2018 is coming to an end, and new beginnings are what I look forward to next year. However, I simply could not resist writing about inspiring Indian women this year. These women have spectacularly proven that their skin color and race are not obstacles to achieving their dreams and goals. Here are five of the most inspiring Indian women in 2018 who are making waves with their incredible courage and talents.
An optimist at mind and a dreamer at heart, Tia Bhuva may just seem like your everyday Indian woman, but in reality, she is one of the most successful entrepreneurs this world has ever seen. With her creativity and talent, Tia, who has 191.4 K followers on her Instagram page @tiabhuva, has revolutionized Indian fashion at its best. From her saree silhouette line up to her cancan skirt line up, Tia had never failed South Asian women who wanted to wear the saree while looking modern and chic at the same time. Usually, a petticoat is worn under this 6 yards of sheer elegance, but Tia invented saree silhouettes to enable saree draping to be more comfortable and accessible for the women of the 21st century.
Tia’s Disney princess line was a game changer for her as it became popular in the blink of an eye. It was the perfect blend of tradition and sophistication that was every girl’s dream, especially to an Indian girl like me. It defied the idea that a girl needed to be blonde like Cinderella and have blue eyes like Elsa to be a princess.
This Sri Lankan-born entrepreneur now lives and resides in Toronto as a food buyer by day and an enterprising businesswoman at night. Today, her brand, Tia Bhuva, is a major international brand inspiring women from all around the world in countries like Malaysia, India, Singapore, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
2. Priyanka Chopra
Besides her extravagant wedding to famous singer Nick Jonas, this 36-year-old beauty has found success by making the Forbes 2018 World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list. A former Miss World, Priyanka has not only been a fashion icon but she is arguably the most successful Bollywood actor to cross borders to Hollywood. Starring in ABC’s Quantico as Alex Parrish, Priyanka became the first Indian actor to lead a drama series on American television. The show served as a boost for her self-image and it basically gave loads of confidence to all the Indian girls out there. It served as proof that Indian women could succeed as well as their American peers, especially in the entertainment industry.
When we look at Priyanka’s talent, we should also applaud her philanthropic work. She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and a UN Foundation Girl Up champion. Priyanka also launched the Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education.
Priyanka is also a style icon. From rocking in Ralph Lauren at the Met Gala 2018 to stunning in an elegant Vivienne Westwood suit for the royal wedding to wearing traditional attires with the famous fashion company Sabyasachi, Priyanka’s fashion ensemble never failed to be under the spotlight in every red carpet event.
Besides that, she recently became a tech investor by putting money into dating app, Bumble’s investment fund and Holberton School for software engineering.
This Indian woman is basically the epitome of success and with all the hype on #nickyanka, who knows what else she could achieve?
3. Mani K Jassal
Successful entrepreneur Mani K Jassal is no longer an unfamiliar face in the fashion industry. Since 2014, she’s made waves with her brand MANI JASSAL, which has been worn by major celebrities and influencers like Bebe Rexha, Sangita Patel and Madison Beer. Her brand aims to help women to celebrate the multiple layers of their identity and upbringing, and her pieces display the best of Indian couture with casualness and sophistication that keeps them from being culturally specific. For instance, a blouse that can be paired with an exquisite lehenga skirt for a wedding function or a pair of denims for your everyday casual wear.
Mani’s clothes showcase the versatility of her thoughts as she creates each and every piece with a burst of imagination. In the reality of an Indian woman’s life, there would always be a barrier between ethnic and casual wears. For instance, you can’t be wearing a dinner saree on a day out to the mall and wearing a pair of denims with a crop top would be a huge no-no in an Indian wedding! However, Mani’s designer collections aim to break the barricade between cultural influences and modern mindsets. They are all the rage right now as they enable everyday women to define themselves in their own rebellious and regal ways without abandoning their cultures and traditions that they were brought up into.
You may think that a brand like this wouldn’t go too far as it is demographically based but guess what? You’re absolutely wrong. Mani’s amazing collections have been featured in the Toronto Fashion Week and many other solo shows and this doesn’t just end there. In fact, her designs have also been showcased on red carpets at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Emmy Awards and the MTV Awards. Just recently, Mani Jassal had collaborated with Elle Canada to celebrate the launch of her new store and showroom at Yorkville Village.
4. Diipa Khosla
International law student-turned-fashion influencer, Diipa Khosla has it all. Having a passion for fashion at heart and an intelligent mind that pushes her to greater heights, she definitely has a bright future ahead of her.
Diipa had been gaining quite some popularity as a feminist recently. Why? Well, she had recently tied the knot with her long-time beau, Oleg Büller. Here are the deets: according to the Indian handbook of customs and traditions 101 (just kidding), there are some age-long practices that only involve the bride and not the bridegroom. And most of them promote inequality. For instance, in a typical Indian wedding, the bride is obliged to touch the feet of her bridegroom as a sign of respect. But in Diipa’s case, she took this to a whole new level. Both Oleg and Diipa touched each other’s feet as a sign of mutual respect and shared responsibility as husband and wife. How sweet…?
The next showstopper in her wedding was, of course, her amazing outfits. Her wardrobe consisted of ensembles from Sabyasachi, Ashni Studios and Mani Jassal that were basically lit. Her wedding gained fame too and this is where it gets interesting; her wedding photos and moments and everything about her was featured in Brides Magazine UK. That’s not all! She is now the first Indian fashion influencer to be featured in the cover of Brides Magazine.
Diipa has also collaborated with various brands such as Chopard, TopShop, Aeterna Style, Swarovski, Daniel Wellington and Olay as a model. But wait, there’s more! Recently this year, Diipa had collaborated with Maybelline for its Fit Me! foundation line. Her face was featured in one of the digital billboards in Piccadilly. She even collaborated with MAC Cosmetics this year, and you can purchase her full Indian wedding makeup at select counters in airports all across India and Europe. Diipa’s featured influencer role for MAC is a first for Indian women.
Another blazing great achievement of hers is that she had walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival and the list of her achievements just goes on and on. I sincerely respect Diipa’s sense of independence and courage to reach greater heights and she is by far my most adored fashion guru and my motivation to achieve further myself. Let’s just wait and see what she has to bring in the years to come.
5. Thanuja Ananthan
Thanuja Ananthan isn’t just a former Miss World Malaysia 2009, a model, actor, emcee and TV host – she’s an animal rights ambassador for SPCA Malaysia. For 7 years, Thanuja has been stepping up her game in her mission to stop animal cruelty. Recently, she has collaborated with Malaysian beauty brand Lip & Co to produce 200 sets of limited edition Cruelty-Free Kisses lip kits. Her aim is to raise awareness about the rising issue of animal cruelty and to protect defenseless stray animals against the dilemma. The proceeds from the sale will be channeled to our furry pals at SPCA.
Thanuja often stresses out the need to adopt and not to shop. Reminiscing on her childhood days, Thanuja recalls sneaking out at night to rescue the stray animals when she was younger. When Thanuja was 5, she used to feed and pick up stray kittens while following her mother to their neighbourhood wet market. When she was 10, she rescued a litter of puppies at an abandoned house in their street. She even adopted a dog by the name of Kayabun, whose tail was badly burnt when she first saw it. She also lives with 6 cats, another dog, a rabbit, a turtle, 12 fish and a sugar glider.
Thanuja is also an ambassador of HELP Matriculation Centre’s AniHELP campaign, which opposed cruelty to animals. Who said showbiz turns you into a monster when Thanuja herself had done much help to our furry friends on the streets? I hope to hear more of Thanuja’s future contributions to good causes like this as she is indeed inspiring.
In a nutshell, personalities like these amazing Indian beauties should be recognized on a wider scale and they should be portrayed as an inspiration for many. Women of all walks of life should find pursue their passions without being judged by themselves or by others. The sense of independence and perseverance should be instilled within the minds of younger women instead of the usual “you should be like this…” phrase. Personally, I hope that the achievements of these women would be taken into account as an inspiration for many because we women don’t obey-we slay.