Anne Marie Shivani Chand
This multi talented, gorgeous comedy kween is one of our favourite boss babes in the local community.
She is an amazing dancer, has been in over ten dance groups, choreographed several dance stages, mentored and taught many people dance, has had the opportunity to work as a professional dance teacher and manager and is now on a journey towards making her own dance academy.
She recently launched her website Shivani's Dance Space where she aims to ‘create a platform to instill a great passion for dance while inspiring confidence and enabling artists to reach their creative potential’. I am honored to have the talented Anne Marie Shivani Chand as part of this Queendom.
Shivani was born in Fiji and identifies herself as Fijian Indian European as her mother is native Fijian and European and her father is Hindu.
Shivani loved being in Fiji like the majority of us “findians” but mostly because everyone knew Shivani through her dance. In order to get a better education and lifestyle Shivani migrated to New Zealand with her parents when she was 11 years of age.
“Migrating to New Zealand was a challenge because we were being introduced to a lifestyle we weren’t aware of. For example, music, daily activities, atmosphere, or eating habits. However, we didn’t take much time adapting to it”.
Shivani had a difficult time in her intermediate school and was bullied a couple of times because of her race and culture.
She started to feel like being Indian was a sin and she did not understand why people had a problem with “Indians”. It wasn’t long when she realised her accent wasn’t ‘accepted’ either.
“I had a strong Fijian accent which meant it was extremely hard to even speak properly without someone having to mock me about it. My English wasn’t too good either at that time and I was told to take ESOL classes to improve on my English and pronunciation”.
High school years weren’t any different for Shivani and she made two friends which no one in her class liked because of their race. “Due to my past experiences in intermediate, I tried to “fit in” by dyeing my hair a different colour, or pretending to like certain things.
Later I realised that I didn’t need to pretend to be someone else and I only had to be myself whether others accepted it or not”.
At 16, Shivani decided to take part in a female lead dance competition in Indian Diva which was a popular dance contest in its time. People hardly knew her then therefore she wanted to use this opportunity to put herself out in public as a dancer.
“I was approached by a girl who seemed to be a few years older than me; telling me to my face that I had to be “pretty” to do diva - which really put me down because not only were the words hurtful, but it made me question myself and my talent.
I began to question the importance of the competition and what people’s expectations were. I began to doubt myself, my looks, and began to over think everything”.
Shivani is extremely proud of her growth as a dancer. “I’m still working towards creating a name and my brand slowly and steadily. I haven’t accomplished this yet. But I believe that I’ve been working hard towards dance and whatever I put out there
which is what I think I’ve achieved or am currently achieving. I’m very lucky to be able to have my friends, family and supporters out there who encourage my love for dance.
However, my go-to person is Jesus. He is my go-to
person because he simply loves me unconditionally and reminds me of my purpose daily. Whatever problems I go through, I look through the bible or even talk to god himself through prayers and he answers them right away”.
“I am a person who is always determined to succeed, to grow more each day, to learn, inspire others as well as break stereotypes and boundaries which makes me a “female hustler”.
“Creating this page is a beautiful idea because at this time and age, we come across a lot of hate and negativity especially when the hate is coming from another girl. I think it’s important to build a space for women to come together to support each other’s goals and brand.
It helps people connect with each other, builds better relationships and helps build confidence”.
To check Shivani's latest project, check her instagram page @shivanisdancespace