March 27, 2020 Asmita Aggarwal

The Other Eden

From a village where girls aren’t educated to making it to the spotlight, Nisha Yadav is a story waiting to be told.

By Asmita Aggarwal

No one would have even heard of Shuklawas, Rajasthan, a tiny hamlet tucked away unlike its more popular magnificent havelis, but maybe one-day people might associate it with Nisha Yadav, who made it to the list of new faces this year. Born to a farmer-turned-activist, who had to support five children with a meagre income, Nisha remembers a tough childhood where new clothes were a novelty and hand-me-downs, a norm.

“I think I was in class 11 when I got my first new salwar-suit, and we never had electricity at home, no roads, and I used to walk almost 2 km daily to study in a government school which was only till class 10. After that for high school, I used to walk 8-10 km to a nearby village to study walking amidst mustard fields. In the winter, due to the dew, we would get so wet by the time we reached school that we would return home with a terrible cough and cold,” she remembers.

The beauty of fashion is now it is no longer a reserve of the rich and famous and in the true sense of the word is really inclusive, as it is embracing women of all backgrounds. “I am really tall and we had absolutely no exposure to style of any kind, and my family never supported me in my endeavours of making it to the catwalk, in fact, they resisted it constantly,” she adds.

In fact, they wanted her to be a judge or clear the UPSC, so she studied economics and did her bachelor’s in computer application from Jaipur where she was exposed to the world of modelling. “Glamour kind of attracted me and seeing my photos published in many small publications got me hooked,” she explains.

Interestingly, Nisha was never exposed to a laptop till she got into college, her mom being illiterate; her dad ensured all her five sisters got education. Most of her siblings are government servants and they really don’t care about modelling. “My dad, I would say is intrigued about my new life and I’m typically from a Hindi medium school, so it took me some time to understand what people around me were saying when they converse. But today I would say I am not an expert but I can find my way around English speaking fashion people,” she smiles. Without a godfather the struggle was enormous and even though Nisha admits she never won any pageant, it didn’t affect her morale. “My family felt I was wasting my time so I was in a dilemma and I left modelling in the middle for some time,” she says.

At 25, she believes modelling is not about a good height or pretty face, but more to do with confidence and personality, so her dreams are big…maybe New York Fashion Week someday. “My sister is an IAS officer and she has always supported me emotionally and financially. She wants to see me on the ramp at London Fashion Week,” she confirms.

Though her goals are quite clear, she wants to open an NGO for girls like her, who want exposure but have none, have dreams of making it to the gilt-edged world of fashion, but can never do it. “I will give free classes on modelling, posture and building personality based on what I have learnt,” she concludes.

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