October 8, 2019 FDCI

The F Factor

Sakshi Sindwani’s journey from dietland to final acceptance and body positivity serves as an example for curvy girls fighting to fit in a largely stereotypical world 

By Asmita Aggarwal

Growing up in a thunderous Punjabi family where a girl’s weight was often a topic of intense discussion, Sakshi Sindwani unwillingly found herself in the centre of it as her kilos often vacillated between too much or too little on the scale. “Family members and friends both gave me unsolicited advice on various diets, exercise, trainer and home gym options not realising that this is my body structure and genetics, there wasn’t much that I could do about it,” says the first time, plus-size model, body positivity advocate, YouTuber and fashion blogger at Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week, in association with EbixCash.

 This was followed by hectic questions on why don’t you lose weight? You look so big! Taunts were a regular feature and bullies in school called her a “blue whale”, making growing up the most difficult part of her teen life.

Though there was one incident that was life-changing. Sakshi was in class 10 when she got dengue and lost almost 10 kgs due to the illness. When she went back to school thinner, after her recovery she got a lot of attention for the first time. Thoroughly enjoying her newfound fame, she decided to not eat to maintain that body proportion and survived on three spoons of rice the whole day. “This spiralled out of control and I suffered from anorexia, till I was hospitalised and realised how unhealthy it was not to eat,” she remembers.

These tough experiences made Sakshi who she is today a spokesperson for body positivity and propelled her to launch her YouTube channel stylemeupbysakshi, which has thousands of followers, girls who have been helped by her personal trials and tribulations. The channel talks about accepting yourself, just the way you are giving confidence to curvy girls.

After Air Force school, Sakshi being a science student did zoology (Hons) from Venkateswara College, and then a course in styling and image management from Pearl Academy and began her talk show two years ago. “There is always some kind of shaming in Indian families if you are too thin, they say you don’t feed your child, if you are big they say you eat too much if there is nothing else they will slut-shame. We don’t let women live, we must beat them mentally into submission,” she confesses. When she began, her parents didn’t really understand what she was doing, but now when girls and their mothers come up to Sakshi praising her efforts, her family has learnt to respect her job and contribution.

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Spotted by designer Rina Dhaka during a show, she encouraged Sakshi to take up modelling, opening doors to an alternative career. “I think FDCI has made a huge change with what they have initiated this season giving girls like me a chance to be part of the fashion world,” she adds.

Sakshi teaches those struggling to not get affected by how the world perceives them, building the concept of self-love, and illustrating by her own example. “I dance, workout and was into sports I also eat healthy, so that’s what I talk about on my channel. As long as you are living the right way and taking care of your body, everything is perfect. Plus, beauty is not restricted to a particular body type, it has less to do with how we look externally,” she admits.

On a parting note, when Sakshi feels really low on some days and a nasty stray comment hits her, she tells herself, “Practise what you preach.”

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