Social Ketchup Ed, Mrinil Mathur Rajwani, in conversation with fashion content creator Sakshi Sindwani aka @stylemeupwithsakshi, about body-neutrality, self-love, and much more!
As a consumer of her content and in my capacity as an editor, I have known Sakshi Sindwani for close to four years now. The first time I interviewed her, we ended up chatting for an hour, and with every interaction thereafter, I managed to understand the different layers of her personality better. Over the last few years, I have seen her climbing the ladder and I am certain that the sky is not the limit for her.
With fire in the belly, Sakshi ignites several lamps and smashes stereotypes as she moves forward with her dream to conquer the world. Honestly, I am in awe of her energy and enthusiasm to achieve things and I love how she puts in her heart and soul to accomplish her goals. I believe it is this passionate personality that drives opportunities for her and at the same time, she has managed to create new opportunities with her dedication and determination.
In one of our interactions in the month of December 2020, she had mentioned that in the next two years she is looking forward to walking ramps, winning awards, representing brands, and making it to more Magazine covers, and by 2022 first half, she has done that and a lot more.
Therefore, in this interview when she told me that she wants to go global in the next two years, given her drive and my past experience of knowing her I can see that happening sooner than this timeline. I am super excited and I cannot wait to see this dream come alive I bet you will feel this energy through these pictures, and her responses to the questions and the candidness is beyond measure.
Fashion has always been a big part of Sakshi’s life. She wore statement accessories and fashion pieces when she was as young as seven years. She recalls having photographs wearing Y2K Sunglasses in her childhood that are now a trending fashion statement. “I have always been in fashion; fashion is a huge form of self-expression. It defines my mood. Whatever I am feeling is what I am wearing.” Sharing an anecdote from her college life, Sakshi mentions going through a bad breakup in college. To express herself, the very next day, she wore the classiest-hottest outfit possibly could be in her wardrobe.
“Fashion is like second nature to me. I feel very strongly about it. I have a very strong sense of personal style. I don’t go by the rules; one word to define me is stereotype smasher. That’s, that’s a term that I identify with. That’s a term that I really like because, you know, there have been so many rules and stereotypes given to bigger women and I always have, very respectfully bash them, like, smash them. I don’t go by the rules, and I don’t think fashion was made to stick to the rules; it is a creative space.”
Fashion is holy to Sakshi, and she respects that she actually lives, breathes, and works for fashion every day, and that’s the core of who she is and always will be. “I will be 45 or 50 years old, and I will be the best-dressed mother in the kitty”, she jokes.
Defining and Redefining Self-Love
“Loving myself changes every single day for me. Some days it is working really hard and being a hyper-productive person, and some days it is just staying at home. For some days, it’s very confident, and some days it’s okay to take it slow, and if you are feeling low, you can take time to validate your thoughts.” For Sakshi loving yourself means cutting yourself some slack and accepting yourself while also working towards growth.
The story of becoming the Sakshi Sindwani
“It is exactly what this is becoming Sakshi Sindwani, and the Sakshi Sindwani keeps changing. I have gone through so many phases of my life that I don’t think I recognize anything like me.” Sakshi believes that she has seen different phases of herself, that she takes away only bits and pieces of it and keeps on becoming a new Sakshi Sindwani every year. “I cannot identify when even with Sakshi of 2017 as such anymore. I reinvent myself, and that’s to do with self-love.”
“I feel like the self-love journey never ends; there is no destination; it is just a journey. It’s an everyday thing. It’s something that you do for yourself. And it’s a feeling that comes from within, I can say 10 million times in front of a person who doesn’t love themselves to accept their bodies or start loving themselves, but it’s not going to make any sense because that voice needs to come from within. You can read like 100 million self-help books and try to figure out, what it takes to become confident and love yourself, but the ultimate thing is it needs to come from within.”
For Sakshi, that voice started coming louder ever since she started her YouTube channel. “There was a tiny fire in my heart when I started my YouTube channel about five, six years back. And I remember saying it to myself like I needed this creative space, I need to talk about this, and I need to do it with style. And I don’t see any bigger woman doing it in my space, at least in my country.”
She has been a fan of YouTube Creators, especially international YouTube creators, “I finally saw people like me, people with loud, big personalities, reaching heights through digital media; I am talking about times when it was the start of digital media.” Sakshi has been following Youtube creators since 2007-2008.
Talking about her journey, Sindwani recalls that she wasn’t truly the most confident self when she began her YouTube content creation journey. Later, when she noticed comments on her YouTube channel about how women were inspired by her content, the difference she was making. “I remember thinking, Oh! How’s that even possible? How can I be the source of inspiration to somebody? By just being myself. How can that inspire somebody else? And that’s how the journey of self-love began.”
Sindwani believes if it weren’t for the community that kept showing her the mirror, she wouldn’t have even accepted her own reflection. She credits her fans and followers for helping her in her journey, but it all came from within because it was something that she really wanted to do for herself. “I think the biggest takeaway was that I was tired of being bogged down by other people’s opinions and other people’s perceptions of me like I didn’t want to give a shit any more than that.” For her, it all came out of the frustration of being bullied for years. Talking about her times, Sakshi mentions her depressive episodes because of bullying and body shaming. She said she was done hating her body and realized it is something she was blessed with. “I saw people going through so many real problems, and I kept thinking I was getting bothered by other people’s opinions. That’s no way to live.”
My Mantra, My Affirmations
“I am very big on affirmations. And for me, affirmations don’t mean I am loved; I am bold, etc. Those are like adjectives; affirmations for me have never looked like this. For me, affirmations change every single day. For example, if I am going to the studio today to shoot a video, my affirmations today would be – that I have to make the best possible video because I dreamt of it and worked hard for it. And that’s a huge part of self-love for me.” That’s where Sakshi derives her confidence. Because every morning, she will affirm certain things that are individual to that day and make it the source of her confidence because it’s ultimately believing in yourself that matters the most.
Sakshi highlights that she started with the term body positivity, but she realized and is now slowly moving toward the term body neutrality over the years.
“I have never preached even a single day of my life that you will not feel bad about yourself, or you have to feel positive about yourself every single day. I think it’s imperative to realize that you have to be okay with it, even on your bad days. And if you are having a bad day, you are only human, you should not stay positive, and you should not be forcibly positive about yourself. You don’t have to constantly say that you love yourself in a very toxic, positive way. Even when you’re feeling bad about yourself, some days when I am bloated and I feel like I have gained weight or have got a big pimple on my face right before the shoot, I believe the best way to go forward is to be okay with that.”
Talking more about her approach towards body-neutrality, Sindwani mentions, “I am positive, on the days that I am positive and on the days that I feel some sort of negativity, I am not negative, I am neutral, I accept this. And that, that’s the only thing that sort of matters. I will give myself the time and space to go through every single feeling and know that it doesn’t define how I feel about myself long term. That’s important to me.”
Explaining the reason behind her shift, she points out that, unfortunately, many people took body positivity as an excuse to not work on themselves. “If anybody was following me from the start, know how big I am into fitness and health. I never wanted to ever promote body positivity in a way where you accept yourself, and you stop working on yourself; that’s not healthy, and that’s not self-love at all. Therefore, I stopped identifying with the term body positivity because I felt like people were taking it in the wrong way. I wanted to actually normalize bodies in whatever shape you are.”
I have seen Sakshi grow leaps and bounds each passing year. From her quick fashion videos to walking ramp, being on hoardings, and on Covers, Sakshi is one person who dreams BIG and goes all in to make those dreams happen. Talking about her Mission for 2025, she said, “I think I will take this inclusivity global. I truly believe that I am going to take it to the next step. Instead of working at India Fashion Week, I would love to work at Paris Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week. That’s the dream. I don’t know how successful that will be or not. In the next two or three years, I want to represent the country on a bigger and global platform.” Giving us inside dope about her plans for the next five years, Sakshi mentioned that she also wants to launch a brand that changes how inclusive fashion is seen in our country. “I am waiting for when the time is right, and my knowledge is right. I still feel I have a lot of learning to do before jumping on the bandwagon of launching a brand.” She doesn’t think she is done with the influencer thing just yet and has a lot to achieve as a content creator before she can become a CEO of a full-fledged brand. “I want to do this right now with my whole effort and energy. When I feel I have done my bit in content creation and I want to do something larger and bigger, it is when I will open my brand. And I feel like I will be ready at that point in time.”
She candidly said she has a little bit of growing up to do when it comes to understanding business and understanding the world of starting a brand. “It’s one thing that I have realized is that I never want to do anything on a small scale. I am a very larger-than-life person, and I always want to start things which are also larger than life.”
“Ever since I was a kid, I was always an extravagant person, like I always wanted the best of things. And I always knew that all those best things would come through my own money. I never put pressure on my parents to get me things; I have learned to work hard for it.” Sakshi thanks her parents for having conversations with her about staying humble, the importance of things, and not losing her sane. “Because they have seen every year passing, it is getting crazier and crazier and crazier, so they are constantly telling me not to let things get into the head, and I am here for a bigger purpose, fulfill the purpose. And they’re also constantly telling me that happiness is something that you need to keep on the first seat; whenever you think your business or your work isn’t making you happy or your peace of mind is impacted, you need to take a chill pill. Those words always keep resonating in my head.”
Check out her entire interview here!
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