Anisha Oberoi is a sustainability advocate, a food and travel writer, a gastro-gladiator, a skincare junkie, and a Star Wars fan, among other things. A cancer survivor, who works actively with hospitals to raise cancer awareness, Anisha believes in speaking her truth and self-love. Read ahead as we talk to Anisha about her work, her battle with cancer, and herpositive outlook on life.
You were a part of the founding team that launched Amazon Fashion in India and head of video and digital content and social media for the region. How was the experience of being a part of something so big?
You feel quite small and intimidated in the beginning. You may have been a superstar in your previous jobs, but at Amazon, you’re surrounded by a veritable horde of more qualified people. The experience teaches you humility and identifies blind spots that help challenge you to the core and change the perception you have of yourself. It helps you leverage your strengths, build new skills, and engage across cultures and counterparts. We braided the rope with the same speed, intensity, and ingenuity as we climbed it. It was something that I look back on quite fondly – it anchored my resume and built my professional expertise.
What made you decide to found The Secret Skin?
Back when I was fighting my battle with Breast Carcinoma, I did not have the in-depth knowledge of clean skincare, nor access to natural, organic and toxin-free products. Many known brands either didn’t ship to India or if they did, were cost-prohibitive to import. Given the toxicity of the medication I was consuming daily to combat the disease, I suffered low self-esteem at the drastic change of my appearance, unable to use synthetic products as camouflage. My desperation became my inspiration – I knew that one day I would do something entrepreneurial around beauty and wellness so that I could make a difference to someone like me.
Secret Skin is not a vegan lifestyle; it’s a revolution of mindfulness aimed at converting the average customer into a conscious consumer, motivated more by core values than marketing claims.
How can skincare be made more sustainable?
Sustainability practices need to occur across the flywheel of a business: packaging, sourcing, shipping, etc., making it safe to use for both the people and the planet. For a brand to successfully claim this, apart from using natural ingredients without synthetic preservatives, they are expected to have high product integrity and customer transparency. It also matters whether the ingredients are ethically sourced, responsibly formulated and whether the brands give back to the community and are cruelty-free.
What are the few products that the Secret Skin will be offering?
We have a top to toe offering that is mostly gender-neutral (except for shaving products for men). Our value proposition is a ‘Clean World of Beauty,’ i.e., conscious brands curated from around the world. We have brands from England, USA, India, South Africa and also UAE in keeping with our promise to support local small businesses, across all skincare categories of Bath & Body, Face, Vegan Nailcolors and Mens’ Grooming. Makeup is coming soon!
How has your outlook on your cancer, life, and body changed post-diagnosis?
This month is special. I hit ten years of being in remission from cancer, coinciding with the launch of Secret Skin which is a passion project that I hope will have an enduring legacy. In this decade, I’ve earned an MBA, moved four countries, found the love of my life, and collected a tribe of incredible friends, supporters, mentors, and cheerleaders along the way. I think my relationship with myself underwent a significant change – I now have more appreciation for myself, my scars, and vulnerability. There is a plan. The universe always looks out for us.
How do you connect a healthy lifestyle, diet, and exercise with cancer prevention?
It’s all interlinked. Right at the beginning, we should make young adults aware of all the harmful effects of the toxic chemicals that we unknowingly ingest or apply. Nutrition, sleep, your dialogues with your inner self, and exercise – all play a part in ensuring that your immunity is high, and all your elements are in balance. I firmly believe that cancer can also occur when you haven’t dealt with an excruciatingly painful issue, and chosen to strangle/submerge it, instead of staring it hard in the face with courage. Meditation and therapy will help fortify you too.
What is one motto you live by?
Never take no for an answer. – as told to Devanshi