Soul girl
VOGUE India|July 2021
Just as the pandemic has taught us to focus inward rather than outward, Sara Ali Khan believes that beauty resides in the mind before the body.
Mihika Agarwal

Chiselled abs, tiny waists, perfectly toned arms and thighs—the glorification of picture-perfect ‘summer-ready bodies on platforms like Instagram highlights the toxic aspect of fitness culture propagated by social media. Even more so as we spend increasing amounts of time scrolling through our feeds and our dreams of beaches and bikinis are pushed further away by virtue of our work-from-home lives. When I present the conundrum to Sara Ali Khan, one of the most prominent celebrity fitness icons of her generation, whose weight loss journey has probably inspired umpteen fans, she explains what motivates her to hit the mat every morning. For Ali Khan, the superficial benefits are no more than positive by-products, far from the real goal. “Workouts or fitness for me have never been a means to an end,” she confesses. Instead, it’s primarily a source of positivity, above everything else. And it’s safe to say that we all can use an extra supply of that right now.

Ali Khan’s radiant smile and chirpy persona are infectious and her words reverberate the same optimism she preaches when it comes to beauty and fitness. “For me, confidence, beauty, and just being proud of who you are have always been internal rather than external or physical things,” she opines. It all comes down to feeling more confident about who you are, what you believe in, and what you are on the inside. “If you look better, that’s just the cherry on the cake, and then you can also eat the cake,” the actor cheekily adds.

The 25-year-old has been fiercely outspoken about her body transformation from 96kg to 46kg, as well as her struggles with Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD). “There were moments where I would struggle and I couldn’t even do five crunches in a row. Now I can proudly say I’m pretty fit. The key is to realise that the confidence that you derive shouldn’t ever come from how you look, but from how you feel,” Ali Khan shares. Today, her staunch workout routine is as much about regulating her hormones and ensuring her peace of mind as it is about building strength and muscle or toning her body.

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