Akhshaya Navaneethan Shows The Middle Finger To Societal Norms About Size And Beauty And We Love Her For It!
Every Indian girl is conditioned to believe in the societal norms of beauty. We are told by are peers and parents that only thin, long haired, fair skinned girls were considered beautiful, and for a long time we followed through blindly not realizing that there is so much wrong with this belief. Over the years, progress has been made is commendable but if you think about this, much of this is only on paper. Just because Sabyasaachi is using dusky models now doesn’t mean there isn’t a dusky girl out there who hasn’t heard “use skin lightening products, or no one will want to marry you”. The only way we are going to truly progress now, the only way our girls are all going to feel confident in their own skin, is if change comes from within the society. The digital age, time and again has proven to us how much we need to move forward to ensure every girl lives in her own skin, comfortably.
Luckily for us, every now and then we stumble upon people whose life story and personality inspire us to walk that extra mile, people like Akhshaya Navaneethan. Her story began all the way back in school where she was rejected from a dance performance by a school teacher because she was “overweight”. Being body shamed all through her adolescent years had a massive impact on her self-confidence, making believing she wasn’t good enough. In 2013 though, she went through a life changing experience something so big she claims that she started believing in herself and her talents. “I started believing in myself, identifying my talents, and most importantly, I stopped listening to people. That’s when I found myself,” she says in one of her Instagram captions.
Since then she trained herself to be the best version of herself. She started working as an MC, soft skills trainer and motivational speaker. From there her journey just goes upwards, she become a plus-sized model. “The confidence that I showed in myself never stopped. That has been my key to grow,” she says. She became the first South-Indian plus sized model to walk the ramp for All Primero x Rina Dhaka at the Lakme fashion week. She is now an advocate for body positivity and self-love. She uses her social media to promote various other causes too
“One thing I’m very happy about is that people have started recognizing plus size. I still believe remaining healthy is important but causing yourself/oneself pain and suffering to lose weight is not,” she says in the same IG post.
Earlier this year, against all odds and criticism from her family, Akhshaya shaved off her head to donate her hair to make wigs for cancer patients. If that wasn’t inspiring enough, she went on to collaborate with various photographers to promote the fact women don’t need hair to be beautiful. She did a cover called Bald Queen to promote plus-sized wedding couture and the fact the bald is beautiful. In May, acclaimed playboy photographer L Ramachandran was on the hunt for a model for his latest project Cosmic Divine, when he spotted Akhshaya and she became the muse he was looking for.
Her confidence and belief in herself are truly inspiring, it forces us to introspect and do away with all our negativity. She is courageous and truly beautiful, and we hope she will continue to spread her joy and maybe make a difference in our society.