Piyali Guha Toshniwal resides in Mumbai, India, the City of Dreams as it’s rightfully called.
Many know her as an influencer, pageant mentor, and entrepreneur with lakhs of followers.
She has collaborated with top beauty brands and inspires many with her achievements. She
has won a total of twelve crowns and aced eight national and international pageants.
She is a voice against domestic violence, and a champion of women’s rights, equality, inclusivity, and body positivity. Being a plus-sized woman, she is the epitome of confidence, grace, and
poise. Her social responsibility and strength make her even more admirable.
Piyali spoke with She-writer Dr. Sailaja on how she shattered stereotypes and became a role model to
millions. SheSight presents some excerpts from the interview.
Dr. Sailaja: What has been the starting point of your journey? Any thought, plan, or incident
which inspired you to start this venture?
Piyali: I have always been academically inclined. I have completed my Engineering and MBA with a
Gold medal. Naturally, I was curious about Entrepreneurship and started two ventures just to
learn something during my new mom-hood phase. It was like part-time work while taking
care of the home and a baby.
One was a jewelry brand PSJ – Piyali Jewels, and an event company named Radiance
Events. Mumbai is the commercial hub of India and we had no problem gaining traction
Dr. Sailaja: You have been impacting society through inclusivity and body positivity
initiatives. Has this been meticulously planned, or is it a by-product of another bigger
Piyali: To be honest, I haven’t started with the goal, but I was always a confident woman, very
happy and at peace with myself. I often helped women in difficult situations with counseling
and support. That will always remain my life’s mission. But I haven’t imagined doing this
through beauty contests.
I have taken part in the Mrs. Kalyan (Mumbai) beauty pageant in 2019. Here I am, a plus-
sized woman, competing with the likes of the famed “Size 2”, tall, slim, and much younger,
beautiful women. But the jury was impressed by my confidence, courage, social work, and
conviction. I was crowned Mrs. Kalyan and I took this path seriously.
After the initial win, it satisfied many, but I have had many women write to me about how I made them feel confident in their own skin, and they accept who they are, with my motivation.
So I went on a pageant spree. Today, I have twelve crowns, and eight pageant wins,
national and international, the most prominent ones being Mrs. United Nations Goodwill –
India and International. They put me in the spotlight and everyone knows me through these
Dr. Sailaja: How’s the journey so far? How many people are working with you and what
significant betterment have they been able to see as a part of this project?
Piyali: This journey is a roller coaster and an awesome one! I decided to make life easier
for the women around me. Hence started a pageantry school, and it’s wonderful to see many
women, who gave up on their beauty queen dreams, resume their journey with me. Also, my
event company has an entire team of 15 people working, mostly women.
That is the ultimate satisfaction – not letting their dreams die and supporting them through.
Dr. Sailaja: Let’s discuss funding, the lifeline of any business. To date how many
investments happened and what holds for the future? To what extent do you rely on
the revenue source and funding of the business?
Piyali: All my businesses are self-financed. Since I have multiple ventures, I have been able to fund
my passions easily. I own a Telecom consultancy, conduct pageants, and have the support
of sponsors. Being on the board of multiple organizations gives me insights into various
industries and makes me a sought-after consultant.
In the beginning, I struggled with financial planning but eventually was able to make the best
decisions for myself.
That’s what I tell all the women I know. Start with something and your empire will grow. Start
with one aspect, and be successful.
Dr. Sailaja: What are your short-term and long-term goals regarding your ventures?
Piyali: To show the world that a plus-sized girl can stand before the world on a stage wearing a
crown is a goal I have accomplished. In the next six months, I will be concentrating more
on spreading the principles of inclusivity, and gender equality, and eradicating violence towards
women and children. I want to make this world a safer place for everyone to thrive.
My long-term goals are more of an entrepreneurial nature. I have been taking franchises of
various district and city-level beauty events and soon will venture into the national level. I have
scaled up plans for my other ventures too, and expanding teams.
Dr. Sailaja: How do you manage so many streams of work? What is your secret behind it? I’m
sure this journey would have inspired many aspiring entrepreneurs in our audience.
Could you please share some insights with them?
Piyali: Planning, Discipline, Consistency. These are a must for everyone in all phases of life, not
just careers. Besides, I have a wonderful team that supports me in scheduling shoots, events, and meetings. My family is independent enough to manage the home in my absence, my
husband Jayesh and kid Arush make sure I need not interfere in everything. That saves
time and energy and I need not get stressed!! Fitness is a must when we are the backbone of a
Don’t stop at one aspect of success, explore more and achieve, that’s my mantra! Here’s a woman who did it all.
Dr. Sailaja is an enabling HR leader and sustainable practices enthusiast