Colors of Courage: Meet Tanvi Ravishankar who battled an eating disorder to triumph as a model & choreographer

Tanvi Geetha Ravishankar inspires us with her story of how self-acceptance comes before body positivity.

Updated on May 27, 2022 12:23 PM IST  |  335.8K
Tanvi Ravishankar
Colors of Courage: Meet Tanvi Ravishankar who battled an eating disorder to triumph as a model & choreographer
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Growing up, Tanvi never worried about her appearance or struggled with self-love. “Body positivity is not something I achieved but is something that I am born with, because I've never had any issues with my body image, even as a child. I had no idea there was a term for it until I started blogging; prior to that, I had never struggled with it.” Tanvi confesses that she was a very active child and confidence was something she possessed naturally. She says, “My mother always told me, ‘Don't worry about your appearance; worry about your studies. Looks will fade away in time.’ She not only says it, but she also embodies it.

Tanvi during her childhood days

Speaking fondly of her clan, she says, “My family is from South India. I am surrounded by artistic family members who are also academically accomplished. So, I moved to Bombay after finishing my engineering degree from Pune to pursue my dream of becoming a professional dancer.”

Unfortunately, we still live in a world where many determine our worth by the size of our bodies, rather than our talents and abilities. Indeed, Tanvi was distressed on being turned down by the academy. “Despite the fact that I was much thinner than I am now, weighing 20 kg less, the academy wanted me to lose even more weight. I literally starved myself; at the time, I had no idea that I was suffering from an eating disorder, and no one had ever told me that I was.

Tanvi dancing

“I would eat and then puke up whatever I had consumed. After a full day of dancing and working out at the gym, return home and eat two boiled eggs. I was definitely losing weight this way because I was working out for 12-14 hours a day, and I lost about 25 kgs. However, it was extremely unhealthy,” she rues.

It was 2011 when a dance academy asked her to leave the programme because of her weight. “There was no awareness of mental health at the time, but I believe I was depressed because I lacked the energy and mental strength to do anything. I used to work so hard to lose weight. There are so many others who lack my passion, fire, or even talent. My mentor used to tell me ‘Tanvi, you have 99 out of 100 things a dancer needs; all you need is a body’,” she recalls explaining that they didn't want to risk featuring her because she was fat.

lakme fashion week

Life soon took a turn for the better, as Tanvi’s passion for fashion and styling led her to Lakme Fashion Week, where she discovered her calling. For their first plus-size fashion show, Tanvi Geetha Ravishankar was among the 10 internet-breaking fashionistas who strutted down the ramp. “When I first met people at Lakme Fashion Week, I met girls who look a lot like me, but once I started talking to them, I realised that they have been struggling with their bodies for years and years, and they are still struggling. They are not allowed to do certain things or wear certain clothes that I consider to be basic, such as sleeveless t-shirts or shorts,” she laments.

Tanvi as a blogger

This prompted Tanvi to blog about her journey to body positivity and encourage other women to gain confidence in their bodies. Accolades soon followed as she won the Cosmopolitan BodyLove Influencer 2022. However, life isn't always rosy, as Tanvi has dealt with her share of disappointments and failures.

She admits, “I get trolled every day, and a woman can only take so much in a day. So, when I find myself in a downward spiral due to social media's overwhelming nature, I take a week off to disconnect and focus on my personal life,” sighs Tanvi adding that she never allowed positive or negative comments to bring her joy or sadness. “People's comments or the lens through which they view you, should never have an impact on you or change who you are.”

self love and acceptance

Speaking of self-acceptance for those who struggle with their body, she says, "Our body’s job is to keep us alive and moving. So, stop expecting it to look a certain way. You are amazing and beautiful and deserve all the love, respect and care just as you are. We need to stop seeking validation from others and rather accept and be content with ourselves … the external love will come I’m on its own,” she concludes.

Also Read: Colours of Courage: Meet Nick and Sayantika, the lesbian couple who are changing the way the world sees love

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