The Digital Women Awards 2023, an initiative by SheThePeople, was a celebration of women's achievements in various fields and brought together a panel of remarkable individuals, including the versatile Suma Kanakala. In Telugu cinema, Suma Kanakala stands as a prominent figure, a name synonymous with laughter, versatility, and empowerment. From her debut in 1996's Kalyana Praapthirasthu to becoming a trailblazer in Telugu television, Suma's journey is a captivating narrative of success and versatility. She has delved into anchoring, content creation, and philanthropy, making her a true icon in the industry.
Suma's responses during the panel discussion echoed a mantra of resilience and growth. She urged individuals to embrace criticism with a progressive mindset, emphasising that negativity could be a catalyst for progress. "There might be a hundred comments on you, negative things on you, but take it everything progressively, positive that is going to be anything that is coming to your side," she shared, inviting a perspective that transforms challenges into stepping stones.
The ability to filter constructive criticism from the noise is an art, and Suma, with her years of experience, has mastered it with grace. Her understanding that negativity often stems from others' frustrations or personal struggles showcases a depth of empathy that sets her apart.
Behind the Scenes: Digital Platforms and the Art of Creation
Suma's insights delve further into the intricacies of being a celebrity in the digital age. She humorously narrates the challenges faced by public figures, where even a simple act like rubbing her eyes can become a sensationalised story.
"Nowadays I can't even rub my eyes like this because I put my finger here and the next day I have a thumbnail saying that she got so emotional," she shares, offering a glimpse into the often absurd narratives crafted around celebrities. This ability to find humour amid the chaos reflects Suma's strength and her capacity to navigate the digital landscape with grace.
Yet, amid the whimsy, she recognised the power of digital platforms in shaping narratives, both for herself and the causes she champions.
Empowering Through Content: A Journey Beyond Entertainment
Suma's gratitude extended beyond the realms of entertainment during the panel discussion. In a heartfelt acknowledgement, she thanked YouTube for its role in her charity organisation, Festivals for Joy. This initiative connects those in need with generous donors, and Suma proudly revealed that 20 women rescued from sex trafficking have been economically rehabilitated through this program. The episodes, meticulously documented and shared on YouTube, become powerful tools of empowerment, showcasing journeys that inspire and resonate.
"That's what is called as empowerment, where you can actually reach out to those women, show their journey, and also inspire other women to do the same," Suma expressed, highlighting the transformative potential of digital platforms in creating meaningful change.
From the Silver Screen to the Small Screen
Suma Kanakala's journey in the entertainment industry mirrors the diverse characters she brings to life on screen. Making her debut in 1996 with Kalyana Praapthirasthu, she swiftly transitioned into the world of anchoring, becoming the uncrowned queen of Telugu television.
Anchoring film events and hosting ETV's "Star Mahila," the longest-running TV game show in India, Suma's versatility knows no bounds. Suma's quick wit and humour shine during live events, making the audience burst into laughter with her sense of humour and spontaneity.
Her recent foray back into acting, with a recent venture into a content-driven film, showcased her versatility, proving that her talent knows no bounds.
In 2022, she received a rare honour, a proclamation from Sam Joshi, the Mayor of Edison, New Jersey, recognizing her services in the entertainment industry.
The Real Suma Kanakala: Personal Journey and Challenges:
Suma was born on March 22, 1975, in Palakkad, Kerala, India. She was born into a Malayali family to Pranavi Narayanan Kutty Nair and Pallassana Paachuveettil Vimala. She spent her formative years in Secunderabad, where she grew up near Lalaguda & Mettuguda railways, and her unique blend of Malayali roots and Telugu upbringing adds layers to her identity.
Married to Tollywood actor Rajeev Kanakala since 1999, Suma is not just a queen on the small screen but a devoted mother to Roshan Karthik Kanakala and Snehanaswini Kanakala
Addressing rumours of divorce during her recent appearance on Alitho Saradaga, Suma candidly admitted to conflicts in her 23-year marriage with Tollywood actor Rajeev Kanakala. However, she emphasized the complexity of seeking divorce as parents, shedding light on the intricate balance between personal and public life.
"It is true that there are conflicts between the two … But one thing is true… divorce is easy… but as a parent, it’s difficult," Suma affirmed, giving a glimpse into the challenges faced by individuals navigating both fame and family.
Suma Kanakala teaches us not just to endure negativity but to transform it into a force for progress. Her journey from anchoring to acting, her philanthropic endeavours, and her ability to navigate personal challenges with grace showcase a woman who embodies the essence of empowerment.
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