Mahalakshmi Mahadevappa (26) is the first differently-abled model in India who has paved way for inclusion of her fellow people into the fashion industry. An engineering graduate who chose to be an Executive at a BPO for profession, Mahalakshmi has broken the barriers that the society had confined her to. Hailing from a village Gangavati in Karnataka, she has made her mark in Chennai with her astounding confidence and works.
She was featured in a jewellery ad shoot, posing in different angles. Throughout the ad, one could not identify that she is a polio survivor. The ad revealed her in a wheelchair in the end to inspire other differently-abled women. Speaking to Careerindia about her journey as a model, she unveils her career and beauty secrets.
Mahalakshmi's first venture into modelling was through a ramp walk in a Madras Fashion Show. This gave her modelling offer from designer Shalini Visakan who was looking for one such candidate.
"People tell you what you could do and cannot do. But it is ultimately you who have to decide what you want. I was initially sceptical. It just took me one step to say yes to the offer," she says.
The 26-year-old beauty pageant calls real beauty as confidence. "People always go by external looks. But the real beauty is inner as it draws you to success. It might take few years to achieve. For me, it took 26 years. I did not imagine it earlier but now, I believe wholeheartedly in the power of hope. True beauty is the confidence one carries. Someday, I would be someone who everyone recognises."
Mahalakshmi's outlook on life changed drastically after taking up modelling. "Earlier I was hesitant to call myself a model. But after this ad shoot I'm confident and I feel special. I can face anything and achieve more. I now love to pose and being photographed," she eagerly says.
"Focus on doing the best than being perfect, because nobody is perfect. Being comfortable with who you are matters more than anything," she concludes with her message for aspiring models.