Chat with Emilie Chetty ‘Be sure of what you believe in before you chase it!’ |27 May 2021
Today we meet a young and dynamic lady full of zeal, Emilie Chetty, for a chat. Although well known in Seychelles for her film ‘Desert Rose’, Emilie Chetty decided to invest in another business venture which is a diving company called ‘Atoll Divers Seychelles’. She is definitely one of those young Seychellois who is not scared of trying ‘new things’ and in this chat she encourages other young Seychellois entrepreneurs to do the same.
Seychelles NATION: Please tell our readers who is Emilie Chetty
Emilie Chetty: I am a creative person who likes to read, paint, sing, explore nature, make videos and learn about the psychology of people and how our brains work. But more than anything, I am human, just like everyone else.
Seychelles NATION: Tell us a little bit about your childhood and school years
Emilie Chetty: I grew up in Seychelles and attended both the Independent School and the International School. One of my favourite memories from school days was walking home from school. You capture different things with your eyes and mind when you’re not in a moving vehicle. I once even brought home a litter of four kittens that I found by the roadside which was a regular occurrence in my household. I also collected things along the way. As a child my favourite subject was Biology and I spent a lot of my time collecting insects and inspecting them under a microscope. Nature was my biggest fascination. I spent most of my time in the ocean like most of us island kids did.
Seychelles NATION: What did you study and why?
Emilie Chetty: I first studied music in London for a year. I have a Professional BTEC 5 qualification which means I am able to teach singing professionally. I recently released my first song in kreol and I am currently working on my album in between other things when I feel inspired. Music is my first passion but we have a complicated relationship. In fact for a long time it brought me torment from hearing it, but I’m glad that’s almost over. I’ve been making small movies since I was 10 years old and my love for filmmaking grew as I got older. While studying music in London I sometimes attended filmmaking seminars brought forth by The New York Film Academy. I was unsure as to whether I wanted to make films more, or somehow do both. Eventually while travelling I came across the same academy on the Gold Coast in Australia. Here I ended up studying Screen and Media for three years. It was one of the best experiences of my life and this was due to the way the academy worked. We were surrounded by film industry professionals, actors, directors and cinematographers. I remember my first day with the academy consisted of walking onto the actual production of the movie ‘Thor’. You can only imagine how fun things got after that. I learnt that writing scripts and directing films was my forte within the film world. I won several awards for my films and they premiered at Event Cinemas in Australia followed by a Seychelles premiere that I did for the local community at Deepam Cinema. We had a red carpet and props area and it was super cute. I wanted to give a true movie sensation to the theatre. To date I still have not released them online but I think that I will do soon.
Seychelles NATION: You have a media company; please tell us more about it
Emilie Chetty: My media company is called MiliMadnesse Entertainment. I decided to form this company because I wanted to work for myself and also enhance the film industry here in Seychelles at the same time. I started off doing some adverts and documentaries and now I make videos of all sorts. I’m also working internationally as a video journalist for ‘The Associated Press’ and ‘ARD’ television. The aim is to shoot a feature film here in Seychelles in the future, most likely a sequel to one of the short films that I did called ‘Desert Rose’.
Seychelles NATION: Now you have a diving company, what made you venture into this business?
Emilie Chetty: Forming a diving company happened because the ocean has always been one of my passions. In fact it is usually when I come out of the water that I come up with the best ideas. I love treasures, sea creatures, pirates and ships. When the idea was born, it was so that I could also make underwater documentaries with the ease of having an income and doing things that I love at the same time. Eventually it developed into a whole other adventure and I also met someone along the way with a knowledge of the diving world far greater than I could have imagined and he taught me so much and inspired me in so many ways to the point that I am where I am now which is the opening of a new diving company, ‘Atoll Divers Seychelles’.
The company will aim to enhance Freediving in Seychelles (which is a form of underwater diving that relies on breath-holding until resurfacing rather than the use of breathing apparatus such as scuba diving). I realised that Seychelles does not really have a proper dive community. We simply go on dive excursions and enjoy the ocean, but a true diving community interacts and has a whole different way of life. Especially with Freediving! It is more than just a sport. We will also provide scuba diving services with new dive sites that we have explored and try to change things up in that aspect as well. I would love to really highlight Seychelles in the world’s books as the place to dive and to live.
Seychelles NATION: How challenging is it for you as a young person to manage two companies during a pandemic
Emilie Chetty: Managing companies during the pandemic has come with its expected difficulties but it’s going to take more than a pandemic to stop me from doing what I believe in. Fortunately for me the pandemic has eased me into the life I want to live, which is quiet and work focused and enjoying the little things as opposed to my life as a teenager.
Seychelles NATION: Do you have a support system to help you in both companies?
Emilie Chetty: My biggest support is my partner. He helps me in every way to find my own inner strength which for a little while I had honestly lost. I am so grateful to him and how patient he is and together we are invincible. I am also always supported by my parents which is a huge blessing. They have always allowed me to let my spirit run free and find its own way, well most of the time anyway.. ha!ha!
Seychelles NATION: Many young Seychellois complain about the ease of doing business in Seychelles, did you also experience that?
Emilie Chetty: I know that people complain about starting up a business in Seychelles; however my experience was far from it. It was almost exhilarating having to run after people to get things done because it just means that you’re one step closer to your dream. You just have to place your priorities right and realise that no one is going to be able to do this for you. Who else better than yourself to work for what you believe in? But also keep in mind to be sure of what you believe in before you chase it. This is where I believe things go wrong in Seychelles. People start out doing things that their mind and body aren’t truly calling for and they don’t always succeed because they don’t have their gut pushing them for it. They then perhaps blame it on the system which whether or not is well organised shouldn’t be the biggest issue. I will call anyone at late hours and over and over if it means getting closer to what I’m working for. I will go to people’s office doors if they don’t answer my calls, within limit of course. Sure enough there were days where I felt thoroughly frustrated by certain things but not once did I not find a way to overcome it quickly.
Seychelles NATION: What advice would you give to young Seychellois in terms of having their own business and maintain it?
Emilie Chetty: Advice that I would give to young Seychellois in terms of having their own business is to remember that each day is a new day to learn. A new day to do things better and to not repeat past mistakes. Remember to be kind and realise that everyone is human and going through their own struggles. If someone is rude to you try to see past it and understand that no one is horrible to someone unless they suffer in some way or another inside and if someone is nice to you be sure never to forget it and show appreciation.
Seychelles NATION: What next for you?
Emilie Chetty: I do not know what is next for me and I never do. All I know is that I would like to focus on the life I have built now and to succeed at all I have worked for. I would like to contribute to the development of Seychelles in the dive industry and in the film industry. In the near future I would like to write a book and actually complete it as I’ve started many but it never felt that it was the right time. All I know is that this is just the beginning and that I can’t wait for what the future holds.