An unconventional beauty who entered the modelling world four years ago, she has started a much needed conversation on beauty and how we define it in Chennai. I remember meeting her at one of the ramp shows she walked in early on. She left an indelible impression on me and went on to model in campaigns for indie fashion brands carving her own niche.
Acting aspirations are quite the norm for youngsters considering how we all grew up on a filmy diet. However, as she grew up she felt modelling might be a better fit. What started off with a fashion show in Class 12 turned into a full-fledged career in modelling. Kripali’s selfies and stories on the ‘gram where she unabashedly shares unfiltered images of herself convey confidence.
She tells me it has taken her years to get to this place. “Even now I have anxiety issues and it takes me time to get comfortable around new people. When I started out modelling I was always fearful that I won’t be able to justify my work or people might not like what I do. As I got more projects I got a lot more comfortable and confident. I know modelling doesn’t quite work out that way for many people but for me it boosted my confidence. My career trajectory has had trials and error as I had no one to guide me but it has been a great learning curve and I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for this journey.” Wise words for someone just out of college.
Kripali is very open while talking about her anxiety issues. We are of the same opinion that mental health issues must be spoken about and it’s not a weakness. Everyone has different strengths and it’s okay to not be okay. “My anxiety issues started in school because I was body shamed for being lean and that continues till today. People are constantly passing comments but now I have a thicker skin and it doesn’t affect me much,” she says.
Additionally, “People judge me when I walk into a room and that makes me anxious. In school, people never supported my dreams or me and I was made fun of a lot. It wasn’t just the students, it was also teachers and other adults whose insensitive passing remarks would target me. There was nobody to tell me it would be okay. Today, I want to tell others going through the same thing that it will be okay and I’m here to listen,” she says.
In India we are always told to ‘let it go and not complain’— we as women are done doing that. It’s not okay to body shame any woman or remark about things like her ability to reproduce even before you have introduced yourself.
Kripali has not let this define her and has learnt to be stronger and comfortable in her own skin. Ten years from now she still hopes to continue modelling, quietly break more rules and create imagery that makes you question the definitions of beauty and how women ought to be. I hope more women can do the same and for all our sisters out there, irrespective of their physical attributes. Don’t let people’s comments faze you or chink your armour. You are beautiful just the way you are.