I met Babita and Suman in Delhi when I was visting India in January 2023. They both love dressing up and I had made a promise to them that I will give them an opportunity to share their story with the World dressed up like a queen in beautiful clothes and jewellery. They both work as a house helps in Delhi. Babita had eloped to Delhi to save herself from her abusive husband and makes a living to give her children an education and a good life. Suman soon followed her sister to make a life for herself too. The whole point of sharing Babita and Suman’s story was to make people see a realistic unfiltered portrayal of beauty. I was hoping for people who see these images and videos to identify with it and feel empowered and happy about how they look.
It’s important to raise awareness about the fact that the false image of beauty we are bombarded with everyday by the media is a lie and it makes us self-loath ourselves. If I have been successful or not I don’t know but at-least I have tried.
As for what they are getting out of this - I will not discuss any commercial details here as that is not anyone’s business but theirs and mine. In terms of emotional fulfilment they feel and look beautiful; for once they do not feel invisible; they feel respected and part of a society which they felt they could never get near to and most importantly they feel loved and appreciated. You might argue and say that all of the above is only for a short period of time , which is true but in that short period I have managed to give them them hope, I have shown them how beautiful they are and I have made them feel loved.
In this series I have styled both the sisters in the following:
Look 1 - Authentic handpainted kalamkari sarees made on a hand-woven pochampally silk base styled with stunning handcrafted Indian ethnic chunky silver jewellery.
Look 2 - Hand embroidered luxurious kanjeevaram silk sarees which have been handwoven with the finest silk by skilled master weavers in Kanchipuram in India.
Look 3 - Hand embroidered red, pink and gold bridal sarees which have been painstakingly hand embroidered using zardozi, mukesh, ari-tari, madodi and mirror work.
Look 4 - Bold, vibrant , soft handwoven chanderi silk sarees with a gold tissue base.