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Award-winning humanitarian alum jets in for campus visit

Deana is stood looking up at her campaign placed on the front of the University's building

Award-winning humanitarian alum jets in for campus visit

Deana Uppal – filmmaker, director, producer, model, actress, philanthropist and entrepreneur – is an active supporter of the university’s success. She met with Vice-Chancellor Ebrahim Adia, had a press photoshoot, and was then thrilled to see her feature displays in the institution’s alumni marketing campaign, both on campus and around the city of Wolverhampton.

The campaign raises the profile of the university by showcasing six accomplished alumni from across the world, showing the range of exciting careers and lifestyles that a University of Wolverhampton qualification can lead to.

Deana, who won a Prime Minister’s Point of Light Award in 2023, said: “To see my photo across my hometown and on billboards is truly touching and humbling.”

Before visiting England for the event, Deana gave her valuable time in Dubai where she resides to feature in the campaign through a photoshoot, a video, and an interview. For people considering whether they can succeed in the future as a student at the University of Wolverhampton, Deana’s story of triumph through difficult circumstances provides an inspiring, uplifting message.

In her campaign video, Deana said: “It’s pretty easy to sit here today and give you a list of my achievements and the amazing life that I have and everything I’ve accomplished, but I do want to make the point that it hasn’t been easy.

"Thank you to the University of Wolverhampton for giving me this recognition and choosing my career journey to use as an example for your campaign.”

Deana grew up in an area of Middlesborough that she describes as “poverty-struck” and was raised by her single mother. From these humble origins, Deana found success after studying marketing at the University of Wolverhampton. Soon after completing her studies, she entered a beauty pageant and became Miss India UK 2012, before entering TV’s Big Brother for season 13, and moving to India afterwards to pursue a film career in which she made appearances in Bollywood movies.

Her life in India revealed to her the extent of poverty in some areas of the country, leading her to direct, produce, and host a documentary entitled India’s Forgotten People, which sensitively investigated a proud but largely forgotten community called the Gadia Lohar. It was shown on channels worldwide, including Netflix, and has since won awards.

Deana says that her proudest achievements come from the charitable trust she founded, DKU Kindness Diaries Trust, which offers weekly food distributions to vulnerable people, enrols children into schools who would otherwise not have an education, and launches educational courses to teach children English from home. It was these kind endeavours that won the charity the Point of Light Award, which was presented to Deana by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in 2023.

Deana actively supports the University of Wolverhampton by featuring in the annual WLV Life alumni magazine in 2022 (including arranging her own photoshoot), endorsing the university to her huge social media following, meeting deputy head of alumni relations David Wedge in Dubai to discuss future collaborations, and sharing news of her successes for the university to share.

To view Deana’s campaign interview and those of other alumni, please visit here.

To learn more about the University’s Alumni Association please visit here, where graduates can also update their details with the Association.

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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