My idea is to foster confidence and acceptance among individuals of all shapes and sizes: Hardeep Arora

Q. Hello Hardeep, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Can you share with us some of the strategies you employed to overcome the challenges you faced due to your height? A. Absolutely. Firstly, I recognized that while height might be a factor, it doesn’t define my abilities or potential. Instead of dwelling on what […]

Q. Hello Hardeep, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Can you share with us some of the strategies you employed to overcome the challenges you faced due to your height?
A. Absolutely. Firstly, I recognized that while height might be a factor, it doesn’t define my abilities or potential. Instead of dwelling on what I couldn’t change, I focused on what I could control – my skills, dedication, and attitude. I immersed myself in my passion for dance, continuously refining my craft and seeking opportunities to showcase my talent. Additionally, I surrounded myself with a supportive network of family, friends, and mentors who believed in me and encouraged me to persevere despite any setbacks.

Q. Can you elaborate on the role your family played in supporting your journey, and how their encouragement influenced your success?
A. My family has been my rock throughout my journey. They provided unwavering support, believing in my potential even when I doubted myself. Their encouragement gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams relentlessly. Whether it was attending dance classes, participating in competitions, or facing challenges in the industry, knowing that I had their unconditional support kept me motivated and determined. Their belief in me instilled a sense of responsibility to make them proud, which fueled my drive to succeed.

Q. Can you share a bit about your childhood and what led you to pursue dancing?
A. Absolutely. My childhood was an eclectic mix of curiosity, creativity, and boundless energy. Growing up in a bustling household filled with music and laughter, I was naturally drawn to the world of rhythm and movement. From a young age, I found solace and joy in the art of dance. Whether it was swaying to the tunes of Bollywood songs blaring from the radio or choreographing impromptu routines with friends.

Q. What was a significant moment or experience in your journey as a dancer?
A. Of course. One pivotal moment that stands out in my journey as a dancer was when I decided to audition for “Dance India Dance Season 2”. It was a nerve-wracking yet thrilling experience. However, what made it truly unforgettable was the fact that I was battling a high fever on the day of the audition. Despite feeling weak and uncertain, I was determined not to let this opportunity slip away. With sheer grit and determination, I mustered the strength to give it my all.

Q. That must have been quite a journey. How did your journey progress after that?
A. Following my selection in Dance India Dance Season 2, my journey took me on a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. While I faced rejection during the Mumbai rounds due to my height, I refused to let setbacks define me. Instead, I used them as stepping stones to propel myself forward. I immersed myself in rigorous training, honing my skills and refining my craft. With unwavering determination and resilience, I eventually carved a niche for myself in the world of dance.

Q. How did your experience with the Delhi fashion show change your perspective on your career path?
A. The Delhi fashion show served as a turning point for me. It made me realize that there’s more to the fashion industry than just walking the ramp. Witnessing the behind-the-scenes work and coordination sparked my interest in event management and showcasing talent, leading me to explore avenues beyond just dance.

Q. What motivated you to start teaching dance in Ludhiana, and how did that lead to opportunities in fashion events?
A. Teaching dance in Ludhiana was a natural progression for me. As I interacted with students and shared my knowledge, I saw the potential to create larger platforms for showcasing talent. This eventually led me to collaborate with colleges and schools, organizing events and laying the groundwork for my involvement in fashion shows.

Q. Could you elaborate on your role in organizing the fashion show for the Ludhiana Club and subsequently assisting with the Mrs. Punjab event?
A. My role in organizing the fashion show for the Ludhiana Club was a fulfilling experience. Working closely with designers, I helped conceptualize themes and execute the event seamlessly. This success caught the attention of organizers from the Mrs. Punjab event, where I was invited to assist. It was a privilege to contribute to such prestigious events and witness the participants shine on stage.

Q. Could you share some insights into your experience of participating in fashion events, particularly in terms of representing plus-size females and promoting body positivity?
A. Participating in fashion events as a representative of plus-size females has been both empowering and rewarding. It’s an opportunity to challenge traditional beauty standards and promote body positivity on a larger platform. Through my involvement, I aim to inspire confidence and self-acceptance among women of all body types, showcasing the beauty and diversity that exists within the fashion industry. By advocating for inclusivity and representation, I hope to contribute to a more inclusive and accepting environment within the fashion world, where all individuals feel valued and celebrated for who they are.

Q. Can you elaborate on the journey you’ve described, from the inception of acceptance in a different zone to the emergence of clothing brands catering to plus-size individuals?
A. Certainly. The journey began with a notable shift in acceptance within a distinct zone, signaling the gradual emergence of clothing brands targeting plus-size individuals. Initially, when we started Season One, we struggled to find designers willing to provide appropriate clothing, facing challenges in locating designs that catered to our needs. Previously, simple options were scarce, and even basic shirts were difficult to find in our size. The struggle was significant, as we had to ensure that even the simplest of garments would fit us appropriately, often requiring alterations to accommodate our sizes. However, over time, there has been a noticeable change in the market, with brands beginning to offer options tailored to plus-size individuals.

Q. What were the main obstacles you encountered while seeking clothing options that catered to your size, and how did you navigate through them?
A. The journey towards finding clothing options suitable for our sizes was fraught with challenges. Initially, the lack of availability posed a significant obstacle, as designers seldom offered designs that accommodated larger sizes. This scarcity meant that even basic items like shirts were difficult to come by, forcing us to rely on alterations to make do with the limited options available. Overcoming these obstacles required perseverance and determination. We actively sought out brands that prioritized inclusivity and representation, advocating for our needs within the fashion industry. Through networking and collaboration, we were able to raise awareness and encourage brands to expand their offerings to cater to plus-size individuals, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive and diverse fashion landscape.

Q. Reflecting on the evolution of the fashion industry and the increased representation of plus-size individuals, what do you envision for the future of inclusive fashion?
A. The evolution of the fashion industry towards greater inclusivity represents a significant step forward in promoting diversity and representation. Looking ahead, I envision a future where inclusivity is not just a trend but a fundamental principle guiding the industry. This future entails continued collaboration between brands and advocates to ensure that clothing options are accessible to individuals of all sizes and body types. Ultimately, the future of inclusive fashion lies in embracing diversity and championing inclusivity as core values, paving the way for a more equitable and representative industry.

Q. How important do you think promoting plus-size models is for building confidence in women?
A. Promoting plus-size models is incredibly important for building confidence in women. It sends a powerful message that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. By showcasing diverse body types, it challenges unrealistic beauty standards and encourages women to embrace and celebrate their uniqueness. This positive representation fosters a sense of inclusivity and boosts the confidence of women who may not conform to traditional beauty norms.

Q. In your experience, how has the entertainment industry evolved in terms of casting for different body types, especially in the context of plus-size actors?
A. The entertainment industry has gradually evolved in its approach to casting, recognizing the importance of diversity, including different body types. There’s a growing awareness of the need for authentic representation, and this extends to plus-size actors. While there is still progress to be made, there are instances where plus-size actors are getting meaningful roles beyond stereotypes. This shift is positive, as it reflects a more inclusive and realistic portrayal of individuals, contributing to a broader and richer storytelling landscape.

Q. What challenges do plus-size individuals face in the fashion and modeling industry, and how can these challenges be addressed?
A. Plus-size individuals often face challenges in the fashion and modeling industry due to persistent stereotypes and limited opportunities. One major issue is the lack of representation, leading to a scarcity of role models for those with diverse body types. To address these challenges, the industry needs to actively promote inclusivity, featuring plus-size models prominently in campaigns and runway shows. Additionally, designers and brands should expand their size ranges to cater to a broader audience, challenging the conventional standards and promoting a healthier body image.

Q. Do you believe there has been a positive shift in societal perceptions regarding beauty standards, particularly with the acceptance of diverse body shapes and sizes?
A. Yes, there has been a positive shift in societal perceptions regarding beauty standards. Increasingly, there is a rejection of narrow and unrealistic ideals, with more emphasis on celebrating diverse body shapes and sizes. This change is reflected in media, advertising, and popular culture, where the narrative around beauty is becoming more inclusive. While challenges persist, the growing acceptance of diverse beauty standards is a step in the right direction, promoting a healthier and more realistic understanding of what beauty truly encompasses.

Q. Can you share your approach to balancing your love for food with your desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
A. Balancing my love for food with a healthy lifestyle is essential to me. While I thoroughly enjoy indulging in Punjabi delicacies and street food, I also prioritize regular workouts and portion control. Additionally, I often prepare my meals at home to ensure they are nutritious and wholesome.

Q. How do you view the role of street food in experiencing a city’s culture, and could you share some memorable street food encounters from your travels?
A. Street food plays a crucial role in immersing oneself in a city’s culture, providing a taste of local flavors and traditions. During my travels, I’ve had numerous memorable encounters with street food, from devouring golgappas in Chandigarh to relishing momos in Ludhiana. Each experience has added depth to my understanding of the places I visit.

Q. Reflecting on your journey as a plus-size advocate and body positivity influencer, what motivates you to continue spreading awareness and empowering others?
A. My journey as a plus-size advocate and body positivity influencer has been deeply rewarding, driven by a passion to challenge societal norms and inspire self-love. I am motivated by the impact I can make in fostering confidence and acceptance among individuals of all shapes and sizes. With every post and interaction, I aim to empower others to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate themselves unapologetically.