The shortlist for the Top 5 Most Stylish Women of the year gets more competitive each year. However with the raft of events that have taken place as a result of the UK India Year of Culture, Britain’s Asian women have stepped up to claim the right to be called the “most stylish” of the year. They have embraced couture, tried new looks, played with fabrics and textures and proven that they can pare it down or glam it up as the occasion required.
This year’s Top 5 Most Stylish Women 2017, presented in alphabetical order by surname, are actor Sheena Bhattessa; artist Anisha Burman Mwambazi; TV presenter Anila Dhami; management consultant Bijal Majithia and fashion blogger Simran Randhawa.
Sheena Bhattessa is a British actress. After completing her law degree in London, she landed her first jobs in Hindi films, working alongside Bobby Deol, and subsequently Saif Ali Khan, and quickly learnt Hindi. She was soon after cast in ITV’s The Fixer where she perfected her French and subsequent TV and film roles in Eastenders, Doctors, and Midsomer Murders. She was part of the Olivier -award nominated cast of ‘The Great Game’, playing in London and touring America. In 2010, she founded It’s PR Company, a communications company.
With a background in lifestyle PR & marketing, film and journalism and having worked in some of London’s leading lifestyle PR agencies and lived in London, New York and Mumbai, she has worked with a range of clients including Virgin Media, Absolut Vodka, a curious group of hotels and India Tourist Board. However, it is the stage and screen that is Sheena’s first love and in September 2017 she replaced Romola Garai in the West End performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s hit Queen Anne to great acclaim.
Sheena’s style is eclectic and reflects her varied tastes in travel and genres. However, with a fine bone structure, luminescent skin tone and an actor’s energy she looks fabulous in everything from jeans or couture gowns.
Anisha Burman Mwambazi
Anisha Burman Mwambazi is the daughter of Dr Anand Burman who is currently the chairman of the 127 year old Indian company Dabur. Founded in the year 1884, the company now belongs to the fifth generation of the Burman family and is India’s largest Ayurvedic medicine manufacturer, it crossed the billion dollar turnover mark in 2012. Anisha is an artist and director of Les Niche with her husband Leslie Mwambazi. In March 2015, they published ‘Volutionism’ – a term they coined to represent their philosophy which recognises the cyclic and repetitive nature of things – a coffee table book on art and design which celebrates more than a decade of their work.
Anisha’s dark eyes combined with a pearly complexion and quintessential sense of style means that she can readily wear any garment to look sensational.
Anila Dhami is a journalist and presenter. She began her journalism journey at the age of 15 when she conducted work experience at Club Asia Radio (now Buzz Asia). She then went on to gain media training and experience with Headliners, radio station LBC, local newspapers Brentwood Gazette and The Romford Recorder, and BBC Factual (Science and Horizon); all while studying a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master’s Degree in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Warwick, Coventry. On the completion of her MA, Anila began freelancing as a Broadcast Assistant at the BBC Asian Network, Field Producer at London Live, and Web Content Producer at ITV Central.
Her love for writing has seen her articles published by The Huffington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundations, The Sun, The Opinion Panel and various others including The Asian Wedding & Lifestyle Magazine of which she became Features Editor at the age of 22. At the age of 24, Anila became a Television Presenter for one of the biggest South Asian media companies in the world, Zee TV, with her own show ‘Zee Companion’. She is the first presenter to also work as a Reporter and Assistant Producer on the show. Anila has gone on to present for the BBC Asian Network, produce for ITV News and work as a Broadcast Journalist for The Telegraph. She also hosts and presents major shows such as Diwali in London (Dil) in Trafalgar Square. A campaigner for gender equality, Anila stood as a candidate for the Women’s Equality Party for the Greater London Assembly election in May 2016. She is also an Ambassador for the menstrual charity Binti.
A tall woman with a model’s good looks, Anila can carry off virtually any style or garment. Her work wear is practical, comprising a skirt, blouse and jacket; informally she prefers cocktail dresses and she always looks stunning in couture gowns for the red carpet.
Bijal Majithia works at EY as a Business Change Manager. She is the Hindu faith representative for EY and hosts regular events with the network as well as collaborative events with other networks. She is also the Director and founder of Veda London, a non-profit organisation which shares mindfulness, meditation and wellbeing in the workplace. The project has grown incredibly over the last 18 months, with events across the city including EY, Norton Rose, Schroders, Accenture, Bank of England, BNP Pariba and HS2. The concept is even being established internationally in Melbourne and New York. Earlier in 2017, Bijal won a Sewa Pioneers Award for her on going project ‘Food for the Mind, Body and Soul’ in which she leads a team of 100 volunteers to serve various charitable and community projects across the UK and India. Most recently she created the ‘Veggie Steady Cook’ experience which serves to educate people on the benefits of a healthy and conscious diet through an interactive multimedia experience, including live cooking demonstrations and tailor made recipe books.
Bijal has a dazzling smile which gives a happy aura to any outfit that she wears; from a suit for work, jeans and wellies for her volunteering work to an apron for her cooking demonstrations! However, she can easily mesh the eastern and western wardrobe styles to look sensational on any occasion.
Simran Randhawa is a Malaysian-Indian London native, currently working as an Assistant Editor at gal-dem.com, model and digital influencer who has experience working with brands such as H&M and i-D, whilst also being featured in global publications such as Vogue, Dazed and Grazia. Skilled in journalism, communication and social media, she has over 100,000 followers of her Instagram account (simisear_), Simran is a style influencer. She holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Sociology from the University of Bristol where is she was a member of the Creative Writing and Poetry Society and performed at numerous open mic nights. Featured in Vogue who described Simran’s style as “The sartorial salute is pretty to look at, but Randhawa underscores its true meaning by tagging her selfies with #decoloniseyourwardrobe – a pointed jab at Britain’s long, ugly history in India. Now, with racial tensions and xenophobia on the rise in England, she considers her closet to be even more of a political statement.”
Simran’s style shows a great deal of self confidence and she is unique in combining different styles, lengths, textures and fabrics to create an appearance that is difficult to define – perhaps a new genre befits this style influencer.