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15 Mar

We all need to read Sonam Kapoor’s essay on body positivity

Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor is easily the most stylish woman in Bollywood. She can make anything look good as she has the confidence and the long legs to carry anything off. Many a times we’ve found ourselves marvelling over how flawless she looks and have often found ourselves wishing we could be as glamourous as her. Which is why it’s important to read the essay written by Sonam about how she sees her own body.

Yeah yeah, we know. When celebs talk about ‘loving your body the way it is’, the first thing that comes to mind is this: “It would be easy to love ourselves if we also looked like Sonam/Deepika/Katrina.” But Sonam busts a lot of myths and speaks very candidly in an essay which she wrote for Buzzfeed India and it’s important that someone like her has written it.

She starts off by remembering when the thirteen year old Sonam met Aishwariya Rai for the first time and couldn’t help but be ‘baffled’ by how stunning Aishwariya looked in a simple white tank top and blue jeans, while Sonam herself struggled with appreciating her body.

Then she talks about how she went on crazy diets that messed up her digestive system, all in an attempt to lose weight, so that she could look like a Bollywood actress. When she finally lost all the weight, she thought the self loathing would go away. But she realized that the critique never stops. Critics and tabloids would find some flaw or the other, such as a small cup size (apparently a C cup is not good enough in Bollywood) or stretch marks and cellulite. All this indepth analysis led to Sonam becoming extremely critical of her own body before any tabloid could tell her which part of it was still not perfect.


Sonam Kapoor

“It takes an army, a lot of money, and an incredible amount of time to make a female celebrity look the way she does when you see her. It isn’t realistic, and it isn’t anything to aspire to.”


“We’ve been taught that women need to be flawless even when our flawlessness is wildly implausible, sexy even when our sexiness is a break from plot. We’re sprinting through Jurassic Park in heels, fighting supervillains in strapless corsets, being stranded on deserted islands for days without a hint of stubble. Real female bodies are so taboo that hair-removal-cream ads show hairless legs even before the cream is applied,” wrote Sonam. That last point made us laugh out loud. Yes, the models in hair removal ads are already hairless before even using the product. Because having hair is THAT unnatural.

Sonam gives credit to the strong female relationships in her life that help her look past all these ‘flaws’ she supposedly has but then, the actress really brings a much needed reality check to anyone who’s listening:

“Here’s the real deal: Before each public appearance, I spend 90 minutes in a makeup chair. Three to six people work on my hair and makeup, while a professional touches up my nails. My eyebrows are tweezed and threaded every week. There’s concealer on parts of my body that I could never have predicted would need concealing.

I’m up at 6am every day and at the gym by 7:30. I exercise for 90 minutes and, some evenings, again before bed. It’s someone’s full-time job to decide what I can and cannot eat. There are more ingredients in my face packs than in my food. There’s a team dedicated to finding me flattering outfits.

After all that, if I’m still not “flawless” enough, there are generous servings of Photoshop.

I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it: It takes an army, a lot of money, and an incredible amount of time to make a female celebrity look the way she does when you see her. It isn’t realistic, and it isn’t anything to aspire to.”

Titled I Didn’t Wake Up Like This, Sonam’s essay is worth a read if you’re feeling down in the dumps about your body.


Manal Faheem Khan

The author is Contributing Editor at Something Haute who has studied film and journalism from SZABIST. Will be found at the gym if not in the office.

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