MIAMI (CBSMiami) — In this edition of Women To Watch, Trend Tracker ® Tara Gilani salutes a woman of great resilience. The African-born, pint-sized powerhouse in the spotlight has been on an amazing journey her entire life. Gilani caught up with Nargis Kassamali in lovely Luminaire in Coral Gables.
Luminaire is a furniture and design resource extraordinaire. Founded in Miami 41 years ago, there are four exquisite showrooms: Coral Gables, Miami Design District, Doral and Chicago. Luminaire is stocked with divine creations by the world’s top designers including Patricia Urquiola, Campana Brothers, Ingo Mauer and Piero Lissoni. Creating life-enhancing environments is Luminaire’s mission. Leading the charge is co-owner Nargis Kassamali.
“We consider that we are a design store but more importantly that we want to change and improve people’s lives and the way they live,” said Nargis.
Gilani concurred,“Luminaire is extraordinary, a treasure trove of unique items for the home and heart and soul. Divine accessories too. I dream of filling my apartment with magical pieces from Luminaire.”
Nargis and her husband Nasir co-parent two sons and Luminaire.
“It’s actually my husband who is the visionary behind Luminaire,” said Kassamali.
“Oh don’t give him all the credit,” said Gilani. “This is Women To Watch,” laughed Gilani.
Nargis interrupted,“Ah but remember, I was there all the time, all 41 years, working with him.”
This dynamic duo is clearly brilliant, dedicated and passionate about work and life.
“I have great passion for this business. I work because I love what I do. It gives me a chance to meet the most amazing people in the world,” Nargis said.
Gilani had to ask, “How is it working with your husband, for 41 years, no less?”
Nargis was honest and thoughtful.
“It’s not easy at all. I wouldn’t do it again in my next lifetime. I can assure you that much. Because You are 24/7, 365 . There is no break. We don’t stop. Ever. Which is not good. But I have to say that we are very close friends. We are soul mates. We are partners, so we share everything,” said Nargis.
“Almost everything,” teased Gilani.
“That’s right,” laughed Nargis. “I have my days when he’s not allowed to come. Which is always on the weekend breakfast. No men allowed. That’s how I managed to stay sane.”
Nargis Kassamali is a warrior.
“I was 37 years old and I was handed a diagnosis for breast cancer. And, unfortunately or very fortunately, I went through it five times and I’ve survived it. It’s changed me as a person. What I thought was a death sentence turned out to be my greatest gift,” said Nargis.
Her gift to the Universe? Design events, with support from designers, staff and clients that Nargis has produced have raised over one million dollars for the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Why is Nargis a “Woman To Watch?” Because she gets it.
“I congratulate you Tara, because I think you’re promoting us, you’re promoting women. I think that that’s super important. As we know, we have not the same rights as men and we are not recognized and given enough recognition as men do and if we as women do not do it, who will?”
Gilani asked Nargis, “When are you your absolute happiest?
“It’s when I’m in the sea. I feel this infinite body of water, that I feel sometimes. I feel delirious in the water. It gives me this high as if I was on drugs. That’s what I like the most. I’m happiest there,” said Nargis.
Gilani asked Nargis to share her favorite quote.
“If the roots are strong, we need not to worry about the wind,” said Nargis.
Nargis Kassamali, from the heart, answered the Trend Tracker®’s round of questions: I am,”very proud to be a woman.” I want, “to see justice for all in this world and equality for all in this world.” I wont, “give up.” I will, “try and empower every other woman to be strong.” I wish, “I could retire (she giggled).”
“Perish the thought!” roared Gilani and so too this, “For all you are Nargis, and for all you do, thank you.”