Fashion

The Right Angle

Me, to anyone who’s ever taken my picture, “can I stand on this side? Cause that’s my right angle.”

Before you start to think this is going to be some sob story about how I’ve overcome some traumatic experiences of bullying of some kind, let me stop you right there. This is a happy post. A post about how like every other girl, I too have my share of insecure moments, and how I’ve learnt to love myself because of things that I once thought were imperfections, not in spite of them.

When I first started blogging, I’d wear shorts with everything. I slowed it down a lot because I just didn’t want to hear anymore of the nasty comments. But I don’t want to hide my legs anymore. In Trishala’s words, “Thunder thighs? More like wonder thighs!” (Dress- Lovebirds ; Tulle skirt- Dior)

Growing up as a chubby tomboy with acne prone skin and a hairy body wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Puberty was tough and boys were mean. Even though I absolutely love what I do, being in a line of work that requires you to put yourself out there every single day in a world full of keyboard warriors can get pretty brutal.

This one’s something I still struggle with, but maybe because of Nikhil’s styling and direction, and Vijit being behind the lens, I actually love how my arms look in the picture. (Reversible coat, Shirt- Pero ; Dress- Shift)

“You look old” “Is this supposed to be pretty?” “Cellulite!!!” “Thunder thighs!” “Fake!” is now casual reading for me.

Don’t get me wrong, for every negative comment out there, I’ve received twice as much love from my followers. That’s what’s given me the confidence and encouragement to overcome my insecurities to a great extent. I was a shy and self-conscious girl all my life, and it’s been my career choice that’s made me secure enough to block out the hate and own it. It’s given me a platform to express myself in so many ways, and today, it’s let me draw inspiration from my body insecurities, show them for what they are, no makeup, no photoshop, nothing.

For a big part of my life, I never got out of the house without at least 4 inch heels thanks to opinions like “Sundar hai, lekin height choti hai.”, “You’re not as tall as you look in pictures!”, screw you height shamers! Ima wear sneakers everywhere. (Jumpsuit- Payal Khandwala ; Slip- Pero)

Nikhil (creative director and stylist for this project) and I go way back. He was always that kind of student in college who would start working on a submission one night before, show up on the day with the best work in class, and leave us all dumbstruck.

Even today, he’s one of the most creative people I know. He has that ability to see the beauty in things no one else can and create something amazing out of literally nothing. Which is why when I thought of the idea, I knew I had to work with him. Collaborating with him on this shoot was as effortless as it was back in college 12 years ago. He took my initial idea and envisioned it better than I ever could. He took the lead in creating exactly what he imagined, right from the idea of not re-touching the pictures, to no makeup and tying my hair to a string, he really got me out of my comfort zone for this one.

Nikhil’s thoughts…

I have driven to college with Shereen for two years and we always fooled around in class shooting each other for the strange projects we made, so it was nice to come back and be working together on this. We treated it just like things back in college, simple and natural without trying too hard.

I was never aware of the fact that I had a long nose until girls in my school first started teasing me, then in college it was all about “are you sure you want to get your nose pierced? You might not want it to attract attention.” Subtle, right? (Pleated ruffle top- AM.IT by Amit Aggarwal

It felt almost natural to work with her insecurities about her body, I like odd things about models and people, so I thought highlighting these could be an exciting concept for me, and a challenge for Shereen to look at them as assets going forward. I always think your most peculiar feature is your best one. So, her longish nose has no better angle to be shot in but in full profile where you see the length and shape of it. Clearly, that’s what makes it special, it’s not like anyone else’s.

Now this is where shit gets really serious. It’s never been more about the “right” angle than it is when it come to the mighty double chin. I’d be lying if I said that I was completely over this, I’ve lost count of how many beauty or close-up shoots I’ve turned down because of being told that I don’t have the perfect jawline.

I wanted the pictures to not be edited at all, with full focus on these parts that she usually hides. We went with this soft natural light and styled her in these nice dusty colors from Indian designers; Lovebirds, Pero, Shift, Payal Khandwala, Amit Aggarwal and Runaway bicycle.

I realized while shooting with her, she’s still the same funny, kind of shy and strange girl. All the things I liked about her. Only difference is, now she’s married and runs a successful blogging empire, still loves pink and wants to invent pink cigarettes.

Styling and creative direction by Nikhil D.

Photography by Vijit Gupta

Beauty direction by Seher Ahmed

Fashion Assitant-  Yvonne Monteiro and Prateek Kumar