Nawaz Modi Singhania is an Indian businesswoman, fitness trainer, motivational speaker, spiritualist, artist, art curator, and socialite. She is the founder of Body Art Fitness centers. She is the estranged wife of Raymond Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Gautam Singhania. In 2023, she made headlines for demanding 75% of Gautam’s alleged $1.4 billion net worth in a family settlement following their divorce.
Nawaz Gautam Hari Singhania Zauba Corp was born in 1970 (age 53 years; as of 2023) in Mumbai. She was born weak, underweight, and pale. The umbilical cord went around her neck four times and almost choked her. In fact, at birth, she was thought to be stillborn. Global India Nawaz attended preschool at the New Activity School at Hughes Road, Mumbai. Thereafter, from Class 1 to 10, she studied at the Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai. In an interview, she revealed that she was tiny, petite, and weak during her early childhood. Recalling her school days, she said,
In school, when we would line up in front of the physical education teacher to do summersaults and my turn came, the teacher would just look at me, shake his head, roll his eyes and say, ‘Oh never mind. Just go!”
Such experiences motivated her to concentrate on her health and fitness during her formative years. She pursued her junior college and Bachelor of Arts at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Global India You & I Magazine She ventured into the fitness field after her third-year exams. Talking about the onset of her journey in the fitness field, in an interview, she said,
I had decided by the last year of my college that I wanted to be in the fitness industry. I was a member at an aerobics class here in Mumbai, and felt strongly that being in fitness is what I wanted to do going forward. Since I wanted to have my own centre, right after my T.Y.B.A. exams I went to the US, where I trained, got certified and taught to gain experience.”
She earned a certification in fitness training at Fitness Professional at the American Council of Exercise (ACE) and the International Dance Exercise Association (IDEA). Then, she came back to India and started Body Art Fitness centres in 1991. Simultaneously, she enrolled in Government Law College, Mumbai and earned a LLB degree. You & I Magazine Though a law graduate, she never practised as a lawyer.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Weight (approx.): 55 kg
Hair Colour: Dark Brown
Eye Colour: Black
Body Measurements (approx.): 34-30-36
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Nadar Modi, is a well-known lawyer. Her mother is deceased. Nawaz’s parents separated when she was 10 years old. She is the middle kid, who has an elder and a younger brother, both lawyers. Her elder brother, Pesi Modi, served as a Senior Counsel at the Bombay High Court.
Husband & Children
In February 1999, after eight years of courtship, Nawaz Modi got married to the industrialist Gautam Singhania at JK House at Breach Candy. Gautam is the chairman and managing director of the Raymond Group, the world’s largest producer of suiting fabric. Together, they have two daughters, Niharika (born in 2005) and Nisa (born in 2013). On 13 November 2023, after being together for 32 years, Singhania announced separation from Nawaz on X (formerly Twitter), saying the two have decided to pursue different paths
Separation from Gautam Singhania
Gautam Singhania’s post announcing his separation from Nawaz on X (formerly Twitter) on 13 November 2023 read,
This Diwali is not going to be the same as many in the past. It is my belief that Nawaz and I will pursue different paths from here on…32 years of being together as a couple, growing as parents and always being a strength of each other… we traversed with commitment, resolve, faith as along came the two most beautiful additions in our lives…As I reflect over the unfortunate developments in the recent past, there has been a lot of unsubstantiated rumor-mongering, and gossip surrounding our lives fanned by ‘not so well-wishers’…I am parting ways with her while we continue to do what is best for our two precious diamonds Niharika and Nisa.”
After Singhania announced his separation from Nawaz, she shared a video on social media in which she was seen participating in a Diwali puja with her in-laws at their apartment. In the caption, she said that she was blessed to have her in-laws’ support. The Diwali party was hosted at JK Gram, which is a property of Gautam Singhania, in Thane. Before that, a video surfaced on social media in which Nawaz claimed that she was prevented from attending her husband’s Diwali celebration. In the video, Nawaz, along with another woman, can be seen standing at the entrance, asserting that despite having an invitation to the event, she was stopped by the security guards. Business Today She gained media attention for demanding 75% of Raymond Gourp’s Rs 11,000 crore empire in a family settlement following their divorce. It was reported that Gautam recommended creating a family trust and transferring the family’s assets to it, with him serving as the only managing trustee. Around the same time, it was reported that Gautam used to abuse Nawaz and their minor daughter. A source close to Nawaz said that Gautam cracked her S3 (sacrum, a wedge-shaped bone in the back of the pelvis between the hip bones) following which she was admitted to the Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre. Allegedly, she filed an NC (non-cognizable) three times, but Gautam never let the police in his home. It was Ambanis who came to their rescue. Deccan Chronicle The Source also talked about Nawaz’s in-laws, and said,
In-laws have yet to accept that their son can do something like this. He has a history of doing things like this. Everyone knows he had a falling out with his father. That’s just how he is. They are looking into all legal alternatives for fair settlements, and we know it’ll take some time.”
On 22 November 2023, Nawaz confirmed that Gautam had assaulted her and kicked her out of the company. In an exclusive interview, she confessed that the first incident happened on the morning of 10 September 2023, after his birthday party which was on the 9th. Gautam beat up, smashed up, kicked, and punched Nawaz and their minor daughter Niharika for around 15 minutes and then suddenly left the scene of the attack. While sharing the horrific incident, in the interview, she said,
I have had two hernia surgeries – one was during the time of my pregnancy and the other was because I had an ectopic pregnancy and had a fallopian tube removed, which resulted in another hernia. He knew that, and still flung me around the room several times. He was just going all out for Niharika and me, and we were just trying to protect each other.”
When asked what triggered the assault, Nawaz replied that the fight started because he wanted to use her bathroom. She said that the fight wasn’t actually about the bathroom but power and control. She said,
He wanted to use my bathroom when I was using it. Now, he has two other bathrooms which are also touching our bedroom. Three more (bathrooms are) on the same floor and a 39-storey tower full of bathrooms. It was just about power and control.”
She revealed that Gautam was an avid fan of businessman Atulya Mafatlal, who was infamous for domestic violence against his wife Payal Mafatlal. Nawaz said that Gautam wanted to follow his idol in every way, which prompted him to beat Nawaz just like Atulya beat his wife Payal. Explaining the same, she said,
He has always thought Atulya Mafatlal (a businessman who passed away last year) to be a superhero. What Atulya did to his wife, how he threw his wife Payal Mafatlal out on the road when she went shopping. He had infamously locked her out of their bungalow. Nobody took her call, and no staff responded to her messages – nothing, nothing. She couldn’t see her children; she couldn’t get her clothes. So Gautam thinks, wow what a man! I mean ‘what power, what control, what strength…what a superhuman! It’s something he’s been wanting to do to me for a long time which I was aware of. “
Just like the source had reported, Ambanis came to Nawaz’s rescue and helped her register a Non-Cognizable Offense report. Nawaz also revealed that she did not convert the NC into an FIR because domestic violence was a non-bailable offence with three years of rigorous imprisonment and hard labour. She said this way she was “trying to save the unsavable hoping he would do the right thing.” Business Today
As a Fitness Trainer
Nawaz Modi founded the Body Art Fitness centres in 1991 as an aerobic studio. She started the fitness centre in the hall of her family home, while her own place was being renovated on another floor in the same building. The business soon expanded into a second location, followed by a third and fourth. In 1998, she started a gym and shortly after that, she started the first full-fledged equipment-based Pilates studio in India. She is the proud pioneer of many firsts in the fitness space in India. In addition to the equipment-based Pilates, she started Gyrotonics, Gyrokinesis, anti-ageing facial fitness workouts, choreographed trampoline workouts, Callanetics, etc. She specialises in power yoga Soon, she opened another centre with a wider range of offerings than the first centre, such as an aqua aerobics pool and an indoor biking studio.
Eventually, she introduced 25 different types of training methods, including box aerobics, cardio-dance, body sculpting, slide training, ballet barre workouts etc. In 2016, she launched an aerial arts studio which offers TRX training, anti-gravity training, suspension fitness, and aerial yoga. She has closely worked with numerous notable personalities such as Atul Atul and Gayatri Ruia, Harsha Bhogle, Dr Swati Piramal, Elina Meswani and Bijal Meswani.
As an Artist and Art Curator
Although Singhania has been a creative person from the beginning, she discovered her potential as a painter after the birth of her first daughter in 2005. She had a lot of time on her hands and used to spend it indoors. At that time, she started experimenting with canvases and different mediums of art. The first painting she made was a canvas of a woman meditating in a lake. She organised her first solo exhibition in 2008. She is known for creating stunning portraits of human anatomy. In an interview, she talked about her work and said,
I guess it syncs with my passion for fitness, health and beauty. I’m also endlessly fascinated with faces, and most of my work revolves around these subjects. My collection also usually has art work of human forms.”
In 2014, she held a preview for her solo art exhibition titled Portrait Study of Well-Known Personalities at the Raymond Flagship Store, Warden Road, South Mumbai. Her artwork consisted of portraits of renowned Hollywood personalities like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, Beyonce, Michael Jackson, David Beckham, Maradona, Roger Federer, Princess Diana, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey.
She is also an art curator. One of her favourite art picks is a Prosonto Roy watercolour painting from his Hiroshima series. In 2016, Jewellery designer Poonam Soni, in collaboration with Nawaz Modi Singhania launched a collection of cuffs at the former’s flagship store in Bandra, Mumbai.
In 1997, Nawaz took on the directorship of two companies Apex Professional and Supreme Professional. In 2004, she became the director of three companies Royal Professional, Prospect Professional, and Standard Professional. She became a director of Body Basic Health Care Private Limited on 9 June 2007. She became a director on the board of Raymond Ltd on 30 April 2014. In 2015, she took on the directorship of J K Investors (Bombay), and in the following year, she became a director of Smart Advisory And Finserve Private Limited. Nawaz is also a columnist and has appeared on fitness shows as a judge and trainer. She was a Judge on the panel of the Savvy Mrs India 2019 Pageant. In 2020, she was appointed as a Jury Member for the Times She Unlimited Entrepreneurs Award 2020 pan India in the Fitness & Wellness Category. She is on the Sulochanadevi Singhania School Board of Governors and on the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Committee. In 2023, she published the book Pause, Rewind: Natural Anti-Ageing Techniques.
She regularly writes for many publications – print media (magazines & newspapers) and social media publications.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Asia Spa Award 2016-17 in the ‘Wellness’ category
- Felicitated as Savvy’s Magazine’s Cover Girl of 2017
- Recognised as Fitness Icon at Iconic Women of Navabharat 2018 Awards
- Asia Spa 2018 Award in the “Fit & Fabulous” category
- PeakLife Women Inspire Awards – presented by Audi on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2019
- Gara Designer(s): Naju Daver, Rayomand Maneckshaw
- Painter(s): Raja Ravi Varma, Bikash Bhattacharjee, Bose Krishnamachari, Prosanto Roy
- Works of Art: Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo at the Louvre, Paris; masterpieces by Michelangelo, Botticelli and Raphael at the Uffizi, Florence; the Night Watch by Rembrandt in Amsterdam; Water Lilies by Claude Monet and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican
- Holiday Destination: Bali
- Cartoon Character: Dr. Seuss
- She is a travel enthusiast and loves to visit art galleries across the world.