EP #114: Sumu Sathi – Award-Winning Social Advocate, Plus Size Model & Actor

Sumu Sathi (@sumusathi) is an award winning social advocate, plus size model & actor. She is a Labour Relations Specialist in the Labour Movement and was previously the Chair at CUPE905, representing almost 4,000 public servants. She’s been in the media & community leadership space for almost 20 years. Her community work has been featured in places like Toronto.com, NOW Toronto & the Toronto Star. In 2017, she was chosen to be part of post-war socioeconomic development work in Sri Lanka as a Leadership facilitator. She is the 2023 recipient of the Inclusion Excellence Award from University of Toronto (@uoft). Sumu has acted in two Toronto based films and appears on CityTV as a plus model. She believes in promoting body positivity and advocating for representation for people of colour in arts, fashion and media spaces.

She joins Ara on this week’s episode of #TheTamilCreator to discuss being exposed to gang violence while growing up in Scarborough, being named a recipient of the 2023 Inclusive Excellence Award from U of T, spending over $50K of her money to make a film about women in Sri Lanka & the controversy around that, initially not wanting to take up a Chair position for CUPE 905, why she’s a big believer of therapy, overcoming eating disorders, how the Tamil community’s perception (judging people based on skin colour and size) is rooted in colonialism, and so much more.

Follow Sumu:
– LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/sumusathi/)
– Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/sumusathi/)

TAKE THE QUIZ – “What Type of Creator Are You?”**



00:19 – Ara introduces this week’s guest, Sumu Sathi
01:57 – Moving to Canada at 14 and her early passion for art
05:50 – Growing up and being exposed to gang violence in Scarborough
09:54 – Being the first woman of colour to take a Chair position with CUPE 905
14:01 – Change she has made as a labour movement leader and what she’s learned
17:40 – The power dynamic involved with sexual violence in the work place
19:21 – Acting in an award-winning film; how she got her opportunities
24:47 – Being a plus-size model; dropping out of UofT due to hyperthyroidism and more
31:47 – Always being compared to the past version of yourself; code switching
35:23 – Her yet to be released film, Daughters of Eelam; spending over $50,000 to make it
39:55 – Being named a recipient of the 2023 Inclusive Excellence Award
41:57 – Working on multiple careers; feeling blessed
46:15 – Advice for her 16-year-old self; handling criticism and managing emotions
49:35 – The personal legacy she wants to be remembered for by friends and family
50:50 – Making the best of bad situations; dire situations vs. first-world problems
57:01 – The Wrap Up

Intro Music

Produced And Mixed By:
– The Tamil Creator
– Yanchan

Written By:
– Aravinthan Ehamparam
– Yanchan Rajmohan