It is not everyday you come across a person who is so inspirational with their struggles, honesty, and talent that you want to be a catalyst in their storytelling. However, that is exactly what I felt when I talked to Aizya Joshi, India’s first transgender model and cover girl (Tehelka 2016). Other than holding the titles of Ms. Elite Global Earth, Ms. Queen of the Globe 2017, etc, she is also a United Nations Ambassador, a social activist, and a pageant guru and director. Now she is taking her success international after winning Miss World Diversity 2017.
When things are looking (somewhat) up for the transgender community in India, it is people like her who can well be considered the accelerators of change. However, it is her personal story and struggle that makes her more distinguished. Born in a conservative Hind-muslim family, she suffered with her identity throughout her childhood. Like many, sadly, se was a victim of child abuse, bullying, and constant rejection. Just at the tender age of 14 she started working backstage for famous designers like Sunder Verma, Rohit Bal, Ravi Bajaj, Payal Jain and Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla. However, it wasn’t till much later in life that she took to the front stage.
1998 marked Aizya Joshi first fashion design show at Delhi’s Pearl Academy followed by a gig at NIFT that won her ‘Most Creative Designer of the Year’. The transgender model has been quoted saying, “After that, I polished my Indian wear designing skills by working with brands like Ritu Kumar, Ritu Beri, Adarsh Gill and Divya Bindra. I have also done certificate courses in fashion from the Singapore School of Fashion. In 2007, I launched my own label and started retailing from a number of big stores”
However, before becoming a transgender model she had to become a transgender woman. In 2013 when she finally decided to live her true identity as a transgender woman, her life became whirlpool. She recalls, “When I decided to undergo a change, my own so-called friends left me. I also worked as a cabaret dancer at night in order to feed myself. People used to hate us during the day but the same people were ready to pay a price for our glamour at night. I landed up in prostitution so that by working as an escort, I could save funds for the surgery. My clients stopped coming to me and I went through so much emotional distress that I tried committing suicide thrice but failed.”
This heart-wrenching story was turned around by the diva in 2015, when she opened her own fashion grooming school called “Fashion Gurukul”. The fashion industry took notice, and Tehelka magazine made her the first transgender model to be on a magazine cover.
Today, I share her story not only because she is a transgender model but also because she is a fighter who never succumbed to her circumstances. Moreover, she is a human, a person with multiple dimensions and that’s all I wanted to explore.
Read on to be amazed:
Q1) What/Who has been your biggest inspiration in life?
Aizya Joshi: My biggest inspiration in life has been ‘’KARMAS’’, I am a firm believer of God, and I believe if we do good to others, good ness comes back to us, if we do bad to others, worse shall come our way. I always try to do good in life and leave rest to almighty lord.
Q2) What did you think you’ll grow up to be when you were a teenager, how has that changed?
Aizya Joshi: As a teenager I always wished to be a model/actress/beauty queen. Today I am a beauty queen and my biggest achievement has been the cover girl for world class beauty queen magazine, which is an international magazine.
Q3) What drives you to be a better person every day?
Aizya Joshi: Again karma, I believe ‘’ to err is human, and to forgive is divine’’, I do face many problems every day, society I live in, laughs upon my identity, they try to bring my moral down but I never let my moral come down, I keep working and working on.
Q4) What has been the most defining moment in your life?
Aizya Joshi: When I met myself, the real self was the most defining moment, when I accepted the fact that I am not abnormal, I am as normal as any man or a woman was the most defining moment of my life. I have accepted my identity as a transgender woman and I am very happy being a trans woman, if God asks me to re live my life, I would relive as Aizya Naaz Joshi, with no changes and regrets.
Q4) Rapid Fire:
a) One word to describe your travel style
b) Three things you can’t live without
c) Your favourite travel destination
d) Three things on your bucket list
Love , Love and Love
d) Best thing you’ve heard/read about yourself
That I am beautiful
e) What has been your greatest struggle?
Fighting with mom’s breast cancer, after chemotherapy it was very painful seeing her.
f) One thing you wish you could’ve done differently?
Nothing, I have no regrets
g) One word to describe yourself
Q5) With all the recent achievements and recognition how do you think your life has changed? What do you do to keep yourself grounded?
Aizya Joshi: Miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep, with every achievement I feel that its my first achievement, there is a lot that I want to do in my life. I am a very grounded soul because I feel till date I have achieved nothing and I am as human as any one is, I don’t accept the fact that I am a transgender model celebrity.
Q6) A message you want to give to women struggling and aspiring in life.
Aizya Joshi: Every day is a struggle, every day is a learning experience, when you start taking life’s troubles as a learning experience, you shall never feel bad, its very important for every woman to be empowered but its only education that makes you wise and empowered, complete your education, and do work. Do not sacrifice your life for husband, family, kids or anyone, its your life, its your dream and you will never get it back again. So, just move on and forget all odds of past and start afresh, you never know when your hard work shall pay you fruits of your success and never never never give up!!!
Hope this interview story inspires you to become the best version of yourself, too. For more of my travel in style adventures and attempts to induce community growth, keep following ertsy and be your own desire.
Disclaimer: We don’t subscribe or promote any personal opinions or views presented in the answers.