Is fairness the yardstick of beauty? Ok, forget that. How do you define beauty? Still wondering? Then look no further than this young woman for answers. She might raise several eyebrows in that context for a section of Malayalees. Keralites aren’t going to forget this 16-year-old Kajal Jenith in a hurry.
This Thiruvanthapuram plus one student redefined the traditional Kerala beauty standards when she appeared on the cover of Vanitha Magazine. For someone who was always taunted and mocked for her skin tone, she was able to make a mark in a field that was considered the fiefdom of fair people, fashion photography. She learnt to convert the criticisms into positive energy.
Today she is also ruling the bodybuilding field. She recently won a gold medal at Thiruvanthapuram’s District Women’s Body Building contest. Ask her what constitutes a woman’s beauty, and she has an answer for you— “confidence”.
Hard work paid off
I have been doing wrestling since 3rd grade and was trained by National coach Sathish sir. It was during Covid time that I started training for bodybuilding since I couldn’t do wrestling practice. To retain my stamina I started going to the gym. It was while working out at Varkala’s New Fitness Fist Gym that I heard about this body-building competition. That’s how I joined the competition in Thiruvanthapuram.
When I started practicing, I was about 65 kilos. For two months I went through rigorous training and followed a strict diet. After the third month, I joined the competition. Initially, I found it difficult as I am someone who loved food and hated dieting. But once I found my focus it was easier to work towards my goal. Since classes were online, I got a lot of time for training.
Though once the school reopened, I didn’t get enough time, I still made time for this. I managed to get good marks for my board exams too. Currently, I am studying for plus one at Varkala’s Kappil govt school. I am happy that my dream has finally been fulfilled. I am elated to win the first prize in District Women’s Body Building contest.
If you have the will and hard work, you can gain anything in life. And during this occasion, I would like to thank my coaches, Helen Shiva and Praveen Kumar.
Modelling is not anyone’s fiefdom
Everyone has the right to live according to how they want. We don’t really need to live according to how others are telling us. Our life is our own. Do things that make you happy. No job is anyone’s fiefdom.
There are a lot of women out there who are scared to venture into the field of modelling, bodybuilding, and sports due to what society will think of them. According to me women should come forward and fulfill their dreams. Their days of living in fear are over. Never step back from chasing your dreams.
Always wanted to be a chef
I always wanted to be a chef. That’s when modelling came my way. Though I am getting offers, because of my studies I am not getting enough time to take them up. Having said that whenever I get good offers, I won't hesitate to take them.
I actually want to pursue hotel management after plus two and become a chef. Of course, I intend to do modelling as well as bodybuilding along with it. My next stop is the state championship. I want to win that title as well and I will try my best.
I don’t give an ear to criticism
Education is what is most important in life. And everyone deserves to receive good education. There are still people who are kept away from the mainstream based on beauty, social status, religion, money, and caste. If you get higher education, followed by a good job, that’s like half of our problems being taken care of.
That’s enough impetus to take up any challenges in life. That’s also the best answer to offer to those who have always ignored you. Let’s do things we like and let's gather all the strength in the world to pursue that. Follow our dreams, ignore criticisms and face your world with your head high.
Let me be who I am
Initially, I used to feel bad when people would comment on my skin tone. But then I started taking it in my stride. I hated being stared at. But now I am glad that people are recognising me. All the criticism and taunts that I grew up listening to gained me immeasurable strength. I started taking negative and positive comments constructively. It was my parents who stood by me like the rock of Gibraltar.
My father is working abroad. But my mother is there for everything. I am their only child and they have always told me to do what I like. Our people still discriminate against me on the basis of my skin tone. But I have decided to own up to what I am. That’s why when I was called for a photo shoot, I insisted that they should capture me as I am. When I was a small kid, I hated being photographed. But now that is a career option for me. I keep telling my makeup artist not to lighten my skin tone. Thankfully modelling has been a nice experience so far as they have always presented me as I am. That photoshoot was a great source of encouragement for those who were always discriminated against on the basis of their skin tone.
Confidence is the key
If you ask me a woman’s beauty is in her confidence, not her skin tone or looks. Beauty is in confidently living the life you want. If you want to gain that confidence, first you have to love yourself and believe in your abilities. Never tolerate anyone who classifies you on the basis of your gender or skin colour. We should find our own path. Experience has taught me that if you pursue anything with confidence, you are going to win it.
Let girls do what they want
It's all about doing things we like. Not that you will always win. But with confidence, you can always get what you want. Ignore society’s loose talk. The first step towards gaining independence is to get good education. I think girls should pursue higher education and get good jobs. Any conversation about women shouldn’t be restricted to a women’s day. They should be celebrated every day. Never allow anyone to pull you down. Important thing is to find that talent that is there in every single person in this world. Never give up. Let your life be an example for others to emulate.