Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
I’m Neelakshi holding a masters degree from NIFT as well as a diploma in creative fashion styling. I currently teach at Pearl Academy, Mumbai ( Fashion History/Image & Identity/Visual Culture). On weekends I strive to blog as much as I can and lead a double life as a wardrobe stylist and personal shopper.
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
I absolutely wish to promote the idea of body positivity through my blog. What people often fail to understand is the sheer essence of body positivity, they tend to associate the word to plus size woman. It means when We are creating a world in which people are liberated from self-hatred, value their beauty and identity irrespective of their size/shape and channelize their energy and intellect to make positive changes
Plump to Pretty is my personal style diaries where I adhere to my style beliefs and share them virtually with a woman who can take a leaf out of it. The main reason I continue to blog is the positive response I started getting from women who have struggled to find a fashion resource they could relate to. However, over the past few years, some incredible opportunities have arisen from it and have been a key player in my life apart from just being a creative vent now.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
The idea that because you’re a certain size or shape, you just aren’t worthy of fashion. You couldn’t possibly look “good” in trendy things-is the ideology that honestly cringe worthy. Every possible relative, doctor or even the grocer has an opinion about your body and that really pisses me off. I can’t let my spirits die because of other people’s opinion and that I have only learnt over a period of time. My body is definitely my temple and I’m learning to embrace it daily. I’m not trying to preach that being fat is the perfect bodytype( which is what people really perceive of me) but the fact that it’s okay to be you in any form. I really wish girls would get the right kind of media exposure, the right kind of material to read that doesn’t make hate themselves like it did for me. I silently suffered from depression and bulimia for far too long, I’ve cared so much about what people had to say that it only further pushed me into my shell. Coming out of this hole has really been my personal achievement and I have a really long way to go!
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
I’m honestly till striving for my achievements. Nothing that I can mention except the love that I have been able to garner and build a real connection with the woman that read my blogs
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I don’t know what I would ever do if not this. Probably it was a boon in disguise-l even as a child I would beam at the name of NIFT. I am not here to tell you about how being more charitable by donating or limiting your lifestyle intakes, I strongly believe in the philosophy ‘To each, his own!’But I am here to make a little difference to your perception of how you look at others.
Recently, I came across a rather saddening realization and was rather appalled by the fact that no matter what happens, people will always look for those who are perfectly perfect to the T. And I am talking about physical appearance. I heard that once you come into the REAL world, you realize how obnoxious it is. It eats you up alive. Now, I witnessed it myself. As I walked into my class every single day people stare at me as if I was human meteoroid, landed on Earth.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Needless to say, our parents are the first people we get to know and are the torchbearers when it comes to deciding the good from the bad. My parents have been the sole supporter and that really inspired me everyday to do something new.
I absolutely adore Ashley Graham for the way she voices and advocates body positivity out loud.I also look out for a lot of inspiration of yesteryears hollywood actresses like Marilyn Monroe and Meryl Streep.
What does the future hold for you?
Well, I’m hoping to take up a lot more modelling assignments. Then there are a couple of workshops lined up to reach out the young girls and finally, a clothing label of my own where I any body shape/size can shop without worrying if it would be available in their size. I want to create a safe haven a happy experience that I honestly never got to experience.