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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Trapped for years, transgender models Gauri and Shonali are breaking free

Season 2 of HT City Print Fashion Week features transgender models who challenge the traditional notion of beauty

more-lifestyle Updated: Nov 24, 2016 18:14 IST
Shara Ashraf
Shara Ashraf
Hindustan Times
(L-R) Gauri Arora; Transgender model Shonali Gujral.
(L-R) Gauri Arora; Transgender model Shonali Gujral.( )

With his sculpted physique, model Gaurav Arora had a huge fan following. Party organiser Nitesh Raghav, too, was a star in his circle of friends, with girls falling for his rugged, unkempt look. Both Gaurav and Nitesh declared they were women trapped in the men’s bodies, and this at a stage when their career was on an upward swing.

Two months ago, Gaurav became Gauri while Nitesh has been living like a woman for the past seven years as Shonali Gujral. Their parents didn’t approve of their decision, but they didn’t budge. Gauri and Shonali have been through painful surgeries and hormone therapies to look the way they always dreamt. HT City Print Fashion Week (PFW) 2016, which will be published on the pages of HT City from November 23-27, raises a toast to these two transgenders.

“Participating in PFW is a dream come true. I feel great putting on makeup, and wearing lovely outfits. This is the real me,” says 24-year-old Gauri who took part in a TV dating show as a male contestant. Shonali, too, aspires to be a model, but has faced rejection for years. “I couldn’t believe that I had been selected for PFW. It sunk in only when I shot for HT City. I want to tell the world that it’s unfair to snatch my dreams because I don’t conform to gender norms,” says the 26-year-old.

(Left) Gauri Arora as Gaurav; (Right) Gauri Arora after the transformation.

Designers support their debut too. “I’m glad to contribute to the fight against transprejudice. I wish this initiative opens new doors for Gauri and Shonali,” says fashion designer Namrata Joshipura, one of the PFW stalwarts. Ashok Row Kavi, a LGBT rights activist, says, “It’s an innovative way of bringing transgenders into mainstream.”

#shopping day, Wearing @charleskeithofficial bag @asos t-shirt dress @givenchybeauty lips

A photo posted by GAURI ARORA (@gauriarorafficial) on