My weight didn’t stop me from becoming a model |  fashion trends

My weight didn’t stop me from becoming a model | fashion trends

A girl from Delhi, Sakshi Sindwani, is everything and much more than you can imagine. A standard-bearer of body positivity and a stylist at heart, Sindwani spoke to us about her humble beginnings, her love for YouTube and content creation, and how she triumphed over self-love. read more

Tell us about your life before you became an influencer.

Growing up, I lived in a family of five with my mother, father, an older sister and my grandfather. In school I was in A and I wanted to be a genetic engineer, although I’ve always had a taste for fashion. So I did my postgraduate degree in fashion styling and image design, went to New York for an internship and did a few styling gigs here and there. In fact, styled one of the shows at New York Fashion Week; that was pretty cool.

When did you think about becoming an influencer?

I’ve always been obsessed with watching YouTube videos. I started when I was barely in 6th or 7th grade because I got to hang out with the girls on YouTube more than the girls in the magazines, TV or movies. The YouTube girls were regular girls who looked a bit like me. I would watch videos of American vlogger, Bethany Mota, who was one of the first content creators to achieve the kind of success she did. In the 3rd year of my studies I finally started my own YouTube channel.

When did you decide to move from YouTube to Instagram?

I didn’t initially think of creating content as a career, but as something I did for fun. I would literally post once a month or something. YouTube was really a phase where I discovered how much I love creating content. And so, slowly and steadily I began to build a community, although the urge to belong and for people to like me remained intact. I started with Sarojini Nagar, Chandni Chowk hauls, lookbooks, because these were trending and performing very well, and I was burned out in 2019. I was at 60k or 70k subscribers at the time. Right after my YouTube burnout, I decided to make videos on Instagram.

What changed when you started your IG account?

On Instagram, I took on the challenge that I’m not going to make videos; I just talked to people about the outfit I was wearing that day and gave them styling tips. I decided to do this every day for the next 365 days. That really changed my life and the trajectory of my entire career. Later I started my series, SMU, which means Style Me Up, one episode every day, and as they say, rest is history.

What were your family’s thoughts on your career?

I grew up in a typical Punjabi family that has always been very supportive in everything I did. My parents saw how much passion I put into my career. There was a time when they were afraid of it, because as a content creator, I didn’t earn anything for a very long time. I would earn 5000 a year. It wasn’t until 2019 that things got going and they saw that I can really grow financially. Today I am one of the highest earners in my family, so they are extremely proud of me.

What was the turning point for you?

In 2019 I was scouted as a model for Lakme Fashion Week. It was my first show ever and I walked as a showstopper model. It was for designer Rina Dhaka. After that, I heard about open auditions for India Fashion Week (IFW) and was selected as a polar model. It was the first time ever that a plus-sized model was scouted as a polar model for IFW.

Have you always wanted to be a body positivity influencer?

Subconsciously, yes, I’ve always wanted to talk about representation. I didn’t know what it meant when I started my YouTube channel, but there was definitely a community that liked me for who I was. I really started to think about my own choices and how I saw my body and what I wanted to change in my mindset. It was the audience that pushed me to talk more and more about body positivity. In my post graduate degree, I had made a documentary of 13 different women called Our Body that went viral. I then saw the impact it had on people regardless of their gender, shape and size, and realized that everyone has a hard time. I wanted to talk about self-love, fitness and change the fashion industry and society for good.

Did you have physical problems as a child?

I have had many problems with my body. As a kid I loved my chubby because everyone thought it was cute. Later, when I went to school, the same cuteness became “tu kitni moti hai, tu kitni bhais hai”. So many of these adjectives get attached to you and you start hating your body. I’ve hated my body the longest. I was bullied every day and not only at school but also at home by family members and my own parents, siblings. I was compared to my older sister for losing weight and becoming the thinnest of the girls. My father and I did not have a good relationship at the time because I was very tall. Even with mom it was the same. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my body because I’ve gained and lost weight many times. It was only later that I learned the meaning of self-love and body positivity, and that the only validation that matters is the affirmation that comes from within.

Do you like what you do?

I love what I do; I’m obsessed because I put my heart and soul into it. I don’t want to be preachy, but I also want to make fashion accessible and recognizable to larger bodies. And not only talk, but also walk. To me, I’m a tough boss who won’t stop until I change the fashion industry and frankly the world for good. I will continue to talk about body positivity, body neutrality, self-love and inclusivity.

Who has been your inspiration?

At the time, it was Bethany Mota. She was very bubbly and cheerful in her videos. And, was a ball of sun for me. I’ve seen her grow and paths break. She inspired me to start my own channel. At the moment I absolutely love Masoom Minawala, Komal Pandey, Prajakta Koli, Kusha Kapila and Dolly Singh.

What is your take on the social media influencer space?

The industry has fully grown. Digital marketing is the future. Social media influencers are the new age celebrities. They are more recognizable, fresh and they challenge standards. The idea that you can be anyone in the world and become anyone is revolutionary. The possibilities are endless and it is open to everyone. You can influence people even if you are not an S&M influencer. In India we still have a lot to learn and we will be there in time.

Do you think influencers on social media can bring about positive change?

I absolutely believe that body positive makers have brought about a change. They have made people feel more comfortable in their own skin. You need to remind people to take care of themselves and body positivity is about taking care of your health and fitness no matter your size and shape. There are so many body positivity creators that can make you feel good about yourself and others who may not be of much value to you. Follow those who value you, who make you feel good about yourself, who make you happy. We challenge society and not just the fashion industry. We’re just changing the definition of what’s considered normal and beautiful, and that’s powerful.

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