Sridevi Ramesh, a popular makeup artist in the city, several years ago embarked on a journey of personal fulfilment. This week many of her dreams came to fruition.
She got married very young and focussed on her family growing up. She tells me that she always wanted to be an air hostess. Sridevi was introduced to the world of makeup soon after and she knew she wanted to be a makeup artist and her husband supported her passion. Along the way, she has had many supportive friends and family members, as well as the fashion fraternity, but largely she has dealt with nay-sayers and trolls. After winning many awards and becoming a renowned makeup artist, Sridevi still felt there was more out there for her to achieve. She enjoyed working behind the scenes and making people look their best on their big day, but she also wanted to be the one on stage. She told me that she looked at herself in the mirror and thought “I’m beautiful, why shouldn’t I be on stage!”.
I hope more women can learn to look at themselves through that positive lens. In 2017, she participated in Dazzle Mrs India, and was the first runner-up. That victory, however, was bittersweet. There were many who were whispering how someone who was plus size won in a pageant featuring «skinny» women. These remarks had an impact on Sridevi. She kept searching for a pageant where she could fit in. She came across the pageant in Ukraine and applied. Many in the city were extremely supportive, including models, who were her clients, taking their spare time to teach Sridevi to walk the ramp as she had never worn heels before. Popular fashion photographer G Venket Ram took her pictures for the pageant, while designer Tina Vincent dressed her.
Most pageants, as you know, feature a swimsuit round. Sridevi, who was trolled a lot both online and in person, for putting up a beautiful picture with a hint of cleavage was obviously concerned. She even sat down with her two children who told her “Amma, you are beautiful. Don’t worry about others!”. Even when she was shooting in Ukraine posing for the shoot, she admits to being worried about what people back home would say.
The photographer took a minute to chat with her to let her know that she was beautiful, had a stunning dark complexion and that she should stop worrying and be herself. That little nudge gave Sridevi the confidence that propelled her to win a title. When I asked her what her favourite moment from the pageant was, she says it was stepping out on that stage carrying the Indian flag and representing our country. Here’s to many more women chasing their dreams, embarking on journeys of self-love and feeling beautiful no matter their size or complexion, trolls be damned.