the beauty in diversity
Cosmopolitan India|November 2020
At Cosmopolitan India, we have been championing the cause of inclusivity for many years. This month, we turn the spotlight on the select few in the modelling biz, who, through their relentless spirit, are shattering age-old norms of beauty. We present to you five models, with five unique stories, and one common message: that there is no one definition of beauty.
Meghna Sharma
PRARTHANA JAGAN

“I developed vitiligo at the age of 11. After consulting a lot of doctors, one derm suggested I apply ‘theatre make-up’ to cover up the spots. And while it did conceal the condition, it made things harder at school, as the other children began mocking me for wearing make-up. I remember one particular incident, when I was travelling in the school van, and the kids started throwing water at me and asked why the make-up wasn’t coming off. I remember crying for days about it. No-one understood that I just wanted an even skin tone...like everyone else. As the bullying became more brutal, I started to distance myself from the crowd. During that time, maintaining a journal really helped me—I have been able to track my journey and let go of a world of pain. After eight long years of wearing make-up every single day, I finally stepped out without make-up one day. I took a leap of faith and I have never looked back since. I started creating YouTube videos about what it’s like to have vitiligo, and my confidence grew because of the support I received from my audience. They made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile, and that makes me feel beautiful, confident, and unique. Self-love takes a lot of time, but the key is to never stop. In 2018, I decided to participate in a model hunt—I was told that I’m ‘unconventional looking’ and it would be tough to get work. But here I am! The industry has definitely seen a shift. I am grateful to my agency for picking beautifully diverse models and creating opportunities for them that didn’t exist a few years ago. My learning from my own experience is that if you wear your confidence like SPF, no-one can diminish your light.”

ELIZABETH MECH

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