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Living life by loving yourself! That’s the mantra 38-year-old Silky Chopra adopted way back in life when she became a victim of body shaming. She is someone who wears her size on her sleeve, and wants all ‘big girls’ to know that ‘Plus can be stylish’! This Independence Day, in the hope of gaining freedom from body shaming in the social environment, let us get to know her story.
A communications professional, actor and mom of one, Silky tells Health Shots, “I have been a victim of body shaming throughout my childhood – by my parents, siblings, schoolmates, friends, colleagues, and during auditions. And it is extremely damaging for your self-esteem. Negative comments can drive one to take extreme steps to change their body type to conform to the norms of society or lead to low self-esteem, depression, trauma etc.”
But she was never one to suffer the bullying silently.
“I stood up for myself in a positive and healthy manner. I continued practicing self-love and tried not to let negative comments bother me,” she adds.
In fact, when everyone was busy telling her how big she was, she had her eyes set on making a career as an actor or model.
“As I grew older, I realized that this was not an ideal career choice for me, Back in the 90s, the film industry was struggling with gender bias and stereotypes. Female actors were used just for their glamour quotient, and there were hardly had any female-centric films. So, I knew that being a plus-sized woman, I would at best get only comic roles,” she recounts.
Representation of plus-sized people in popular culture has been a part of the body shaming problem.
“Unfortunately, many TV shows and movies contribute to the pattern, where the ‘fat’ character is often the subject of criticism and comic relief. As a result, the person experiencing it becomes vulnerable,” believes Silky.
Nevertheless, she feels the film world is slowly moving from caricaturish portrayal of the plus-sized, due to body shaming awareness and its impact on people’s well-being. “But we still have a long way to go.”
Even though opportunities were limited, Silky did not let her dream of being an actor die a silent death.
“I was never shy of my weight and the fashionista in me always made me feel confident and helped me create a niche for myself. The opportunities were limited for me, but my perseverance helped keep my passion alive,” says the Delhi-based actor.
Over a span of time while auditioning, she understood that she might not become a heroine of a film or a serial, but there were roles which were made for her body type.
“I started exploring these roles in theatre and films. During the pandemic, I got a call from Delhi-based film director Jagat Joon, who was making a web series on societal issues and the role pitched to me was on body shaming. I said ‘yes’ because who else can portray this role,” shares Silky.
While that project never took off, she eventually landed a short film, ‘Silky: Bhoot Nahin Hote’. It was a win-win as she got the lead role and the character had nothing to do with her size!
Well, size also never mattered as she climbed the corporate ladder!
“I am blessed that my size never mattered in my corporate journey. It was my dedication, commitment and hard work that helped me become successful. And the organisation where I work also acknowledges people’s talent, irrespective of their gender, body type, culture, religion,” she says, highlighting the importance of a culture of acceptance.
She manifests her confidence through her free and flamboyant dressing, breaking the bias around dressing for plus-sized women. Be it a free-flowing sari, a fitted pant-suit, a dress or an A-line suit, she flaunts every silhoutte with panache.
“I’ve always loved dressing up, since my childhood. I used to follow fashion and accordingly get my clothes designed. My mother always supported me. So, I wore what I liked and felt comfortable in without bothering about people’s derogatory comments. I love the fashionista in me and invest my energy to retain it,” shares Silky.
Many plus-size women in her circle, in fact, consult her for their wardrobe.
“So yes, it feels good that I can inspire people to believe that ‘Plus can be Stylish’. It is important to love yourself and if I can encourage plus-size women to love themselves and not bother about societal pressure, I will feel blessed,” she shares with a smile.
Also read: Plus-sized model Sakshi Sindwani is challenging norms & quite fashionably so
“Take control and stay positive as life is beautiful. Live life by loving yourself!”
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