India's first transsexual model goes international
"I was born a boy but I always felt like a female trapped in a male body. That is why I decided to undergo a sex change. I always wanted to be part of the glamour world as a woman," says Delhi-based Chawla, who will feature in an episode of UTV Bindass’s show Emotional Atyachaar.
Chawla is also a stylist and claims she has walked at the Milan fashion week last year, though her journey hasn’t been easy. "I come from a orthodox family and they did not talk to me for five years when I told them I wanted a sex change. I went through hell. I never had a good life as a man."
Chawla, who has walked the ramp for several Delhi designers including designer duo Kapil-Monika, and some leading jewellery brands, says clients have had a mixed response to the prospect of her modelling for them. "My first ramp show was in 2010, and no one got to know I had my sex changed. Those who knew were shocked. Some sarcastically said, "Ab tu model banegi! (now you want to be a model)."
On the TV show, she will be seen conducting a ‘loyalty test’ on her boyfriend Nirbhay, a model. "We met at a shoot. He knows everything about my past," she says. Some time soon, she wishes to write an autobiography. Her views on Brazilian transgender model Lea T? "I am proud of her; it takes courage to get there."
Fashion circle stands divided on seeing her on the ramp
It’s the right attitude, walk, looks and height that matter, nothing else
-Sunil Sethi, FDCI president
So what if she’s transsexual, if her work’s good, I won’t mind her walking for me
-Nida Mahmood, designer
I didn’t know that she is transsexual. If I knew, I wouldn’t have let her model
Kapil Arora, designer