An Interview With Sukanya Krishnan

An Interview With Sukanya Krishnan

by Mia Amber Davis

If you live in the New York, Tri-State area there’s no doubt that you’ve turned on the tube one morning and wondered who the three time Emmy winning, Indian-American voluptuous beauty with the exotic name was on the CW11 Morning News.  Outside NYC?  Perhaps you recognize her as one of the former hosts of the nationally syndicated television show, “Home Delivery?”  If you don’t know her—you should! I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Broadcaster Sukanya Krishnan about societal values and what it means to know your own self worth.

[Mia]  Sukanya (Sue-khan-yah) is a beautiful name, what are its origins?

[Sukanya] The name comes from Sanskrit. It means fair maiden.

[Mia] You were born in Madras (now known as Chennai) India. Was it severe culture shock or an easy transition to come from your homeland to Staten Island, NY?

[Sukanya] Culture shock yes, but I think it served me well. It’s hard to explain but I startle both cultures, being Indian and being American. I think it is a battle that many kid’s who are first generation face. I wear it as a badge of honor. No matter where you are from… India, China, South or Central America, name any other area…we all have that bond.

[Sukanya] Being first generation, you work harder because there is no family to lean on. Both my parents worked full time jobs and there was a huge focus on education. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t an A + Student but A wasn’t that bad! Let’s just say that I always embraced my differences and made them an asset.

[Mia] You are absolutely stunning and quite tall… have you ever pursued a career in modeling?

[Sukanya] Thank you but no!

[Mia]  I’ve told you this before but there is no one else like you on television… Were your looks a help or hindrance in your pursuit to become a journalist?

[Sukanya] I never thought about my looks.  I know it is a factor but looks aside, it’s about smarts. Don’t get me wrong, looks do play a part in TV but for me, I think it was a different battle– especially in the beginning. Being Indian-American and on air was paramount.

I mean, there were no Sukanya Krishnan’s back in the day. Breaking down stereotypes within my own culture and getting a brown face like mine on air was a challenge. Luckily, the work was what won out and I have had many wonderful bosses who gave me chances. I work for one right now. I think The CW morning news is the perfect fit for my personality and it challenges me when it comes to politics, pop culture and anything else that is thrown on my plate.

I mean at any given day I could be interviewing Sen. Chuck Schummer and rapper T.I.! That’s how different our morning show is. And I thank you for that compliment. I am the same person you see on air that you meet on the street! I think that’s why our viewers relate to us.

[Mia] Recently, protests and seminars were formed by legendary supermodels and industry insiders of color to call attention to the lack of ethnic diversity represented on runways and in fashion media. Were there any obstacles that you had to overcome on your way to becoming the first South Asian anchor in local morning news in the number one market?

[Sukanya] Yes. But I never let that stop me. There is more diversity in local news than there is in on Prime time TV.  We have to change our perceptions on so many things. Diversity is such a hot button issue and it has to start somewhere. So when you wake up and see me, Sukanya Krishnan, I feel like I serve a purpose.

[Mia] Do you notice a trend in ethnic diversity becoming more prevalent in media?

[Sukanya] I do see more now than when I grew up. But we still have a long way to go.

[Mia] Do you believe that size-ism exists and if so will it ever go away?

[Sukanya] Size-ism. Never really thought about that but yes that does exist.

Size-ism definitely exists– let’s face it! Being “fat” in America is unacceptable but being 10-15 lbs. overweight is definitely prevalent in our society.  When you’re overweight people look at it as a reflection of who you are and it hurts.  In some cases it stops you from chasing your dreams. When people are morbidly obese people assume so many things about them.  When people see the morbidly obese with oxygen tanks and riding on the mobile scooters people think that those individuals have lost control of their lives when in fact it’s a personal battle for every one of us.

[Mia] What’s the size-ism solution?

[Sukanya] I don’t think there is a worldwide solution for size-ism.  I know it sounds hokey but you just have to be happy in your own skin. In society we’re constantly bombarded by the “standard of beauty” and “perfection” and society telling us what we should aspire to be. We need to shut all of that out and listen to our own voices. You have to teach yourself to love yourself. It’s the only solution. You must be confident in who you are and in your own body image.

[Mia] How do we gain confidence?

[Sukanya] It should start with your parents or other adult role models teaching you to be confident.  All I ever heard was, “You’re big! You’re a big girl!” I hated that but it is what it is. I wanted to be considered adorable and cute or anything but “big!”

There is no such thing as perfection so don’t even try to be perfect. It should be what makes you love you. Wouldn’t it be great if we no longer had stupid conversations with ourselves like, “I wish I could be 10 lbs. lighter…I wish my thighs were smaller…I hate my stomach?”

[Sukanya] We need to learn not to sweat the small stuff and that is hard in our chosen industries of television and fashion.  I can’t tell you how many people say to me, “You look so huge on TV!” It’s crazy because I’m normal! People have images of what they think you should look like. Size is something we’re very aware of as a society. Finding self peace sounds hokey but when you see yourself as who you really are you can correct the negativity and at the very least learn to take a compliment. I used to be the girl who couldn’t handle compliments but now I’ve learned to accept them.

[Mia] Most working models know that in order to have longevity you must be great at more than one thing…What are some of your hobbies? You appeared on, “The Sopranos”, will you pursue more acting?

[Sukanya]  No! The acting thing isn’t for me but I do hope to one day produce my own TV shows.  For right now, News is my middle name and I’ve really found a home here at the CW!

[Mia] You’ve got fans in the curvy community for, among other things, covering the latest in plus fashions on the CW 11 Morning News.  Do you make a concerted effort to help out your fellow curvy fashionistas?

[Sukanya]  I love doing segments for everyone but the curvy woman, I think, is forgotten much of the time.  We live in such a society and we are fed these messages everyday that being skinny is beautiful. There’s is such an emphasis on it. I hope to put a different spin on it. Beauty comes in different shapes and sizes and I hate the “one size fit’s all” version of beauty. I just like putting forward a healthy idea of loving the skin that you are in and living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a lesson I’m learning about everyday.

[Mia] Is it difficult to find fashionable, camera ready, curve friendly clothing day after day?

[Sukanya]  Yes!! I have a really tough time but most of my clothes are from Lafayette 148. The designer, Edward Wilkerson has been very generous to me.

[Mia] What’s your biggest fashion hurdle?

[Sukanya]   Length. I’m tall 5’9 and I like to wear heels. Also just finding clothes in general. Dresses…shirts…the list goes on. It’s hard to find pieces that just work on my body but I know I’m not the only one. Every body is different!!!

[Mia] At PLUS Model Magazine we’re often bombarded with demands from aspiring models to give them “hook ups” and instant modeling careers but we know how important preparation is. What was your preparation/career path that led you to three Emmy’s and numerous community service awards?

[Sukanya]  Plain and simple… It was 99% hard work and some luck!

[Mia] Any advice to women who want to follow in your footsteps and pursue a career in front of the camera?

[Sukanya]  Really, just stay focused. There are a ton of talented people out there but you can always learn from the best.  Humility is a quality that I do not see enough of. Remember you don’t have all the answers. Finally… HARD WORK!!! LOTS OF IT!! Success comes with sacrifices on many levels. So think about what you are willing to give up to achieve your dreams.