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For the past 14 years, Sopidnapa Chumpani has been a familiar face in show business. We’ve seen her starring in soap operas and gracing billboards as one of SK-II’s brand ambassadors. But she’s more than just another television personality. In fact, the ravishing 40-year-old tells us that her childhood aspiration was to become a publicist—and she was determined to pursue that dream. She had enrolled herself into a business programme in Boston, merely because her mother wanted her to go into banking like her father, the late Amornpich Dabbaransi. But after an internship at a bank, she realised it wasn’t the career path for her. “It reaffirmed my passion for selling stories and experiences,” she laughs, “and so I transferred my degree to mass communication and majored in public relations.”

Returning home from Boston, Sopidnapa did stints in PR for luxury watch importer Pendulum, Seventeen magazine and Coach Thailand, but later put it all on hold to focus on her successful acting career. Today, the actress and television producer also wears an entrepreneurial hat—she’s a partner at Mugendai Restaurants Group and recently launched a beauty drink brand. “It may seem like a clich้ trend for those in the entertainment industry to establish a beauty or health supplement business. But the story behind Lavish came about when I was trying to restore my deteriorating health.”

Before turning 40, she noticed how things were starting to change. “There was suddenly a list of problems ranging from my hormones to digestive system. I was constantly sleep deprived, fatigued and stressed. It may have been because work had consumed me or because I was getting older, but I had to do something about it,” she shares. After exploring the many options, she was introduced to traditional Chinese herbs. “It was something I was completely foreign to, but I gave it a go after doing rigorous research,” she says. She tried funguses, roots and herbs, including cordyceps, ginseng, isaria tenuipes and hericium erinaceus, and quickly noticed a change. “It wasn’t long before I noticed I was sleeping better and feeling healthier—I felt more like myself once again,” she adds. Amazed at the positive changes she and the people around her were experiencing, she took the idea behind Lavish to labs and worked with doctors. “I saw so much business potential and decided to take it further.”

Work aside, she tells us that family always comes first. “It’s important for me to find spare time for my mother Pennipa Dabbaransi, my husband Thitinand and my son Athinand,” she shares. On her days off, the beautiful mother spends time with her loved ones. “Right now we’re a family of athletes. We have our own Fitbits and would compete to see who walks or exercises the most per day,” she smiles. “Exercising has certainly become another passion of mine. You focus on your own pain and compete with yourself. It is also the best way to let off steam and gain concentration.” Travelling is also a fixed family routine. “My son is now 10 years old, which makes it the perfect time for us to explore new places together.”

Her role model in life is her mother, who raised her single-handedly as her father had passed away when she was very young. “My mother did an exceptional job raising me. I always look up to her and see her as my inspiration,” she says. Asked when she plans to retire, her reply is instant. “Can I not? I don’t ever want to retire—I love working. My goal today is to build a small yet strong empire that my son can choose to be a part of, or not, in the future.” Ten years from now, Sopidnapa pictures herself as youthful as ever. “I will not get old,” she says boldly before laughing, “I want to be the cool and trendy mum that young people like to be around.”

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