Updated: Sep 23
Story by Anonymous
I gained and lost weight as a child, only to gain it back during my teenage years. Sadly, I had no one to reassure me about being myself or guide me in the path of body positivity then. I struggled with my weight during college. But I believed it was all part of growing up.
I was always fascinated by the fashion field because I was adamant and passionate about creating something for people with my body type. I have always wanted to be a trendsetter. In my fashion college, I became one, when, despite being plus size, I modeled for my own designs, whereas most of my other friends went looking in search of zero size models.
But I was always not the same confident person. I always had my own phases of self-doubt. During one such phase, I came across a plus-size pageant, a ‘first’ in India. Though apprehensive, I applied and surprisingly won. I was overwhelmed because that was the first time when I was taken seriously and this had always been my dream.
My career in modeling began with the United Colours of Benetton and later Parfait.
Initially, it was hard because I was conscious of what I saw, stretch marks, flabby tummy, and my body which did not fit into the society’s checkbox of ideals. But my journey of self-love began from being a lingerie model. It was not just about looking ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ as the adjectives go; it was also about wearing the right lingerie, knowing about the lingerie industry, and breaking the silence attached to bras.
I slowly began accepting my body. After all, this was a real body and real bodies have marks on them, they are mine, they talk about my journey. I felt gorgeous in my own skin. I am not sure I would have felt the same, if not for lingerie modeling.
Lingerie modeling, in this society, is often seen as the last destination for models, when things do not work out for them. My parents were not supportive of my career as a lingerie model let alone a plus-size model. They were not happy though I won my first pageant and was shocked as I chose lingerie modeling. My very first interview was extremely embarrassing: my mother, on being contacted by the host, talked about how much I ate on National Television! Could it have gotten any worse?
I realized it could, later, as some relatives of mine sent my father, my pictures in lingerie when they could have talked about it to my mother or my sisters, but no! I realized it was time for a heart to heart conversation with my parents, for them to see that, my career was not just exposing skin but educating women, to come out and be strong.
With time they did see my career as something more beyond pictures; a career in which I was breaking barriers and educating women about bras, the purpose of it, the health issues associated with it, and why wearing the right size was important. They saw how so many women came up to me and opened up to me.
Today, they are proud of where I stand. But it was a major challenge to come that far.
Even today beneath every post of mine, there is atleast 1 person calling me a moti (fat) or bhains (buffalo) or something else in the comment section, but over time I have learned to ignore these people because I and not them is living my dream. That person is just someone taking out their frustration through the screen.
I have also been criticized by people who differ with my idea of empowering women through wearing the right lingerie and also by those who claim that I am endorsing an unhealthy lifestyle. The truth is that a person who is hefty may not necessarily be leading an unhealthy lifestyle as assumed and might be struggling to lose weight; I still do. Moreover, everyone who loves their body will not indulge in anything that is harmful to the body.
We try to educate people in terms of measurements and scales but what we ought to do is to encourage body positivity and self-love and that is more than enough for a person to do the rest. Because I love myself and it is all that ever matters.