Sonya and Chris’ Platinum Love Story
Sonya Sandiavo, a costume designer and stylist, and Chris Blair Vincent, an artist and entrepreneur first met at their neighbor’s wedding but it was at Sonya’s birthday party where sparks flew between the duo. Sonya shares, “I had just returned from a trip with my friends and was staying with them in Delhi. Coincidentally, my birthday was around the same time and my friends threw me a surprise party to which Chris was also invited. We hit it off right away at the party. But we took out time to get to know each other better since this was my second shot at love with Chris who is eight years younger than me. We dated for four years and throughout our relationship, we’ve been transparent with each other about how we felt at any given point. Chris understood this and gave me all the time I needed to take the slow road to love.”
An engineer by qualification, Chris has always been a passionate artist who nurtured a dream of opening his own art studio. But his family wanted him to migrate to Canada to pursue a steady career. Chris shares, “After completing my engineering degree, I was keen on pursuing art which I’ve always loved. But making a career in the world of art seemed like a difficult goal to achieve back then. Plus, my family wanted me to migrate to Canada and opt for a secure but predictable career path. It’s not easy to convince those around us that our passions are not just daydreams – they are very real, very tangible pursuits that, for whatever reason, attract us. And we believe we can bring them to life. So I took the middle ground and settled for a job as a UI/UX designer hoping it would offer me some creative outlet and also the financial stability of a nine to five job. Sonya could sense that I wasn’t happy with my job but I was swamped with self-doubts as I had no clear plan. But she encouraged me to take the leap! When I told her that I’ve always wanted to open my own art studio, she was thrilled. She appreciated my skills as an artist and she gave me courage by saying, ‘What do you have to lose, Chris? Even if it’s unsuccessful, it’s an experience you can learn from!”
“After I took the first leap of quitting my job, I was in a state of limbo for a while as I was unemployed and I had to figure out how to pursue art and create a business around it. At that time, Sonya was the one working but not once, did she pressurize me with any expectations. In fact, she stepped up and gave me the space to enjoy my art, develop my niche, understand the market, and even offered helpful insights when it came to making business plans. Of course, just like any other small business owner, there were a host of challenges and setbacks. Sonya was there with me through it all. I knew that I could openly share my fears and concerns with her, and she would reassure me by saying, ‘This is just a phase, Chris. Give it time and everything will turn out to be okay.’ It is Sonya’s constant faith in my abilities and her encouragement that bolstered me to chase my dreams. Even today, when work gets the best of me or if the business goes through a rough patch, Sonya keeps my spirits high by accompanying me on short vacations and urging me to explore new art forms to sharpen my skills. She even extends her reassuring presence in my art studio where she learns new art forms with me!”
As equal partners who are flexible with their roles and make each other feel supported when uncertainty comes knocking on their doors, Sonya and Chris have utmost trust and confidence in each other. Sonya shares, “For us, the most important thing is having each other’s back no matter what. When Chris was in the process of kickstarting his venture, I had absolutely no hesitation in stepping up. And, during the lockdown, it was the other way around as Chris took charge of the finances as my work came to a halt while his business flourished. There are no fixed roles in our relationship. Both of us work in tandem be it managing household tasks or making important decisions.” Chris adds, “We’ve never thought twice about shuffling roles. There are times when I am free and Sonya is busy with her shoots. So I take a lead with household responsibilities, explore new art mediums, learn new techniques, and draft plans for the next phase of my work.”
Believing in their dreams, and making equal efforts to make them come true, Sonya and Chris have built a rare bond as equals.
Photos Courtesy: Triangle Stories