Read about the inspirational woman that is Dr Falguni Vasavada, and her journey as a body-positive content creator, management professor and TEDx speaker!
Walk into Ahmedabad’s MICA – The School of Ideas at 7 AM on a Monday and chances are you’ll bump into Dr. Falguni Vasavada, prepping for her first management class. Dressed in a bright and beautiful sari, contemporarily styled with either a T-shirt blouse or a chunky neckpiece, donning either a grey or green lipstick, Dr Falguni is unmissable.
Honest. Bold. Happy. These are probably the best words to describe the cheerful and confident teacher who also happens to be a TEDx speaker, a body positive influencer, a content creator and blogger, and a firm believer in gender equality.
Her Insta fam of 124K followers is a tribute to her charming hold, not just on her students but on the online world as well.
We spoke with the lecturer-blogger-motivational speaker to get an insight into her world where she breaks every rule! We start with the obvious question: How did it all start?
“I was always a healthy child. I had a broad frame and was always made to feel conscious about it,” she shared.
“While my family was quite body positive, people would comment on my body. They would overlook the fact that I was a gold medalist twice, a bright student, a national level garba artist and instead worry about who would marry me. My confidence took a big hit: I wasn’t proud of owning my body.”
Things, however, changed for her once she started working. “I finally got a taste of financial freedom and the confidence it brings. I met many like-minded people, read a few books and travelled a lot for my research. And I married a body positive person. All of this allowed me to start challenging stereotypes.”
She calls her 40s the period she finally had the courage to revisit beauty norms. “I started experimenting with my clothes, makeup, and my hair. Even got highlights. I started wearing different shades of lipsticks and realised I didn’t need to bog down to society’s unrealistic standards of beauty.”
“I’m a teacher, and I wanted my students to learn these important lessons and be themselves. I decided to lead by example to change things,” she added.
Her journey from body shyness to body positivity also meant that her style changed. Her collection of sarees isn’t what you would see in a regular wardrobe, and the way she styles them adds to the charm.
“A friend and a theatre artist once told me that I’m not a typical blogger, rather a fashion activist,” she shared with a laugh. One look at her Instagram profile and it’s not hard to see why.
A myriad of colourful drapes, chunky jewellery and bold lipstick colours — you’ll end up saving every one of her posts either for style inspiration, body positive motivation, or both.
“I was always interested in fashion and styling, and now, it comes naturally to me,” she told us when we asked her about her style inspirations. “When I was a kid, I used to go to local tailors to get clothes stitched since it was hard to find my size in Rajkot. Even today I’d rather go to a tailor than visit a boutique. I’ve always had my clothes custom-made.” Styled with bold lipstick shades, Dr Falguni’s fashion sense is a perfect expression of her personality.
“I refuse to follow stereotypes. Who decides what a teacher should dress like or what a housewife should do?” she pondered aloud.
We shifted the conversation to fashion and asked her for styling tips. Taking a cue from one of her favourite designers — Masaba Gupta — she tells us to keep comfort a priority. “I am a no-frill fashion blogger. I’d suggest two simple rules: First, to take away the complexity of wearing a sari. Style it with a T-shirt, a crop top, anything; don’t suffocate your body. Mix and match, and be comfortable. Second, drape it however you feel comfortable. In India, we have many rules for wearing the sari: the Bengali drape, the Gujarati drape. Forget that and follow what is comfortable.”
We asked her about her Instagram fam, which grows on a daily basis thanks to her styling tips and motivational content. She says her only focus is on keeping things real. “If that leads to fun, great! But my focus has always been on being genuine.”
And how does she deal with the occasional bad day? “The important thing is to acknowledge that I am in a bad mood today. I talk to my support system or people I like to call my ‘beanbags’ (the people I crash on). I have a conversation with my mother, my husband and get it out of my system. Secondly, I have my mechanisms — go shopping, do something fun on Instagram or hang out with my nieces.”
“Acknowledging that you are having a bad day, and need a day off is essential. Women feel so guilty when taking a holiday. They should know it’s okay to take time for themselves and not just for their family,” she said.
We ended the interview with one last question: how does she stay so positive? “I’ll share what has helped me. Count your blessings and compare your life to people who have it harder than you; not Neeta Ambani,” she said with a laugh and headed off to a day filled with management classes, IGTV conversations, and lots of fashion inspiration! Her day had just begun.