectic beauty – Preity Uupala. Preity is the ideal modern-day woman, who chases her dreams each and every day.
The story behind how we got acquainted is an interesting one (will share in another feature *wink*) and goes to show you-you never know who you’re going to meet – at any given moment. Preity’s (pronounced pree – ty) quintessential talents extend beyond just another pretty face. She can be seen starring in international films, as a brand ambassador of exotic retreats and resorts, judging Film Festivals, shooting videos and photos with renowned photographers, adorning magazines, being featured on tv and radio…her possibilities are endless. Being able to adapt to any given situation, simultaneously adorning many crowns – with the heels to match – makes her a queen after my own heart and the ideal woman to represent our Queens of Virtue’s mission.
Despite the obvious challenge – she’s west coast, I’m east…we’ve realized that we both had a profound love for travel ( a match made in heaven), beauty, fashion, and lifestyle! Effortlessly, I saw how perfect Preity would be – as the representation of the modern woman of color – who are breaking free of the stereotype – becoming a leader and role model of positivity for our future followers. Uupala left the glass ceiling of the corporate world and decided to journey to her dreams. I admire this most about her. We were able to sit and chat and you have to check out the conversation below. Her responses (quotes) will empower you to be more and want more – opening you up to a world of self-love, esteem, awareness, and appreciation! I know it did for me!
Sapphire K. – When did you first realize, what you wanted to be?
I was fascinated by this art form when I was about 4- after watching a movie with Marlon Brando in it. After that, I was always drawn to it. But life had other plans for me, at least for the interim, so it seemed. I went to the academic and corporate route and started working for investment banks and global consulting companies. I had a “mid-life crisis” at age 24 and I was suddenly plucked from my path and plopped into the wonderful world of art and film. That is when I truly had the courage to pursue this and give it a go. I am grateful that I had the wisdom to do so, with no idea how it was going to manifest, but had the fierce conviction that it just would. And so it is!
Sapphire K. – What advice would you give to a girl, right now, who wants to follow their dream – like you do every day?
Have the courage to live the life you truly desire. In the last moments of time, you will not regret the things you did but the things that you did not do. Your dreams do count and are worth giving everything up for.
Be your self! Your authentic self is the only thing that will ever count. Don’t try to be anything but that.
It really is all about the journey, not the destination. Enjoy every moment, no one knows when it will all be over. Enjoy it before its gone.
Dare to dream big. Someone has to do it; it may as well be you!
What you do does not define you. Who you are does! Be true and honor your vision. At any cost. You will have to live with yourself if you don’t.
Sapphire K. -Where in Moscow, Greek Islands, Macao, Thailand, Cannes, Munich, Sri Lanka, Australia – would you recommend – for a Travel. Leisure. Lifestyle gathering – such as “best in” food, resort, spa, nightlife, places to see, and do?
Wow! All these incredible places I have had the great pleasure of devouring. Lets see…
Greek islands of Mykonos
Mykonos is a real gem of an island; I would say the most opulent hotel is Kouros Hotel by the ocean. It has spectacular views and a poolside bar to die for. The bartender there is a dear friend of mine and makes a mean cocktail. For a more authentic experience, Villa Thea, is a charming, boutique option. Enjoy great Greek food at restaurants such as Koursaros and Elia Beach Restaurant. Mykonos prides itself as having some of the best nightlife on the planet. Clubs like Jacky O’s; Scarpa and Scandinavian Bar will have you dancing all night long! For a more surreal scene, Super Paradise and Cavo Paradiso are incredible. Greeks love to live life to the fullest and party really hard! Sip on some great Greek coffee and listen to some great bouzouki music — around midnight — this is typical for Greece.
I have had the great pleasure of staying at The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel several times for various film festivals. It’s a fabulous hotel and boasts the largest casino hall in the world. You have to try your hands at the slots, just for the fun of it. The hotel also has great restaurants and they are incredible for banquets and functions. Take a tour of the old town where they have beautiful gardens and regular dragon dancing. Must eat Portuguese egg tarts when there and other delicious Macanese food.
My number one favorite spot in Bangkok is the Le Bua Hotel – made famous by the Hollywood movie “Hangover 2.” I have stayed at the actual Hangover suite where the film was shot and its quite Luxurious. Their 64th floor open-air, rooftop bar and restaurant, is second-to-none in the city. Bangkok is famous for their street food and shopping paradise. Other famous restaurants are Cabbages and Condoms and Nahm. The islands of Koh Samui and Koh Pangan are not to be excluded. They have fantastic detox spas and resorts. Such as the ORION healing spa in Phangan. Having spent 3 New Years Eve in a row on the island, the full moon party on Haadrin Beach beats any other NYE party- 100,000 party goers, nonstop trance and techno dance music for 4 days straight! Head to the hippie part of the island for the best trance music all the way until sunrise. Don’t forget to get a Thai massage, when in Thailand!
Sydney (her hometown)
Darling Harbor and Circular Quay have the best views of the world’s most beautiful harbor cities. Other than that, Bondi Beach is the place to be. Ravesis’s and Bondi Social Club are fantastic restaurants overlooking the beach. Mojo’s, the most famous tapas bar in Sydney is a must. The Cruise Bar has the best view of the city and has an incredible salsa night every Thursday. Chinatown, for great Yum Cha and the Rocks for amazing restaurants such as Renaissance Café. Woolloomooloo Wharf has classy bars such as the W Bar and Kings Cross, the best nightlife. Don’t miss the Sydney Opera House for a show and dine at Guillame et Bennelong for fine dining. Or the Opera Bar for sunset drinks with a live jazz band playing in the background.
The most beautiful city by far in Germany. Best time to go is definitely during Oktoberfest! Prost! There are great restaurants such as Brenner Grill and Buffet Kull Bar. Watch world-class opera at the Bavarian State Opera and head to Spatenhause An De Oper for a delicious Michelin standard meal. If you get a chance, watch a game where local team and current European champions Munich F.C is playing to a full house crowd at the Allianz Stadium. Marinne Platz for incredible shopping all year around and Christmas market during the holidays. Dallymr is amongst one of the finest delicatessen, but the platz is full of amazing bakeries.
Colombo has exquisite hotels, thanks to the British Empire. Colonial style at its best, the Taj Samudra has got to be one of its finest. Go there for great lunch buffet. Cinnamon Grand is another classic as is Galle Face Hotel. Visit Galle Fort and also World’s End, the highest drop point in the world. The views are spectacular and nothing like you’ve ever experienced. Sri Lankan cuisine is spicy and exciting and the best way to enjoy it, is at your local neighborhood restaurant. If you get a chance, head to the wonderful city of Kandy and then to the famous tea plantations. The Nuwara Eliya Region is the most famous region for tea. Resembling Tuscany in landscapes, enjoy the world’s finest tea and stay at authentic colonial style cottages. One of the most charming one is Le Trevene.
Of course the best time to visit is during the film festival, when it shows all its glory. But the Old Town- le Souke is famous for charming cafes with great French fare all year round. The hotels outdo each other, but the Martinez is simply fabulous. If you have the opportunity, go up in the hill and rent a villa overlooking the coastline. Nikki Beach and VIP hotel are some great clubs that will keep you shaking your thing. For fine dining, restaurants such as La Plage du Majestic and Auberge Provencal do the trick.
The city is amazing, with its very colorful cab drivers and crazy nightclubs. It has got to be the most stylish and beauty-conscious city in the world. The FORTE restaurant has delicious authentic Russian food. One of the most pumping clubs in town is the London Hotel. You must not miss the famous sights like the Red Square or the Kremlin.
Sapphire K. – How did you get into TV and movies?
I did some TV back home in Australia and shot a few Bollywood movies that were filmed in Sydney and worked in a number of commercials and brand campaigns. Being an international beauty queen helped a little, but most of the work was generated through my own networking and eventually with a help of my agent. By chance and luck, really, I was offered a scholarship that I did not even apply for and before I knew it, I was in Los Angeles. I had bought a one-way ticket from Sydney to LA, did not know anyone, or anything or even have accommodations sorted. With sheer hard work and being true to myself and a lot of random chance meetings and magical coincidences, I meet the right people and manifest these amazing opportunities. While I was attending the Cannes Film Festival in 2012, I got offered a part in a French TV show, “Entre Nous,” which was amazing as I got to experience working in France with their customs. For example, I got used to the 2 hour-long lunches every day and scrumptious dinners and hearty breakfast that the cast and crew enjoyed.
Sapphire K. – Do you have a strong support system (family/friends/significant other)?
Yes, I’m blessed to have incredibly supportive parents who are my biggest fans. I’ve been lucky to attract an extended family of like-minded and caring people here in LA. I also have a lot of spiritually inclined friends here who are very grounded and have clarity and that helps a lot. My spirituality gives me an incredible level of discernment and awareness and this is very crucial in this town. In this line of work, people exist in a bubble of illusion, even the successful ones. You have to really have the realization that your work and success or lack thereof does not define you and does not make a human being. There are times when you may feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It is at these times that you need the comfort and assurance for your soul, the most. This could come from understanding friends or from your higher self, should you choose you listen. People ask me” do you love LA”? I joke: LA loves me!! It’s true I feel blessed to be having the life that I do, pursuing my dreams and having a life full of magic and awe.
Sapphire K. – Where are your favorite places to unwind? Eat? Shop? Spa?
Favorite restaurant: Inn of the Seventh Ray, Topanga. I also love Melisse, and Providence for high-end fine dining. For more casual fare, I love Jitlada for Thai and The Little Door for French.
Shop: The Grove, and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
Spa: I love Korean spas like the Beverly Hills Hot Springs and Voda Spa. I also love Desert Hot Springs in the high desert.
Sapphire K. – Do you have a favorite beauty brand?
For fragrances, I love Christian Dior. For make up, Make Up Forever, MAC and Estee Lauder. I love the brand Korres for skin care. I also pick up local beauty brands when I travel around. My beauty kit is an eclectic combination of high-end brands as well as boutique handmade creams and scents. Same goes with clothes. I love to shop in the Middle East and Asia for local, no-name designers. I am unique in the sense that I do not choose to wear something just because it is a certain brand or price. But rather because it looks fabulous on me and does justice to my shape and features. My wardrobe could consist of a $5000 pair of shoes sitting next to a pair I bought for 10 bucks in Bangkok somewhere. And I manage to get equal number of compliments for each!
Sapphire K. – What’s your routine to get from day to night glam?
A lot of the time, my daytime dress could easily work as evening cocktail glamour as well. I’m very comfortable in my own skin, so I feel I really carry a dress like I own it. My sense of style is “sexy yet classy” and I am usually the most dressed person in the room. Even my “casual” wear is quite dressy for LA. I add exquisite jewellery to any outfit and match with some great accessories to add to an outfit. My make up can change too- more smoky eyes and bold red lips…with my blingly-heels swapped for a more blingly, even higher pair of heels!!!
Sapphire K. – What is your ultimate career goal?
To inspire and empower people through my work and my presence. To be a recognized and well-respected international artist fulfilling my purpose. I hope that my life has been meaningful and I have had a positive effect on people that I interact with.
Sapphire K. – What can we expect [next] from Preity Uupala?
Expect the unexpected!!! Hopefully lots of TV and film projects. I truly want to launch my career in Hollywood TV and film. So expect to see me on the big screen soon. I will continue to do striking, deep and profound photography and videography. I am the head delegate for India and a board member for the Asia Pacific Film Festival and will preside over that event later in Bangkok. Lots of traveling in store for other film festivals such as Cannes and Sundance. I have my feet firmly on the ground and have an exuberant year ahead of me.
Queens of Virtue was birthed through the desire to create a brand for multicultural women – to inspireHER, motivateHER, influenceHER, educateHER, empowerHER, and leadHER to make her passion and purpose, her paycheck. Travel has always been my passion and therapy, with beauty and style being my creative outlet. Originally, the brand was my blog – ‘Travel. Beauty. Style.,’ but I decided to plant seeds of expansion. I focused on becoming a certified travel consultant, but I wanted to create a platform where women can not only travel but connect through genuine togetherness. I did not want just another travel agency, so the brand operates as a DMC (Destination Management Company) and a DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) as well.
As a blogger I noticed that influencers of color were being left out of the “influence” space, especially in the luxury sector. Campaigns continued to go to black and brown destinations, yet the message appeared extremely whitewashed. So, I became the change I desired to see! No longer did I care to come to the table. I realized that my entire life, I was a master chef. I asked myself, why sit at the table, when I am the createHER of the Michelin 5-star menu? Coming from a Caribbean culture, raised in Brooklyn, NY – I knew that it takes a village! So, I built one.
The ‘She Rize” movement is all about the ‘Power in the Pack.” We are Women of Power, uplifting multicultural women, helping them to recognize their role by unleashing their Queendom that exists within. The brand offers resources within pillars of motivation – through coaching and mentoring – for small businesses and entrepreneurship development. As a woman, one of the hardest things to accomplish is being mentored and/or coached by other women. Not too many women take the time to be our sisters’ keeper. I remember looking up to Toni Morrison, Terry McMillan, and of course, Maya Angelou. Their creative works gave me the inspiration and fuel I need to ‘rize’ when the world told me I cannot! “You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!” – Maya Angelou.
I work 1-on-1 with women aspiring to take their brands higher. For those who are interested in the travel industry, you will receive mentorship and coaching, in addition to training and job placement upon industry certification. In fact, you can expect my guidance and support throughout the entire process.
For the last decade, as a digital influencer, I recognized a void within the industry. The goal is to be the bridge that connects the not-so-invisible dots. Working with women influencers and creators of color, is my passion – as well as a privilege! This initiative works with top brands, professionals, and influencers/creators (by invitation only) to create content as storytellers! Throughout the year, this collective hosts exclusive FAMs (familiarization) and Press trips for influencers to experience destinations and events, saturated in luxury and style. I also create luxury campaigns in the Travel and Lifestyle arenas. The initiative also provides a luxury digital magazine for creators and influencers, by creators and influencers called ‘Shades of Beauty, Influence of Color,’ as well as a podcast series called the ‘Queen’s Qorner,’ training, courses, and virtual travel content – all launching soon.
The vision I have for Queens of Virtue continues to transform. I hope to impact over 1,000 women globally by the end of 2022, leaving a digital footprint of change and growth. By 2025, I hope to reach over 10,000 women. When I say impact – I mean to influence, inspire, empower, educate, lead – to shape in some way, helping HER to not just tell her story, but to manifest her dreams into a sweet reality. My goal is to have properties; Airbnb’s, resorts, and Inn’s in exotic destinations around the globe, in addition, catamaran(s), private jet(s) and thousands of sustainable women-led and owned businesses under my wing by 2030. I plan to leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren. Queens of Virtue aims to be a household staple and world-renowned luxury lifestyle brand for decades to come.