Hounsh Munshi, 14, who was born in Bangkok, Thailand, currently represents India on the Junior Grand Prix circuit. Last season, she finished 28th at the Junior Grand Prix in Chemnitz, Germany, her first international. She later placed 55th at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2008.
“I was really lucky to go there,” she admitted. “It’s great just to be able to come and watch the other good skaters and see how they do things. The international exposure helps me to learn about the stress of competing.”
This season, Munshi placed 25th in her first event, the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Mexico City.
Munshi’s parents are from India and moved to Thailand after her older sister was born. After Munshi’s birth, the family moved to Sydney, Australia for two years and then to the United States, where the family currently resides. “I’m an Indian citizen,” she said, “but I might try to get dual citizenship in the U. S. later.”
“I contacted the Indian federation and they invited me to do the Junior Grand Prix,” Munshi noted. “Before that, I had just done some small competitions while training in the United States. The Junior Grand Prixs were a completely different universe. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. A few years ago, I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like.”
“I didn’t start skating until I was nine,” Munshi stated. “When I was in first grade, I was terrified of the ice and said I’d never go skating, but my older sister started skating and I tried it.”
Munshi only does double jumps at present. “I worked on the double lutz and double axel this summer,” she said. “It’s going quite well. I’m also working on learning some more combinations this summer. I am hoping to have one or two triples by January.” So far, the flip is her favorite jump.
Tiffany Chin, the 1985 and 1986 world bronze medalist, coached Munshi for four years until this summer. “I have moved to Texas now and am training with Shanyn Vallon, Kitty Carruthers Conrad and B. L. Wylie,” Munshi noted. “I train at the Sugarland Ice and Sports Center, one and a half hours in the morning and one and a half hours in the afternoon five days a week.” She also does an hour to an hour and a half of off ice training every day. That includes yoga, which she has been doing since she was six.
Alex Chang, who was Munshi’s first coach, choreographed her 2007-08 programs using “Slavonic Dances” by Yo-Yo Ma for the short and “Bolero” by The Planets for the long. “Both of the programs were new,” Munshi stated. I had ‘Bolero’ as a pre-preliminary girl and it suited me so I wanted to use it again.”
She is using “Bolero” again this season, but has changed her short to “Merry Christmas Mister Lawrence” by Riyuchi Sakamoto. “Alex Chang choreographed my programs before I left California,” Munshi said.
“I’d like to skate to some Bollywood music sometime,” she added. “Some of it is really good to skate to because it’s artistic and has good rhythm. Sometimes I play it on the ice by myself. My sister and I go to cultural gatherings and do Indian dances to Bollywood music.”
Off ice, she likes to sing with her sister and help her edit videos. She likes to watch American Idol and says she is a big fan of movies. “I like comedy movies, not horror,” she said. “I’m a big chicken. I like inspirational sports movies and other intelligent movies.” She plays the piano and also likes to paint people and landscapes. “I like sunsets on the beach and rivers,” she said. “I like to experiment a lot with colors. I learn more every time I pick up a brush.”
Munshi is in the tenth grade in high school. “I’ve been home schooled for the last year, but I’ll be attending high school,” she said. “I love science. That’s my favorite subject. And I enjoy learning Japanese. Their culture is so rich.” She is considering architecture as a university career. “I like watching home improvement shows and that sort of thing on television,” she noted.