‘I was often ashamed of my body’ – Prajakta Koli
The group of followers she has garnered as a video content creator attests to Prajakta Koli’s prowess in front of the camera, a fact that only gained credibility with her laudable debut act in Netflix’s Mismatched. Koli admits it can be difficult to understand why someone as seemingly fit as her would be concerned about her physical appearance. “As far as I’m concerned, I would often be ashamed of myself,” says the actor-influencer, adding that inhibitions related to her slender physique and skin often prevailed.
During a video chat with us, she pokes fun at the amount of makeup she would put on before appearing in front of the camera at the start of her career as a YouTuber. One day she was too lazy to wear one. “The amount of responses I got from my followers took me by surprise. People wrote to me that it was nice to see me shoot a video like that.” For Koli, restoring her relationship with herself was facilitated through the platform for which she created content. By interacting with her followers, she learned early on about women’s inhibitions and the extent to which they influenced their behavior. Their comments, she says, allowed her to heal herself.
Rather than voicing dissent, she began to treat her body with love, and she knew that a fitness routine was one way to do that. Koli briefly flirted with workout routines for several years, but it wasn’t until the lockdown that she was able to commit to them. “In the outdoor grill, I now travel with my yoga mat. So I know this routine is now becoming part of my lifestyle.”
‘I watch for triggers that lead to my eating poorly’ – Shaheen Bhatt
She may have received rounds of applause for revealing her struggles with depression and repeatedly trying to normalize the discussion around it. But once the cameras are turned off, Shaheen Bhatt’s battle with mental health – and an associated eating disorder – is still completely hers. Her love-hate relationship with food dates back to when she was 13. “Eating disorders are considered mental disorders because our relationship with food is as psychological as it is physical. People need a lot of help with it, and it is something that should be looked at as seriously as we do now with depression.” [Eating excessively] is an issue I’ve dealt with all my life. Even today, I have to pay a tremendous amount of attention to it, ” says the author, adding that between two extremes – binge eating and food shortage – she is now vigilant of triggers pointing her in the wrong direction.
“I consciously work towards normal eating. When I realize that I am eating poorly, I try to find out the reason behind the emotional distress that the action is provoking. People should know that such conditions should be actively addressed. Just as you work to improve. of your relationship with yourself, you can improve your comparison to food. “
Bhatt admits that when her mental health took its toll, she always turned to food to seek comfort. “But I wish I knew then that what I was using to comfort myself was actually a tool to harm myself, if exploited. It took me a while to determine that eating healthy is a sign of self-love. Binge eating isn’t even a significant problem. It’s the psychological damage that follows that is deeper. ”
‘Don’t judge yourself even before others have judged you’ – Shikha Talsania
Before she decided to pursue a career in Bollywood, Shikha Talsania had to make peace with the fact that she would not take any lead roles because she “looked a certain way”. Four years in the business, Talsania says the industry has surprised and shocked her in equal measure. On the one hand, the “fertile period” the industry is currently going through implies that employees look beyond an actor’s physical appeal when casting them for a role. On the other hand, there is an eternal sense of insecurity. “[The bias] there is for sure. [I] hope that [I am] considered for parts that go further [the superficial]. I’ve worked hard to get to a point where I can focus on what I can do instead of what I look like. “
Once she hit a breaking point, the Coolie No 1 actor says a fair amount of the healing happened after she started a conversation with herself. ‘I don’t think too many people do that. But having those conversations helped me. You have to overcome the fear of judgment, and especially the tendency to judge yourself before the world judges you. ‘ She trained her focus on her skills and began to approach characters differently. “I don’t look at characters like [roles that must be played by one who is] thick or thin. That’s the only way I’ve been able to maintain my sanity and enjoy my job. “
Introspection also encouraged her to follow a health routine that would aid in healing. “[I have learnt that] I have to move every day. I focused on getting healthier instead of losing weight. I hope that when I am 80 years old I can touch my toes and get up myself. “
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