Hair tied in a bun, dressed in a saree with scattered motifs and adorned with opulent jewellery, Varshita Thatavarthi is raw and bold – her powerful gaze exuding confidence in a Sabyasachi Mukherjee advertisement campaign.
Her beauty is not defined by conventional norms though. A curvy and dusky-complexioned girl from Vishakhapatnam, Varshita is making waves in the fashion industry.
A few years ago, however, Varshita had faced rejection by several agencies citing that she did not “fit into the conventional beauty standards”.
Holding up the mantle of body-positivity, Varshita and several other “non-conformist” models have given women the confidence to embrace and love themselves. We bring you words of wisdom from 5 models across the world on body positivity:
- Neha Parulkar: “When it comes to fashion, they say that plus-sized people cannot wear shorts or swimsuits; they can’t wear sleeveless, they can’t wear body-hugging clothes. They might not look good in a particular silhouette. And that is so not true. Myself being a plus-sized person literally experiments with every type of clothing and I carry it with grace.”
- Ashley Graham: “Why do we have to label women because of the size of their pants? Let’s just be women and let’s just be empowering each other. Women are so hard on themselves. They tell themselves they are ugly, fat, every day. STOP IT! And I am so thankful that I can share my story with so many women.”
- Tinder Badhesha: “When I started modeling, I was the only Indian woman in the Plus Size industry, now there are countless Indian bloggers from different parts of the world, and more aspiring Indian Plus Size models. Seeing this give me the push and drive to really empower women, especially from my ethnic background, to feel beautiful and fabulous no matter what size you are.”
- Anjana Bapat: “I wanted to tell women that they are beautiful, no matter the size or color of their skin. You are enough and your journey towards realizing that needn’t be miserable.”
- Iskra Lawrence: The one thing I would teach to anybody trying to be more confident is to stop comparing yourself to anybody else. That's the main thing that I did - instead of looking at other models and wondering why I didn't look like them, why I couldn't change to look like them, you realise that you can't be anybody else. You're meant to be you, you're meant to be in this body. It's your home, so if you can start loving and respecting it, then that to me is the beginning of confidence.
These women are brewing a revolution of change, acceptance and inclusivity, one picture at a time.