People: The unusual case of Uorfi Javed
During the rapid fire round on a recent episode of Koffee with Karan, when asked who would have a nightmare about repeating an outfit too soon, actor Ranveer Singh replied, ‘Uorfi Javed, she’s a fashion icon’.
Singh is Javed’s own fashion icon and his statement is a sort of validation and much-needed morale boost for the oft-trolled 25-year-old actor and model.
“When people told me, I couldn’t believe it. I thought he must have criticised me or made fun of something, but he was actually praising me,” says Javed.
Javed’s initial fears of criticism don’t seem invalid. She is nearly always trolled for her DIY outfit choices, and has even received death threats. As an actor, she has been on shows including Meri Durga, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and Kasautii Zindagii Kay, and became a social media sensation with her appearance in Big Boss OTT (2021). But it’s her fashion choices that have been keeping her in the news: Javed has been recreating iconic pieces and current couture favourites, including Versace, Nensi Dojaka, Miu Miu and even vintage YSL, as DIY outfits.
‘A rising sun’
It all started at her home in Lucknow where she didn’t have access to great brands, she explains. “I would cut up T-shirts and make crop tops and off-shoulder tube tops. Life back there was boring—in caps! When I came to Mumbai, I thought ‘this can be life!’ Girls can go out at two in the morning, they drink and party with friends. We didn’t even have malls in Lucknow for the longest time,” laments Javed.
Her thrifty nature and garment-making skills came in handy when designers refused to provide her with clothes for events.
“Now, I don’t even ask them for outfits. A lot of designers will say that people troll her and it will be an insult. So, I said f*** it, I am going to make all my outfits,” she says proudly.
But today, brands often reach out to her and she recites a couplet about her current situation, ‘Salaam ugte hue Suraj ko he kia jaata hai’ [Salutations are offered only to the rising sun].
Javed’s stylist is Shweta Srivastav, a friend from Lucknow, and together they create mood boards, scouting Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.
“If I see something and it clicks, we start experimenting with different fabrics and figure how we can execute a look in our own way. I experiment a lot. I fail a lot too. It’s trial and error,” says Javed.
While she used to upload how-to videos for her outfits, she has now stopped doing so. “I had no idea what I was doing earlier. I am still discovering my love for DIY. But I don’t want to reveal my secrets so I don’t post anymore. Also, who really wants a DIY for a razor dress?” she laughs, referring to her recent recreation of the iconic razor blade dress worn by Blondie’s lead vocalist, Debbie Harry.
How does she motivate herself after so much hate? Like a true Cardi B fan (she also loves Nicki Minaj), she says, “By looking at my bank account. If it looks good to me, I am good.”
It’s not all hate though, for the actor. She says that she has been praised by influencer Komal Pandey, and several stylists and influencers message her words of appreciation too. “With the amount of hate I receive, if a known person from the industry supports me, it’s like they are giving me some kind of validation. Everyone is trolling me, hating me, or making fun of me otherwise,” she says.
Netizens even question her airport looks, often accusing her of being there just to get clicked when she’s actually travelling for professional shoots. “Why should I go to the airport when I can call the media and get clicked anywhere? Even if I do, what’s the problem? People just have nothing logical to say,” she says.
Her name attracts extra hate and very often, there are there are rape threats and brutal moral policing in her comments section. “I am not answerable to anyone. Anything that looks good on me is my style and I will dress according to my mood. It can be skinny jeans, a bodysuit or a sari. Would you really ask a male actor like Ranveer why he’s showing his chest all the time? Why are girls questioned? I love my body and am proud of it. I have a great pair of boobs, and a very good waist and I want to show it off. Period,” she says.
From HT Brunch, July 30, 2022
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