Never let go of your dreams…
I burst with so much pride and joy while I introduce my dear friend Sarina Jain.
I have known Sarina since we were teenagers growing up in Los Angeles. Sarina then and now is the epitome of spunk, energy, zest and Bhangra! (Balle Balle!)
I watched her perform her arengetrum (solo debut in Bharat Natyam), participate in fashion shows, dance in competitions (and win them beating my group!) and then watched her through her journey creating ‘Masala Bhangra‘.
This was back in the day of Tai Bo videos. If you were cool and fit you owned two work out videos at home: Tai Bo and Masala Bhangra.
Here you go folks… The journey of Sarina’s amazing dream becoming larger than reality!
Welcome Sarina – ‘India’s Jane Fonda’- to Colour Me Woman. Thank you for being one of my Colourful Women who I am so proud and happy to share with my readers.
- What was ‘the dream’ back then?
SJ: THE DREAM BACK THEN WAS TO GET ALL MY AUNTIES AND UNCLES TO EXERCISE. EXERCISING WAS A HUGE PART OF MY LIFE, ESP AFTER MY FATHER PASSED AWAY. IT WAS LIKE I FOUND MY CALLING AND MY MISSION IN LIFE AND THAT WAS TO GET YOU UP AND EXERCISING TO LIVE A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE!
How old were you then?
SJ: VERY YOUNG! 🙂 I STARTED MY CAREER IN FITNESS AT A VERY YOUNG AGE AND I AM STILL YOUNG 🙂
Ha Ha! True. You’ve created your own fountain of youth with Masala Bhangra!
2. What is your educational background? and Professional?
SJ: I GRADUATED FROM CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY – FULLERTON WITH A DEGREE IN PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS. I DID PR FOR SOMETIME BEFORE I STARTED MY OWN BUSINESS IN 1998.
3. I remember you came to me one day announcing your first video with Sheila and Simi and how you needed a ‘funky’, cool outfit for it. Please share how that dream led you to Masala Bhangra’s 1st video.
SJ: I HAD BEEN TEACHING FITNESS FOR SOMETIME. AND THEN THIS IDEA OF MASALA BHANGRA CAME TO ME. I KNEW I WAS GOOD AT TEACHING FITNESS CLASSES AS I TAUGHT STEP, WEIGHT TRAINING, AEROBICS AND MUCH MORE. WHEN I CAME TO YOU, IT WAS FO
R MY 1ST WORKOUT VIDEO AS I WANTED TO BE THE FIRST TO BRING AN INDIAN DANCE WORKOUT VIDEO TO THE SCENE. NO ONE HAD EVER DONE THAT BEFORE! YOU CREATED A LOOK AND FEEL FOR ME THAT I USED THOSE FAMOUS MASALA BHANGRA PANTS FOR THE PHOTO SHOOT AND IT BECAME THE COVER OF THE FIRST MASALA BHANGRA WORKOUT VIDEO!
4. Then you moved to the Big Apple. Why?
SJ: I MOVED TO NYC IN 2001 BECAUSE I JUST KNEW THAT I COULD GO A LOT FURTHER WITH MASALA BHANGRA IN A CITY LIKE THE BIG APPLE. IT TOOK ME 2 WEEKS FOR PEOPLE TO GET HOOKED TO MB, WHICH TOOK ME 2 YEARS IN CA. WHILE IT WAS A HARD CHOICE TO LEAVE MY MOM AND SISTER, IT WAS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR ME AT THAT TIME.
5. How did you get started in New York?
SJ: IN 1999, I WAS INTERVIEWED BY A FEW MAGAZINES THAT BROUGHT ATTENTION TO MASALA BHANGRA. FROM THERE GYMS CONTACTED ME AND ASKED ME TO TEACH FULL TIME WITH 15 CLASSES READY TO GO IF I MOVED TO NYC. SO THAT WAS A NO-BRAINER. I TAUGHT ALL KINDS OF CLASSES, BUT THE ONE THAT I CREATED – MASALA BHANGRA. THIS WAS A DREAM COME TRUE. IF YOU MAKE IT IN NYC AS AN ENTREPRENEUR, I BELIEVE YOU WILL THEN HAVE A CHANCE TO GO GLOBAL, WHICH I HAVE DONE NOW.
6. What was/is your biggest motivation to spread Masala Bhangra?
SJ: MY FATHER ALWAYS TOLD ME TO BE PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN BEING BORN AND RAISED IN THE UNITED STATES. I WAS VERY CLOSE TO MY FATHER. HE IS THE REASON I PURSUED A FITNESS CAREER! WHEN HE PASSED AWAY, MY MOM WAS 40 YEARS OLD. THIS DEVASTATED ME. I JUST KNEW I HAD TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE FACT THAT HE WAS GONE ONE DAY AT 47 TO A MASSIVE CARDIAC ARREST. VERY UNFAIR. THIS HAS BEEN MY GROUNDING FACTOR EVEN TODAY. I OFTEN ASK MYSELF…WHY DO I DO WHAT I DO AND WHY DO I CONTINUE. BECAUSE I KNOW I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE IF YOU GIVE ME A CHANCE.
BUT I NEED YOU TO HELP ME OUT AS I CAN’T DO IT FOR YOU.
7. Was it ever a challenge to go mainstream with an ethnic dance and title?
SJ: OF COURSE. AT FIRST WHEN I STARTED, I THOUGHT INDIANS WOULD DEFINITELY COME. THE SOUTH ASIAN MARKET WOULD DEF. TAKE TO MASALA BHANGRA, BUT THEY DIDN’T AND INSTEAD THEY LAUGHED SAYING ‘NO AMERICAN IS GOING TO TAKE TO THIS’. AT THAT TIME, IT WAS ONLY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO SUPPORTED ME. 16 YEARS LATER, I CAN FINALLY SAY THAT IN 2010, WE BROKE THE MOLD OF SOUTH ASIANS COMING TO MASALA BHANGRA AS NOW MANY DO. BUT LOOK HOW LONG IT TOOK ME!!!?
8. Tell us about your first TV talk show performance ?
SJ: I WAS ON THE AINSLEY HARRIOT SHOW IN 2000 AND IT WAS JUST AMAZING! IT WAS MY FIRST TIME TO BE LIVE AND SHOWCASE MASALA BHANGRA AND AINSLEY HARRIOT ROCKED IT OUT WITH ME!
9. After the US which country did you first expand to?
SJ: I EXPANDED TO JAPAN! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!! JAPAN! THEY LOVE MASALA BHANGRA AND THEY LOVE SHOUTING “BALLE BALLE”!!!
10. Please share your international journey with us....
SJ: WOW…WHAT A JOURNEY IT HAS BEEN! I HAVE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO BUILD MASALA BHANGRA IN 22 COUNTRIES NOW. THE MOST POPULAR COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN MALAYSIA, JAPAN, UK, USA AND SINGAPORE! WE ARE STILL GROWING SLOWLY BUT SURELY, BUT IT HAS BEEN EXTREMELY HUMBLING TO SEE PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WANTING TO TEACH MB.
11. What were your biggest challenges on this journey?
SJ: SOME OF MY BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN LIFE IS PROBABLY STILL – HAVING PEOPLE SEE THAT EXERCISING DOES MATTER! TAKING CARE OF YOUR HEALTH DOES MATTER! AND THE LONGER YOU TAKE CARE OF IT, THE LONGER THE BENEFITS ARE! ALSO, HAVING SOUTH ASIANS SEE THAT WHAT I DO MATTERS AND IT IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLES’ LIVES EVERY DAY. I GET MOCKED ALL THE TIME, BUT I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING IS SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO BE A LIFE LONG JOURNEY FOR ME. EVEN YOUNG KIDS TODAY, YOUNG ADULTS, WHO ARE NOT IN THE BEST SHAPE WANT TO ‘SLASH MY THROAT’ SO I DON’T SAY “BALLE BALLE” ANYMORE. I FIND THIS SAD. AND CLEARLY UNHEALTHY! AND I TELL THEM TO EXERCISE AND TRY DOING WHAT I DO BEFORE THEY JUST EXERCISE THEIR MOUTH!
Oh yes! I forgot about that.
12. Did you ever feel like giving up at any time?
SJ: SURE. GIVING UP IS EASY TO DO! BUT THAT IS JUST IT. IT IS TOO EASY JUST TO GIVE UP, SO THE MINUTE I FIND MYSELF IN A STRESSED MOMENT, I JUST TAKE A DEEP BREATH IN AND SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE SO FAR AND I THINK OF MY DAD AND ALL THOSE PEOPLE THAT DIDN’T QUIT!
13. How did you come up with the name ‘Masala Bhangra’?
SJ: IN 1998, I CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF DOING AN INDIAN DANCE WORKOUT AS I KNEW IT WAS MY CALLING! I HAD EVERYTHING FIGURED OUT EXCEPT THE NAME. AT THAT TIME, I WAS TOLD TO QUICKLY COME UP WITH ONE SO THAT I CAN START TO SHOOT MY FIRST WORKOUT. AND SO “QUICKLY” I SAID MASALA BHANGRA! AND IT STUCK. SO NOW I AM NOT CHANGING IT. I CAME UP WITH A NEW PROGRAM ENTITLED ‘BAR BHANGRA’.
14. How does it feel to be known as the ‘Jane Fonda of India’?
SJ: IT FEELS GREAT. I AM HONORED. SHE REVOLUTIONIZED THE FITNESS INDUSTRY. SHE MADE LEGGINGS AND LEOTARDS POPULAR! AND HER WORKOUT VIDEOS WERE FANTASTIC AS SHE WAS THE FIRST. SO TO BE THE PIONEER TO BRING INDIAN DANCE TO THE FITNESS INDUSTRY IS AN HONOR.
15. Hind sight being 20/20, would you do anything differently?
SJ: AS CRAZY AS IT SOUNDS, BUT NO….I AM SURE THERE ARE THINGS TO BE DONE DIFFERENTLY, BUT THAT IS JUST IT. HOW DO YOU KNOW UNTIL YOU DO IT. ONLY NOW COULD I SAY AND CONSULT SOMEONE TO DO THIS AND NOT TO DO THIS. BUT I LOVE WHAT I DO AND LOVE WHAT I HAVE CREATED AND I LOVE THE FACT IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE IS SO MANY LIVES. MASALA BHANGRA IS ALL ABOUT JOY, CELEBRATION AND COMMUNITY! IT BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER IN MORE THAN ONE WAY!
16. What is the one thing you consider being your biggest achievement?
SJ: THERE ARE A FEW THINGS -BEING ON THE COVER OF A MAGAZINE THAT IS INDUSTRY RELATED! BEING ON THE COVER OF A CEREAL BOX THAT WAS DISTRIBUTED TO 2.6 MILLION BOXES
JUST HAVING A VISION AND GOING FOR IT NOT KNOWING WHAT THE OUTCOME WOULD BE.
17. Where to next Sarina?
SJ: I HAVE SOME EXCITING NEWS BUT CAN’T TELL THAT TO YOU TILL IT COMES OUT! 🙂
Hmmm….. now you’ve got my curiosity. I will have to probe off line! 🙂
18. On a personal level you must have faced a lot of challenges as well – would you like to share any or a specific one?
SJ: I FACED MANY CHALLENGES. PEOPLE SAID THIS WOULD NOT GO ANYWHERE. AND NOW I AM IN 22 COUNTRIES. PEOPLE SAID THAT NO ONE WILL TAKE TO MASALA BHANGRA. BUT TODAY IT HAS CHANGED SO MANY PEOPLES’ LIVES. HATERS CAME MY WAY AND SAID THIS IS NOT REAL BHANGRA AND WANTED TO ‘SLASH MY THROAT’. I NEVER SAID I WAS DOING HARD CORE BHANGRA (WHATEVER THAT IS TODAY) AS WHAT WE DO IS WHAT WE DO AT WEDDINGS. AND THIS IS MY OWN PEOPLE BORN AND RAISED IN NORTH AMERICA. I GUESS THESE THINGS WILL HAPPEN ONCE YOU GET POPULAR AND HATERS WILL BE HATERS, BUT THAT IS JUST IT….THEY ARE JUST HATERS. THEY DON’T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO DO BUT HATE SO YOU GOT TAKE THAT AND USE IT TO MY ADVANTAGE~
19. You recently tied the knot – congratulations to Rajat and you. I have still to meet this Prince Charming who swept you off your feet!
SJ: IT TOOK ME SOMETIME TO MEET THE ONE, BUT I DID. AND IT IS THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD TO WAIT FOR THE ONE. THERE WERE TIMES WHERE I DID GIVE UP BUT THEN THERE WERE TIMES WHERE I JUST HAD TO BELIEVE IT WILL HAPPEN. AND EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. OUR TIMINGS ARE SET BY THE ABOVE POWERS! BUT IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL MEET THE ONE..THEN YOU WILL. YOU JUST GOT TO KEEP BELIEVING. I AM HAPPY AND BLOWN AWAY AS TO HOW 99% OF WHAT HE HAS, IS WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR IN A MAN.
20. Being an Indian girl in America following such an unconventional dream AND being so successful – what effect did this have in your dating life?
SJ: IT MADE IT HARD TO MEET THE RIGHT MAN. MOST GUYS DIDN’T WANT TO TAKE A CHANCE ON THE UNCONVENTIONAL WOMAN! BUT I WAS NOT QUITTING JUST TO GET MARRIED.
21. What made it all come together with Rajat?
SJ: ANUPA, I THINK WE MAY NEED TO ASK HIM THAT 😉
Ha ha! Touche! Sure.. as I said.. I can’t wait to meet him!
22. What is your own fitness regime?
SJ: I WORKOUT 4 TIMES A WEEK. NOT TO HAVE THIS KILLER, SICK, TIGHT BODY, BUT TO HAVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE. IT IS IN MY BLOOD TO WORKOUT. I ALWAYS BRING MY GEAR NO MATTER WHERE I AM TRAVELING TO SO I CAN GET IN A GOOD WEIGHT TRAINING SESSION AND A GOOD RUN ON THE TREADMILL.
I LOVE WEIGHT TRAINING AS IT MAKES MY BONES STRONGER! I LOVE TO DO CARDIO AS I FEEL 10 TIMES BETTER POST. I ALSO TEACH MY CLASSES BUT MOSTLY WORKOUT ON MY OWN AS WELL.
23. You’re no doubt a role model to many girls everywhere in the world that you have energised with your spunk and with Masala Bhangra. Please give our readers some advice on following your passion? (I would specify – Unconventional :))
SJ: IN TODAY’S WORLD, EVERYTHING CAN BE UNCONVENTIONAL ESP. WITH OUR THINKING. I WOULD SAY THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME A CHANCE TO SHARE WITH YOU MY TWO CENTS. AND I WOULD SAY THAT YOU ONLY HAVE ONE LIFE TO LIVE. I KNOW THAT YOU MAY HEAR THIS ALL THE TIME, BUT IT IS TRUE. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WILL HAPPEN TOMORROW, SO IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA THAT YOU WANT TO PURSUE, DO IT AND IF YOU DON’T, SOMEONE ELSE WILL. AND THE ONLY WAY IT IS GOING TO EVEN GET OFF THE GROUND IS IF YOU BELIEVE IN IT, PUT THE HARD WORK IN AND SEE WHERE IT GOES. SET A GOAL FOR YOURSELF TO HAVE RESULTS DONE. IF BY THEN, THE RESULTS ARE TO WHAT YOU WANTED, THEN YOU ARE GOOD TO GO AND CAN GO FOR MORE. IF THEY ARE NOT TO WHAT YOU ANTICIPATED, EITHER THINK OF SOMETHING ELSE, OR RE-EVALUATE WHERE YOU ARE AT. BUT YOU GOTTA TRY IT. THIS GOES WITH ANYTHING! FROM WORKING OUT TO COOKING TO YOUR JOB TO ANYTHING!
24. A few fitness tips please before you move on?
SJ: I BELIEVE AND WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT STAYING ACTIVE IS THE KEY TO LIFE. IT ADDS POSITIVITY TO YOUR LIFE. AND IN A WEIRD WAY, IT SUBCONSCIOUSLY ALLOWS YOU TO GO FURTHER!
BUT YOU GOTTA STAY ACTIVE NOT FOR ANYONE ELSE BUT YOURSELF. LIFT THEM WEIGHTS. I SEE TOO MANY WOMEN TODAY IN THEIR EARLY 40’S WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO LIFT EVEN 7 LBS. THAT IS SCARY! SO START TO BUILD A STRONG BODY AND START TO LIFT WEIGHTS. EVERYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO A SQUAT, A LUNGE, A PUSH UP – THESE ARE JUST BASICS.
Phew! I’m glad I can at least do those 7lbs.
25. When do we see you and where can we experience a Masala Bhangra work out in London? (I would love to be your ambassador! Ouch!)
SJ: ANUPA, I THINK YOU WERE AN AMBASSADOR THE MINUTE I ASKED YOU TO HELP ME OUT! YOU HAVE BELIEVED IN ME SINCE THEN! AND I AM CELEBRATING 16 YEARS OF MY FIRST WORKOUT VIDEO COMING OUT. I HAVE 12 NOW AND 3 MORE ON IT’S WAY! 🙂
WE HAVE AN AMAZING MASALA BHANGRA AMBASSADOR NAMED RA’SHAWN LIVING IN HOUNSLOW. SHE IS ROCKING WITH HER CLASSES AND PASSIONATELY TEACHES AND EMBRACES THE CULTURE! ITS A JOY TO SEE HER SPREAD THE MASALA BHANGRA LOVE! FOR THOSE THAT CAN’T COME AND EXPERIENCE A LIVE CLASS, WE HAVE DVDS AND YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THEM AS WELL!
Thank you Sarina! As I said… so energetic and so inspirational. I wish you luck with your ‘new’ venture and all you do. See you in London or NYC soon! Balle Balle!
To get a sample of Sarina’s work and order her DVD’s…. https://www.masalabhangraworkout.com/