"Vulnerability is an artist’s biggest and greatest strength." - Zinia Fernandes
by EVENTFAQS Bureau Entertainment | February 8, 2018 | Promo Feature
“Lets Talk” with Zinia Fernandes
, India’s ‘livewire’ and EVENTFAQS Live Quotient Handpicked artist, who brings both sophistication and an unmatched energy to any event. Known as one of the most reliable and proactive emcees, Zinia has worked her way into the hearts and minds of India’s Event industry.
1. How do you manage to stay ahead of the game in the experiential industry?
My only strategy is to create a brand for myself that is constantly evolving and versatile. Be it my style of performance, presentation and content creation/delivery, I am constantly working on adapting myself to various event formats and staying ahead of the curve.
From the moment I sign on for an assignment, I invest time in thoroughly understanding the brand, the client’s vision of the event and the ideas put together by the experiential agency. From there on, I work on marrying all three and creating an experience that makes the brand a part of the audiences’ lives. I love being involved in the end to end process of an event rather than being just the face or the voice of it.
At the end of the day, I think I’ve attracted such different genres of events, because by nature I’m adaptable and work with the belief that every event is a chance to create a conversation with a few that will fuel many more in the future.
2. What’s your approach to spotting and applying trends?
I consider myself very fortunate for the times in which I’ve walked into the experiential industry. We’ve never been in a more dynamic world before and today I’m part of an industry that is not a follower, rather a trend setter. Just like every other parameter, the benchmark for anchors has been raised by our predecessors and I feel responsible to take it forward.
Today an anchor’s role is not restricted to only delivering content on stage, but must also look and measure up to the part. My brand today is not defined by me but by those who experience it and therefore, I must do what it takes to improve the experience. An integral part of my work today is to keep myself on the social grid as well. 'Trending' today is no longer about the stuff you do, rather it’s about the stories you tell, be it online or offline.
3. How do you ensure audience engagement while also meeting the client’s brief?
Now that’s my favourite question. Step number one to any event is understanding the client’s intention and vision of the event which includes facts to be spoken and emotions to be created during the event and action to be elicited after the event. The next step is creating the story of the event. In my experiential career, I’ve come to understand that content is the atomic particle of the event and energy is the force that conveys it.
Today my job is not just to cater to an audience but to inspire them and that can only happen when words and emotions come together. So once content is on paper, the focus is on ‘how; I’m going to say it because that will make a world of a difference.
Also, music communicates immediately and is the 5th gospel. So I always incorporate as much music, movies and pop culture to engage with an audience. At the end of the day, we need three things to make a ‘live experience’ a super hit – the show script or what I call a ‘story’, the anchor aka ‘the story teller’, and the audience - and each must give something.
4. Tell us about your strengths that make you the most talked about emcee in the industry.
In my anchoring career that spans two years now, I am most proud of one constant feedback I receive from the client and it goes like this “we thought you were one of us” (with a smile across the face). These words echo through almost all of my work and it makes me content to know that the client and the audience instantly relate to me across different sizes and formats of shows I’ve been part of. This feeling makes the audience more receptive to any idea that I may suggest to them, any thought I may plant in their head during the show and therefore, meets the show’s objective.
Another strength that I particularly keep in mind every time I walk towards the stage is to be my absolute best self. Vulnerability is an artist’s biggest and greatest strength. It is the only bridge to build a connection. While most people think it requires bravery, in my experience it is freeing to be open to what you could say or do next on stage. In an industry, where every moment is recorded on paper and pre-empted, the only person that can be herself or himself, is really the anchor of the show. And I intend to use this opportunity to the fullest. Once my hair, makeup and outfit is on, all my guards are off. When I hit the stage, it’s only the audience and my real self and nothing can come between that.
Moments where I get my audience to sing, dance or do some of my signature energizers, or simply narrate a story and make them think, those have been the high points of my shows. This is where the audience experiences emotions like laughter, music and movement at its very fullest because It is organic and real. This is when they talk, they sing and they dance like no one’s watching and that means I can go back home and have a good night’s sleep.
Talk to us about the biggies of 2017. How do you feel about that year of your career?
2017 has been the landmark year of my professional life. Two years ago when I stood in a training room talking to people about behavioural skills, I’d have never imagined that I could make a career in the experiential industry‘at this pace’. This year of my life, the people of the live industry, clients that I’ve worked with repeatedly, have all made 2017 historical for me.
What excites me is that I’ve successfully anchored shows across genres and industries. Starting from important corporate events like the ICICI Foundation day tour, CHOICE Awards Malaysia, IDBI Galaxy Awards Singapore, Pantaloons’ Euphoria Tour 2017, Axis Bank’s Sales Conclave and multiple events for brands like GSK and GVK, to fashion events like the Lakme Fashion Week, ELLE Beauty Awards 2016 and 2017, The Grazia Beauty Weekend, Inorbit’s InTrends Weekend to most talked about industry summits & awards like The Red Hat Forum 2017, Outlook Leading Edge, MINT Fintech Forum, ET ‘India’s best companies to work with 2017’, Indian Digital Media Conference ‘Techmanch’ and the Trends Excellence awards for Architecture and Design, 2017 has been the jumpstart to my anchoring life.
I’ve also been invited to talk the red carpet at the Hindustan Times Most Stylish Awards 2016 and 2017 and The Raymond Crossword Book Awards most recently. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking at launches of brands and movies and I’ve also been roped in for several government and PSU events. While all of this and much more has put me on the map of India’s handpicked artists and the most chosen anchor, the highlight of 2017 was when I was invited to host the ‘Outlook Business Women of Worth Awards’, the red carpet of which I hosted exactly a year ago and that was what I call my ‘moment of glory’ and a testimony to the possibilities of this exciting career. And yet I believe that 2017 was a year to dream, 2018 is launch year and I’m ready.
It's all about the girl-of-the-moment ‘Zinia Fernandes’, the livewire of the ‘experiential’ world