When it comes to models, we, for years, have been used to seeing thin airbrushed women, featuring on magazine covers, billboards, and walking the ramp. For long, thin had become the definition of beauty.
However, with changing times, the idea of beauty restricted to a certain body mass index or weight category is slowly fading. Shattering these norms for some time is Sakshi Sindhwani — one of India’ first plus-size models.
Sakshi has walked in a bathing suit at a fashion week, and has launched her own clothing line. More recently, she modelled for famous fashion designer Manish Malhotra’s bridal wear collection.
At present, she has over 437,000 followers on Instagram. Sakshi’s journey has been focused on styling videos for women of different sizes. She wanted to give styling tips to women who didn’t fit the norm.
“Soon, I realised the impact it actually had. I also realised the idea of ‘conventional’ size and body type didn’t have any focus. But that’s what most of the general population is,” Sakshi explains.
While today, Sakshi oozes confidence and walks the talk, the ride hasn’t been simple. She, too, has been body-shamed, faced online trolls, and bullying.
In a conversation with HerStory, Sakshi says,
“The trolling still exists. For every positive comment I get, many others say I am promoting obesity. I don’t care about the health complications of body weight, etc. But the thing is, I am not promoting any particular size. What I am promoting is body positivity for all sizes. Either we are too fat, or we are too thin, we as a society have been obsessed with a certain image and figure. But the reality is different. We are all born with different body types and shapes, and you need to be comfortable with that. That is what I am promoting.”
Sakshi earned her confidence the hard way as she went through her fair shares of depressions and anxiety. She says she never had a conventional body size, which meant a lot of bullying, even during her younger years.
“Many people, even today, believe what I do is easy. And it isn’t any work or effort. They say things like – Aap agar mote ho jaoge tho aap Sakshi ki tarah famous ho jaoge. (If you become fat, you can become famous like Sakshi),” adds Sakshi.
Nonetheless, she believes earning her confidence has been a long journey of therapy and understanding herself and her body better. For whatever reason, people have chosen the image of beauty and health to be of a certain body type, but that simply isn’t true.
“With time, you learn how to deal with trolls and focus on what you need to do. The journey is about finding yourself and learning to be comfortable in your own skin. Nowhere am I asking you to not focus on health or fitness. But the idea is to understand your body, and what suits it and what works for it. It is your body after all. So the best thing is to be comfortable with it,” says Sakshi.