A visionary from the very beginning, Siddhi Mehta, Associate Art Director at Condé Nast Traveller India, is an exemplary personality beloved in the industry for her captivating ideas, humble mentality, and a jolly, hard working ethic. She’s a ray of hope defining “trust your process”, and proof that you’re bound to reach great heights with a combination of passion and dedication.
Growing up in a family not exposed to the industry, fashion was never the plan for Siddhi Mehta. She was inclined towards creative projects – taking part in school and college extracurricular activities. School ended, and she decided that she wanted to pursue fashion designing. She did have difficulty convincing her parents to let her pursue fashion, but Siddhi mentions they were supportive regardless.
But Siddhi went on to experiment with everything that came her way. She graduated with a Bachelors in Mass Media with an advertising major and went on to receive her Masters in Communication Design from University of Southampton in the UK. She began her career with Indiantelevision.com as a graphic designer. They were the first ones to launch the Indian Telly Awards, and she worked for all the commercial, business as well as print aspects of the company. Whether it be graphic designing or event planning, Siddhi’s immensely curious and open nature led her to her next, incredibly exciting stage of her inspiring career.
Working at the cutting-edge of lifestyle content started four and a half years ago, when Siddhi joined Condé Nast Traveller as a senior graphic designer. She mentions how Condé Nast doesn’t restrict their job roles to only one sphere, so one gets to don plenty of hats. She’s been a designer across print, digital, video and events, as well as a stylist, producer, and a conceptualizer of large themes. Siddhi says the reason she’s the associate art director at Condé Nast Traveller India today is because of the plethora of opportunities her role brings. They push her to think harder and more creatively, and force her to explore a variety of media platforms, and figure how they intersect and relate to each other.
Designing the magazine through and through is her core responsibility – from the cover to the last page. A lot goes behind creating a cover: this means she needs to select the makeup artists, stylists, models, celebrities, handle the sourcing of fashion and accessories as well as props, and create the right ambience for the audience to be able to resonate with the cover at first glance. She adds that making sure every element of a shoot – from the clothing to the model to the lighting – blend well together is the most crucial part of that task.
One of her biggest achievements at Condé Nast Traveller has been the CNT x Sabyasachi Destination Wedding series that began in 2018 with the creation of a destination wedding at the Four Seasons Seychelles Private Island at Desroches. It was a colossal production involving tourism boards, airlines, hotels, producers, models, makeup and hair artists, in addition to designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee and cover star Manushi Chhillar. Siddhi found great inspiration working with Sabyasachi on shoot, and was able to do this once again in Sri Lanka. Her very first cover shoot at Condé Nast Traveller was with actor Aditi Rao Hydari in Goa, another moment in time she cherishes. She believes that the experience of getting to shoot with a celebrity at a beautiful location brings an added dose of creativity into the mix; travel in itself being such an inspiration to artists across industries and fields.
Whether it be designing 150 pages or staying up producing a shoot with people across the globe, in London or Singapore or New York, Siddhi expresses she’s never found herself in a zone where she didn’t like working. She has fantastic colleagues to work with, and everyone works on the same wavelength, united by the same goals, which truly brings out everything in the desired way. She’s also been to some of the most exotic as well as peaceful destinations throughout her job that have enhanced her personally. The growth that comes from collaborating with new people is also what she considers a pro to her job. Every day she learns something new from not just her team, but also collaborators and brands as well. The only drawbacks for Siddhi are commuting on the daily for over three hours, and that deadlines and schedules sometimes clash, which adds a lot of pressure to the day.
Having worked as both a producer and art director, Siddhi explains the two differ massively. When you are an art director, to understand your brand, the concept and the composition overall is crucial, but as a producer, the role is to put everything together from logistics to the talent as well as lead with a cohesive team. You’re often the mediator between the brand and the client, so the producer’s role is very crucial.
She thinks the only quality you require as an aspirant in the industry is the zest to learn. Having preconceived notions can be very difficult to move because they’re not going to take you where you want to go. If she didn’t have the passion and zest to achieve whatever was coming her way, she wouldn’t have become the person she has become today. Siddhi thinks putting in that extra effort from your end with a true heart is something that will pay off. Not immediately, but eventually.
Love what you do – that’s the artist’s evergreen motto. Pour your two hundred per cent in whatever it is you’re doing, and if a time ever comes where you feel like you’ve fallen out of love with your work, do not give up. Do not stop with the thought of hardships, keep giving your best shot at it.
Another thing she mentions is to not rush into getting a job right after you’ve completed your studies. She’s learnt this throughout her ten years of experience that it might not be the best thing. Take up internships or gain experience before going back to studying with your practical knowledge in the field. Siddhi also emphasizes on not comparing your life with that on social media. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, and find your strengths. If you think that you are unable to find your strengths, reach out and talk to people. She also asks aspirants to be wary of the thought you’ll be successful overnight. That’s not possible, so be ready to face any hardships that might be in your way.
Forever a creative soul with an undying passion, Siddhi is an awe-inspiring woman leading the industry today.