Designer Sabyasachi’s recent show in collaboration with Christian Louboutin celebrating 20 years in the business seems to have taken over our collective consciousness and by that I mean our social media feeds.
For many, her story seems quite unbelievable and you must be wondering how she met Sabya. Well, I have the scoop on that serendipitous moment and many casting directors in Chennai, who rejected her before for films and ads because of her complexion or body image, must be kicking themselves. She was born in a conservative family yet her parents being educationists didn’t feel the need to impose their values on her and allowed her to pursue her dreams. She has lived in several cities and auditioned hundreds of times. Without much luck then she came to Chennai in 2017. In mid-2018 she went to a Sabyasachi jewellery exhibition with a friend to check out his newly launched line. She met him there for the very first time and was incredibly nervous. The staff were courteous and calmed her nerves and as fate would have it, Sabyasachi himself walked up to her and told her that she was beautiful and it made her day or week even! Varshita bought a pair of earrings and asked one of his assistants if she could take a picture with him and he obliged. The picture went up on the gram and she continued with her auditions and two months later his team contacted her and asked if she would like to come to Kolkata for a trial shoot and she agreed and her life hasn’t been the same since then.
Many of you may know Varshita from Sabya’s bridal campaign image that he posted on International Women’s day with a message for inclusivity and ending body shaming that went viral and had a polarising effect. He was hailed by many for sharing a lovely message on body positivity and a few trolled him calling it a marketing gimmick. Varshita tells me, “I didn’t know how to feel about the picture. For all the appreciation I was getting, there was an equal or greater number of trolls. I didn’t know if I should be happy about all the positive messages I received or be saddened that the one designer who had the courage to transform my life and fight for body positivity was being trolled. I learned that haters are only a drop in the ocean and it’s better to reserve your time and energy to people who uplift and support you. I wonder where these trolls went after the show. People who were quick to refer to that post as tokenism were not brave enough to go back and delete their comment. Karl Lagerfeld once said: no one likes to see a curvy woman on the runway and it took a Sabyasachi to change that and I am ecstatic that I get to be a part of it.”
By chasing her dreams and fighting mindsets, Varshita has inspired several others and has her eyes firmly set on her vision. At the top is her lifelong dream of acting in a Mani Ratnam film. She hopes that he will find her and cast her as she is obsessed with his body of work and his heroines inspired her to want to be an actor. Mani Ratnam is someone who has enjoyed the reputation of being way ahead of his times in cinema. I hope that just like Sabyasachi gave her a break in fashion, this stalwart will give her a break in cinema.