In her thirties, Maksuda Akhter Prioty is a Bangladesh-born Irish pilot, model, actress, politician, social reformer and writer.
When Prioty was asked who inspired her, she said it was her mother. She thanked her mother for teaching her what it means to be who she is today. Prioty's mother sent her to Europe for a better education while she was still at school. In Ireland, she earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and began her banking career.
Prioty's career changed dramatically when she had to take a break to see her ailing mother in Bangladesh. After her mother died, she returned to Ireland. However, it seemed like a thin chance to be in the same sector after being caught up in the European economic crisis. She moved on and began taking flight lessons.
Prioty did not stop there. In 2014, she became Ms Ireland. Later she starred in two films directed by Ciaran Davies and wrote two books: Priontyr Ayna (autobiography) and Chhobol. Prioty recently joined Fine Gael, the ruling party of the Republic of Ireland, to become a professional politician.
The diverse personality recently gave an interview to The Business Standard's Farzana Farid.
TBS: What inspired you to choose a career path in aviation?
MAP: I wanted to do something very challenging and push the boundaries of my comfort zone, hence I decided to fly.
TBS: What do you love about your work?
MAP: The engine is the heart of an aircraft, but as they say, the pilot is its soul. I love to be the soul.
TBS: What was your most memorable flight?
MAP: I remember being a trainee pilot. I was on a take-off run. And just as the plane took off, the door opened. At that moment I felt the world was over and the plane would fall on the ground. But I kept the flight going to 4,000 feet above the ground until I could close the door. I was still panicked after the flight was over.
TBS: What is the best piece of flying advice given to you?
MAP: The first advice and rule was, "Aviate, navigate, and then communicate."
TBS: As a woman, what are the challenges you face in the aviation sector?
MAP: Aviation is a tough industry for women as people think that a pretty face has no brain. Some people will always judge me or find my fault. As a woman, I must be very careful and prove my duty.
TBS: Who is your aviation hero?
MAP: Amelia Earhart is my role model. She was the first pilot to fly the Atlantic alone. It is her ambition and achievement as a woman that encourages me.
TBS: You wear many hats. What role are you most proud of?
MAP: I cannot set myself apart from any of them. Each one identifies with a part of who I am and I'm proud of each.
Also, I have worked very hard to achieve each of these individual identities. There are invisible obstacles to conquer when you're an immigrant, too, and that drives me to focus on my vision to be the best I think I can be.
TBS: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue an aviation career?
MAP: The inspiration you seek is within you. Just keep quiet and then listen to your dream and realise it. Trust your skills and talents. Great pilots are made, they are not born.
TBS: Anything else to say to the struggling young women in Bangladesh?
MAP: We can get up from anything. We can completely recreate ourselves. Nothing is constant. We are not stuck. We have choices. We can think of new thoughts. We can learn something new. We need to create new habits. All that matters is to make the decision now, and never look back. Maksuda Prioty lives in Ireland. Speaking of her dream flight, she said, "Someday I would fly over Bangladesh, because that's where my soul soars."