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6 Fabulous Women Who are Championing Body-Positivity and Self-Love

Six crusaders; one common thought: self-love is paramount.

Six crusaders; one common thought: self-love is paramount. Read what the term ‘plus-size’ means to them, and why this movement needs further momentum to break stereotypes and promote inclusivity. 

1) Neha Parulkar:
 Model and Influencer

“Most of the time, people think that being body positive is being ‘shameless’, or a ‘rebel’, or it’s just an excuse to continue being overweight. But for me, it is really about loving yourself with dignity, and not victimising yourself for being the way you are. Having said that, the movement has evolved a great deal since its inception. Earlier, being ‘fat’ was your only identity; nobody cared to look beyond your ‘size’. But today, many people (not all) do understand the concept of body positivity. Being curvy is no longer something to be embarrassed about, it’s a badge women wear with pride...further inspiring others, who still feel insecure about their bodies.”

2) Spardha Malik: 
 Digital Editor, Ogaan

“I didn’t mind the term ‘plus-size’ in the early years—it enabled me to find an online community that empowered me to change the way I saw my body. But I’ve developed mixed feelings about it now. We don’t go around calling thin girls ‘micro-size’, so why discriminate against larger women? While the movement has evolved from tokenism, and become more mainstream, we still have a long way to go. Seeing curvy women in prominent fashion campaigns like Jacquemus, Ganni, or Stella McCartney, or closer home, in Sabyasachi’s, gives me hope that we are moving the conversation ahead. It’s important to accept oneself. I know it might sound vain, but I think it’s important to spend more time looking in the mirror, and keep that ‘ugly’ picture in your phone instead of instinctively deleting it. Most of the time, we don’t see ourselves how others see us. And finally, work on your confidence—fake it till you make it!”

3) Neelakshi Singh:

“People think of ‘plus-size’ as a negative term, but for me, it has been very empowering. It has helped me truly accept myself. And the body-positive movement has given me a new career, and allowed me to discover avenues that I didn’t think existed until a 
few years ago. The ‘ideal’ standards of beauty have seen a shift globally, and that has helped in the evolution of how plus-size women are represented. It is natural to not feel great about oneself every single day, but for those times, my mantra is to chant ‘I am enough’ repeatedly. It really puts my mind at ease.”

4) Sakshi Sindwani: Model and Influencer

“Fashion houses and labels are finally giving the 
plus-size community the attention it deserves. But a model, at the end of the day, is just a model, regardless of her measurements. I wish we could get rid of this label. Categorising plus-size women and not making them feel included is a form of discrimination. However, the fact that we are talking about it proactively is a step in the right direction. I think anyone who wants to feel more confident—not just plus-size people—should consciously practise self-love. How you feel about your body largely depends on the kind of people you surround yourself with—focus on letting in positive people and cutting out the toxic ones.”

5) Varshita Thatavarthi:
 Model (Agency: Inega Model Management)

“I abhor the term ‘plus size’. I want this perception to change that full-figured models are an aberration in the fashion industry. It took me a long time to accept and love myself. It takes an enormous amount of patience and strength to cope in an industry that has been conditioned to believe that anything above a Size 2 is an anomaly. I faced rejection for five years because I had a fuller body and dusky skin. I have been through corridors of hell when no Indian agency wanted to represent me because I didn’t fit their ‘conventional body type’ requirement. The industry needs to change its point of view—they need to realise that plus-size women represent the majority of the women in the country. Hence, we need better representation of these women on the runway and in fashion magazines. We also need more plus-size women in executive positions in fashion companies, because they can relate and be better decision makers. After my first campaign with Sabyasachi released last year, many women who were battling a ‘weight prejudice’ came out to support me. I was overwhelmed with the response and cannot thank Sabyasachi enough for helping me become this instrument of change. It’s women like these who support and empower other women, that give me the confidence to own who I am.”

6) Aashna Bhagwani:

“The way we talk about size matters so much. I have 
been ‘plus-size’ all my life, and growing up, shopping for clothes was embarrassing. That prompted me to promote body positivity, minus any labels. Yes, I wear plus-size clothes, but that’s not all I am. There’s a reason why we are seeing more curvy women in the fashion industry—be it models or influencers. Inclusivity is the need of the hour. Even though the world is slowly becoming more sensitive towards body positivity, if you still don’t feel confident, ask yourself what is it that’s keeping you from accepting yourself? Practise self-love, and learn to understand that everyone faces insecurities. The journey of being insecure in your skin to fully accepting oneself is a long one, so it is important to be patient with yourself.”