Rising Music Star Tina Sugandh: “All we can do with anything in life is look at the positive”
…all we can do with anything in life is look at the positive, right? The positive side is that everything that happened led me to where I am now, which is HAPPY. I’m mature enough now to know that success is happiness, as that is not easy to achieve. Also, if we’re being real here, I absolutely needed to be kicked down a bit back then as I was pretty arrogant. It’s a real mindf**k to have people tell you for 3 years that you’re going to be the first Indian pop superstar, and I started to think I was better than everyone. So having that tough lesson helped me become into the person I am today, and although my life isn’t perfect, it’s pretty darn amazing!
Tina Sugandh is an international Bollywood star, reality TV personality, and founder of Mom on Top Shop (organic, all-natural, vegan and chemical-free skincare including bestsellers “Bake It” and “Shake It” for pregnancy and postpartum women). Sugandh and her husband Tarz starred on a series of reality shows including Bravo TV’s Newylweds: The First Year. Highlights of her musical career include contracts with Sony and Hollywood Records, 3 Billboard charting singles, recording with Timbaland and Ringo Starr, and performing over 3,000 concerts since the age of 5, including at the “Indian Grammy Awards.” An advocate for miscarriage awareness, Sugandh has publicly shared her 8 pregnancies and 5 miscarriages. A mom of three, she encourages other women to carve their own parenting path and ignore the haters.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Having 5 miscarriages in front of millions on national television is what led me to my most recent career path. Isn’t that how everyone gets started? :)
Perhaps I should expound. (WARNING: Massive run-on-sentence ahead.) The very short version of how I ended up creating “Mom On Top Shop” is that I started performing music at age of 5 with my family, The Sugandh Family, every weekend, which led me to graduating college with an honors degree in bio (naturally) but simultaneously was offered a deal with Hollywood records and so I took that deal, then was thrown off the label “cut-throat style” 3 years later just as my album was about to be released, got a deal with Sony music instead, then worked and recorded with everyone from Ringo Starr to Timbaland, and eventually found myself staring on 3 Bravo TV shows which led to some crazy pregnancy reveals and miscarriage talk on “Watch What Happens Live” with Andy Cohen and as a result got tons of emails asking what I used on my body during pregnancy as well as to bounce back after having babies and so I decided to jar and share the totally natural, organic, vegan concoction (that was co-created by a world renown skin-healing physician) that miraculously faded my dark deep purple pregnancy PUPPS scars, and to this day keeps my skin tight, smooth, scar free, and totally moisturized…
(deep breath)…and THAT is how I ended up with my highly rated, 5-star reviewed shop, MomOnTopShop.com. Got all that? :)
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I would recommend stashing a case of wine and a good bottle of whiskey. Next question! Lol.
I would say to expect a lot of rejection, and I believe this applies to many other industries as well, especially when you’re trying to self-build. To keep yourself going after the heartbreak, go ahead and allow yourself to go into “breakup mode”, where you actually take a second to feel the rejection. Cry, bitch, eat a tub of ice cream (like those romedies all make us feel obligated to do), scream into a pillow, wallow in self pity, etc…but then know that there is a different and better opportunity ahead-and GO GET IT!!!
Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
The toughest thing about the entertainment industry is how cut-throat it is, and no matter how talented you are (ask all the “Gaga’s” of the industry and they will tell you the same), before every yes, there are a thousand no’s that you have to somehow pick yourself back up from.
I had my first taste of just how shockingly devastating the entertainment business is, and really business in general, after being signed to Hollywood records on-the-spot, by the CEO himself, after doing a mini performance in his office. I had been honing my craft ever since the age of 5, and he actually said he had never seen anything like me since his days of managing Prince since I played several instruments, danced, wrote all my music, sang, etc. The label treated me like royalty, not just by what they said, but by the checks they wrote and the fact that they set me up with mega-hit making producers that worked with all the top artists, and they even flew in some of the world’s most amazing instrumentalists so that I could have my dream of an authentic Bollywood/Pop album. Then, after 3 years of making the album, it was finally done, and I was ready to take over the world and become the very first Bollywood/pop artist.
Out of nowhere, just WEEKS before my album was set to come out, I was told they were dropping me. I’m not sure of the reason but heard they decided to spend their marketing budget on a different artist. Everyone, including my A&R rep at the label, as well as my managers of course (shout of to one of my managers who was Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister) was shocked and crushed as we all invested 3 years of hard work and had massive hope for success!
That was a kick in the face, and definitely the toughest thing I’ve dealt with career-wise, but all we can do with anything in life is look at the positive, right? The positive side is that everything that happened led me to where I am now, which is HAPPY. I’m mature enough now to know that success is happiness, as that is not easy to achieve. Also, if we’re being real here, I absolutely needed to be kicked down a bit back then as I was pretty arrogant. It’s a real mindf**k to have people tell you for 3 years that you’re going to be the first Indian pop superstar, and I started to think I was better than everyone. So having that tough lesson helped me become into the person I am today, and although my life isn’t perfect, it’s pretty darn amazing!
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
For my current business, MomOnTopShop.com, my drive comes from the incredible feedback and gratitude that we get from our customers. (Seriously, read those reviews at MomOnTopShop.com and tell me how I could possibly not continue!) I know I’m supposed to act bigger than we are and say that I have a team working with me, since “perception is everything” and all that-but I’m at a place (and age) where I’m over all that Hollywood bragging BS. The truth is that I’ve done so many things by myself that were such a struggle as the graphics department, the sales department, marketing department,etc=all me! For example, I had zero clue about graphics, and so I was forced to learn photoshop (my brain hurts just thinking about how challenging that was for me) and then over time I was able to create a new logo, design new labels, etc, in order to rebrand our best selling products. By the way, when I say “over time”, I mean that it took me almost a YEAR to get our new logo and labels designed (due to lack of experience plus having 3 tiny humans) whereas a graphics department would have banged that out in a week. But again, I can’t quit now that we have so many grateful and incredible customers that have seen results only with our product after trying so many other products! (Also, I know first hand what they mean since I had pregnancy PUPPS scars that doctors said would never fully fade, but they did with our products. So although I never ever thought I would have a skincare business, it’s these constant success stories that keep me motivated to keep going and to try to expand!)
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The reviews definitely make us stand out, as they are really and truly incredible, as well as the fact that we are truly all natural and we don’t even use water to cut costs like most over the counter companies do. It’s genuinely just all rich wholesome ingredients which is why we believe the products are really working their magic for so many! This authenticity also applies to my instagram (instagram.com/TinaSugandh ) which is very much a part of my business as it’s where I have “met” a lot of amazing customers that ended up loving “Mom On Top Shop”! I give my Insta-Fam a dose of “mom reality” which I feel is needed, as if you have insecurities to begin with (like I do) then those “perfect mom pages” can be a bit intimidating. So I’m very, very real about everything, from not moving the messy toys to get “that shot”, to talking about how motherhood can mean staring lovingly at your kids in total disbelief that these beautiful kids are yours, to wanting to jab a pen in your eye because you seriously CAN’T believe that these freaking kids are yours…all in a matter of 60 seconds. This authenticity is something I believe wholeheartedly in, for all aspects of my career!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’ve always tried to inspire others, and the inspiration changes depending on where I am in life. One example is that after having 5 miscarriages, I made it my goal to get on air in order to make women aware that “1 in 4 pregnancies are miscarried” as that statistic helped me immensely to get through all my miscarriages. I managed to state that statistic in front of millions while doing a crazy pregnancy reveal as a guest on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live”, and I received so many emails from women stating that it helped them as well. Another example is, after becoming a mom, I’ve received so many hateful comments (the mom judgement is real), and therefore sought out to help other moms deal with the mom judgement as well. I get hated on for the strangest things, such as co-sleeping (where comments are “you are f**king up your kids and they will never be independent), to my occasional cursing (where comments are “good moms don’t curse”), to the fact that my son still needs pull-ups at night…and I’ve even been hated on for having 5 miscarriages!!! People have actually said things like “those 5 babies were better off dead than having you for a mom”. I mean, can’t we just go back to the pre-mom days where people were merely calling me “ugly”? Honestly, it took me years and years to transition from a person that could break down crying when someone called me “ugly” to becoming a 94% #ZeroF**ksLife mom. (I say 94% because I still have my insecure days where the nonsensical mom-hate actually stings a bit). I want to encourage other moms to be as “Zero-f**ks” as they can be when it comes to strangers, and even loved ones, that don’t really understand why we make the mom-choices we make (and don’t really need to IMO). When my husband thinks I could be doing something better as a mom, I take it very seriously (but call him a “douche-burger” to his face as that is my wife-duty of course). But when someone online tells me, and I quote, “I’m f**king up my kids by co-sleeping and they will never become independent because of the shitty mom that I am”, I wish them all the love in the world (because they clearly are in need of some) and I simply MOVE ON. Now that we can all hide behind our profiles, the mom-judgement is rampant. I wish that all moms would just know that mean, judgy people are just unhappy and insecure, and that they are amazing moms as long as they love their kids with all their hearts! There’s a million and 1 ways to mother this ship, so steer it the way you feel is best as we’re all just trying our best to raise incredible kiddos!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Please come join the momsanity on my IG! It’s Instagram.com/TinaSugandh