Udayavni Special

From fashion to teaching: Story of Nayantara, a 21-yo transwoman

Shivani Kava, Mar 8, 2021, 10:00 AM IST

Nayantara, a 21-year-old transwoman, is a fashion blogger, a teacher, and a freelance artist-relationship consultant. Born as Yogesh to Mangaluru-based parents, she pursued a degree in Media Studies in Mumbai. With starry eyes in her name, she came around to learn that her feminine energy was the core foundation of who she was and she derived her strength from that.

In three years of her showbiz career, Nayantara has been the face of Viacom’s VH1 Supersonic Music Festival 2019’s digital campaign. Talking about her sartorial choices, she has endorsed brands like Nike, Levi’s, Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart, Pepsi, Archana Kochhar, to name a few. Nayantara has appeared on the panels of reputed institutes of India. In addition to this, she has judged various fashion shows in Mumbai.

Talking to Udayavani on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Nayantara mentions, “I think there are so many stereotypes and discrimination pre-op trans women face in most walks of their lives. By this, I don’t mean to belittle the struggles and hardships of post-op trans women and beyond. But, we need to understand that not every trans person wants to medically transition and that’s completely valid. Pre-op trans women are women and we need to move past this harmful debate.”

While prejudices like ‘Fashion models cannot take up intellectual professions’ still exist today, to everyone’s surprise, Nayantara took a liking to teaching, after working in the fashion industry for years. Being a history teacher now, Nayantara aims to educate kids and recalling the school days, “Teaching was always a passion. Back in school, I recollect being tickled pink when a teacher would go on maternity leave because she’d hand over the responsibility of dictating notes to the class to me. I knew I enjoyed teaching and everything about it, ” she mentions.

“After graduation, although I had a good resume and great grades from Uni, many institutes hesitated to hire me because they were ‘scared’ if any problem would arise from the parents of the students about a trans teacher. To add to it, I’m also a fashion blogger and there is a preconceived judgment in the air that I cannot simultaneously work in the field of academics” speaking about the negative notions about the trans community, she further informs, “Nevertheless, I knew I was good in my interviews and presentations. I think it is important to have faith and to believe in yourself. Today I teach history at a high school in Bombay. I soulfully enjoy my profession. I’m currently juggling three jobs- shooting content for brands as a creator on Instagram, artist-coordination, and teaching history. I’ve always said this- ‘I don’t need sympathy, instead I demand equality.’”

“Many a time, I receive compliments from strangers on the Internet, work fraternity, or even friends like ‘Oh you look so pretty like a normal woman’, ‘Really? Can’t make out you’re a trans woman.. you look so gorgeous’ ”

“I don’t know if they realize but these statements are problematic and strengthen the conventional beauty standards that a cis woman is supposed to look a certain way and a trans woman is supposed to look a certain way. Sometimes it’s exhausting! But, we rest under the stars of the mothers before us who fought for our rights. The journey must go on. Our stories matter. Our voices matter.”

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