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Posted at: Jul 8, 2018, 3:20 AM; last updated: Jul 8, 2018, 3:20 AM (IST)

A big plus

One of the first plus-size South Asian models Bishamber Das, in Chandigarh, shares how a troubled childhood could not deter her spirit to succeed
A big plus
ON THE RAMP: Bishamber Das(centre) is flanked by contestants of Ms Plus Size North India-Season II

Mona

Why is it that a plus-size woman gets a role only in comedy films? So that people can laugh at her? These are some of the questions that have always troubled Bishamber Das, one of the first plus-size South Asian models, who wants to make moves in the Punjabi industry next.

A judicial magistrate in UK, Bishamber got into modelling some four years back and there has been no stopping her. Unfortunately, the society is yet to accept women of different sizes or colour. And, she is out to challenge the stereotype and make place for women just like her!

Stormy past

In Chandigarh, on Friday, as an ambassador for Ms Plus Size North India-Season II, she opened up on her past – growing up with an alcoholic father, domestic violence, which led her to seek solace in food. “Many in my position turn to alcohol or drugs. I couldn’t because my mother was already struggling with it due to my dad; the only thing I could abuse was food.” When her weight grew, bullying was the order of the day. “It was like nobody could see past my physical appearance,” shares Bishamber.

A judicial career in place, she decided to address it all by competing in a beauty pageant. “The size-zero models would go, ‘Ae moti aithe ki kar rayi hai’and I would feel like giving up, but I managed to stick to my goal.”

Today, not only does she have plenty of shows around the world, but fashion brands send her outfits because she has a massive following. “Plus-size fashion is a million pounds industry now,” she says.

Balancing act

Eight years into judiciary and four in modelling, she’s been managing both worlds well. Bishamber is happy to inspire women who don’t fit the accepted standards of ‘beauty’. Despite being in the modelling industry, Bishamber dresses rather conservatively. “Maybe that’s where I lag behind my competitors but I would stick to the culture I grew up in,” says the girl born and raised in UK to a Punjabi mother and Malaysian father.

mona@tribunemail.com

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