You know how Usher found Justin Bieber on Youtube? That’s exactly how I found Tanvie Hans on Instagram- with a stroke of luck and God smiling upon me -handing me my best project yet.
Meet Tanvie Hans. An ordinary Delhi girl with extraordinary talent. She says she’s always been a tomboy and naturally athletic, it’s no wonder that by the age of seven she had already found her love for football. At the age of twelve,heavily influenced by the Protagonist of Bend It Like Beckham – Jess, being Punjabi and not inclined towards the usual girly stuff and into football,Tanvie decided to pursue football professionally.
She’s gone on to play for the biggest international clubs – Fulham and Tottenham. Very few women get to pursue their dream and Tanvie sure has excelled in it. With all the international exposure she’s back in India because her ultimate goal is to represent India under the ‘tiranga’ and play for the country.
Apart from the flair she has on field she’s also quite an artistic soul herself. She writes, she dances – she believes that football is a large part of who she is but it hardly defines her. She’s a passionate person and whether she’s expressing it through her feet on the field, poetry on paper, dance on the floor or pictures on Instagram she’s conveying an intangible quantity in a tangible and memorable form. So there is no surprise that she readily agreed to let us style her for a personal project.
Here is Tanvie Hans, in action – off the field. She’s quite the model herself!
Here are some excerpts from our conversation with Tanvie Hans.
Let’s start with the basics. Tell us a bit about your family, where you grew up and how has your family impacted your life?
I was born in Jalandhar (Punjab) but grew up in Delhi, which is where I did all my schooling and college. My parents have been quite supportive. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the things I have, or been able to consider a career in the sport if it wasn’t for their support. I’ve been really lucky to have them. Of course, we have our days of differences, but they’ve mostly been greatly encouraging.
As a woman, what obstacles have you faced in reaching the heights that you have. Why do you think not many girls pursue sports as a career and how can we help them?
It feels unsteady. There is no fixed career graph. National tournaments are rare, and very short lived. Most of the calendar year looks action-less, but that’s where it becomes our duty to stay connected with the sport regardless and maybe make a difference in some way, so the future looks better for the budding talent. And the game is growing now in the country. Albeit mostly for men, but it will and is trickling through to the women slowly.
When I started playing, there were hardly any girls that played back then. I was lucky that my school Vasant Valley was the first school in Delhi to form a girls football team then, but we’d hardly get to play a couple of games in a year and would have travel to different cities to play them. But now, there is so much interest at school level itself, almost every major school has a girls team, and girls are really showing interest in the sport. There used to be a time when the pool of players was so small that everyone knew everyone so well, but that’s changed drastically since, and I don’t know so many of the young girls that play for the Delhi state team, and that’s amazing! But I feel more opportunities need to be provided for girls who want to play after college.
How is football different in UK and India?
The level of talent and passion is the same, only difference is the deep history of the sport in UK and as a result the structure around it is very conducive for the development of a player. In 3 years of football in UK i got to play 30months of football due to the league and club structure, whereas if I was in India for that period of time, i’d have been lucky to get 6 months of football in total! This makes a big difference in the experience level of players and ultimately the quality of the game and its following.
How are you different on and off the field?
Im fierce and competitive on the field, but actually quite a gentle and introverted person off it.
Who has been your mentor through your journey?
I’ve been really fortunate to have dedicated coaches through my journey from delhi to London, each of whom have been my mentors. Namely Chhibber Sir and Chauhan sir in Delhi and Jonny in London.
How does it feel to play with boys? Are you treated with respect or you have to change a lot of opinions and egos before you are treated equally? Do they treat you differently on the field?
I get a mix of the two. Some guys are extremely shy around me, while others are quite comfortable. I think for footballers, it’s definitely an attractive attribute, or so it seems from the vibes I’ve picked up.
Your drive to play for the country-does that stem from patriotism?
Yes. India is home for me. This is ultimatum where I want to make a difference on and off the field. Nothing will mean more to me than representing the ‘tiranga’ on an international stage.So that I can help make a difference on and off the field in any way that I can, so people one day can’t say THAT anymore- that there is no future here in India. I know how lucky I’ve been to get the exposure and experience I did in UK, and I feel it my responsibility to bring that back here.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Q1. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Q2. FRIENDS or HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER?
Q3.BLACK OR WHITE?
Q4. If you had a TV show on you, what would you call it?
“Taan can kick some balls!”
Q5. Are you single? (wink wink)
Football is my priority above relationships even! Anyone who gets close to me knows this. But my relationship status? Lets just say Its Complicated. Lol
Q6. Your favourite music artist?
Charlie Puth, Ed sheeren, Troye Sivan
Q7. One thing you would want to tell all young girls, aspiring to be like you.
Dont give up! You could be the change we need to see.
Q8. Favourite football player of all time?
Ronaldinho and Messi
Q9. One weird talent you have?
I can mirror write. (I can write backwards and you haveto read it in a mirror)
We could go and on about how much fun and an inspiration Tanvie Hans is but for now we shall stop here. A big shoutout to Tanvie for doing this- in you we’ve found a friend and a role model .
Efforts by : Aanchal Rai, Aryaman Pathania, Ruhella Naik, Vani Verma