Sonia Samtani, Image Consultant
Young Post: How did you become an image consultant?
Samtani: After completing my university studies in communication in 2003, I worked in the marketing field. In 2005, I enrolled in image consulting courses. I was intrigued by the concept that people can be transformed by teaching them how to improve their appearance and communication skills.
After completing the programmes, I set up my own company, Sonia Samtani Consulting, in 2006.
YP: What are your responsibilities?
Samtani: I conduct corporate training, workshops and private consultations. I would first ask my clients to complete a questionnaire on the image they would like to project. Some might want to look more elegant and feminine, while others might seek a more confident and dynamic image.
My coaching involves both physical and mental self-enhancement sessions. Based on my clients' physical attributes like body shape and skin colour, I'll try to bring out the best in them.
Consultations with my makeup artist and hairstylist will also be arranged. I help my clients overcome their psychological barriers and pave the way to success.
YP: What's the cost?
Samtani: The package usually consists of five, one-hour sessions. Each session costs HK$900.
YP: What's the makeup of your clientele?
Samtani: My clientele includes all kinds of people, both locals and expatriates. Most people are facing important changes in their lives. Some may be getting married and hoping to present a new image at the wedding.
Then there are recent divorcees as well as tai tais who want to polish up their image. Students also seek my advice on interview techniques.
YP: Do you have any male clients?
Samtani: Yes. Most of them are businessmen who want to boost their self-esteem. Some clients are single and they are looking for a relationship. They will ask me various things, such as how women think and how men should behave when they are with the opposite sex.
YP: What are the secrets to being attractive?
Samtani: Both your physical appearance and mental well-being are important. Physical attributes like your voice and the way you walk can play a part in how others see you. Usually, self-confident people are charming. So always believe in yourself and have a positive attitude.
YP: What's your opinion about the image consulting industry in Hong Kong?
Samtani: It's a relatively new industry and some people have misconceptions about it. They think only those who lack confidence would seek help from an image consultant. They are wrong because image consulting is mostly about self-enhancement.
YP: What are your future plans?
Samtani: I'm writing a book - Miracle of Becoming a Complete Woman - which will be published this year.
I'm also planning to do some voluntary work, helping cancer-stricken women regain their self-esteem.
2003: Graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in communication
2003-2005: Worked in the field of marketing and self-development
2005: Completed courses in image consulting in Singapore and London
2006: Set up her own company, Sonia Samtani Consulting
Course: Professional Diploma in Fashion and Image Design
Duration: six months (6-9 hours per week)
Characteristics: The courses are conducted by renowned makeup artists and hairstylists. Both theoretical and practical skills in image consulting are covered. Courses include basic fashion design concepts, hairstyling and branding.
Course: Fashion and Image Design
School: VTC School of Business and Information Systems
Duration: 60 hours
Characteristics: Students learn about basic fashion and image design principles.
Enquiries: http://www.vtc.edu.hk/sbi/eng/YJ_courses.html 
Graduates can work as image consultants, advising clients on their physical appearance and presentation. They can also help clients plan special occasions or organise their daily activities. Image consulting includes positions like makeup artist, hairstylist and fashion designer. Graduates may also work as wedding, weight-loss or wardrobe consultants. Or they could set up their own company because there is a growing demand for image consulting services.