A chance meeting turns a girl from a Mumbai slum into a teen model and internet influencer

By Himanshi Kamani

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Three years in the past, a curious American vacationer was wandering via a waterfront slum in Mumbai and met a smiling little woman.

Malisha Karua is now 15, nonetheless petite, with the identical triumphant smile, and her household nonetheless lives on a trash-strewn seashore, however now additionally they lease a one-room condo, with its personal rest room and working water, only a brief distance away. Keep away.

In March, Indian luxurious cosmetics model Forest Necessities tapped Malisha because the face of its Yuvati marketing campaign, which celebrates younger Indian ladies.

Earlier than that, she graced the duvet of Cosmopolitan India with the slogan “Braveness! Braveness! Braveness!”

Malisha hopes that these successes will function a springboard to work as a mannequin or dancer, though she intends to concentrate on her research till she finishes her research.

“I really feel good, as a result of I look totally different on digital camera and in actual life,” Malisha informed a Reuters photographer in her house surrounded by partitions coated with posters.

“Now lots of people acknowledge me and take photos. I really feel happy with myself at that second,” she stated, earlier than including that some days she seems like folks take too many photos.

Its story has been in comparison with the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, set in Mumbai.

Her achievement displays a gradual change in attitudes in a rustic the place promoting, standard tradition and Bollywood movies glorify truthful pores and skin as the best of magnificence.

Forest Necessities should have seen one thing just like what Robert Hoffman did, when the American actor and choreographer posted movies on Instagram and YouTube of time spent with the woman and her household in 2020.

Well mannered and well mannered, Malisha speaks in a contented voice, belying the hardships she has recognized, having misplaced her mom at an early age and leaving her father to juggle his day job whereas elevating two kids.

Realizing the facility of the Web, Hoffman helped her launch a “Go Fund Me” marketing campaign.

Since then, Malisha has change into a social media influencer, utilizing the hashtag “slum princess” in a few of her posts. Ultimately depend, her Instagram account had 367,000 followers, and rising.

(Reporting by Himanshi Kamani; Writing by Tanvi Mehta; Enhancing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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