Masaba Gupta, fashion designer and daughter of Neena Gupta has been subjected to racism and body shaming through out her life. Born into an unconventional household where the parents weren’t married impacted her life while she was growing up. In conversation with Barkha Dutt, she opens up out the racial abuse, sexist comments and the way she battled through it.
In a society that has set beauty standards, nomenclature and strongly imbibed notions, trying to fit in the society was a task for Masaba even when she was a kid. She was subjected to brutal racism as we have all been conditioned to perceive things in a certain way.
“Growing up wasn’t easy. There is a certain amount of grit and resolve that a human being requires. The toughest times were in the school and post-school as well,” Masaba remarks. She adds that “As a young girl growing up, the company you have mattered. I could make it until here unscarred because I didn’t see myself as different in a bad way but I saw myself with different physical features.”
With progressive times, the societal thought process has also progressed. People have started accepting live-in relationships, bearing a child without being married, same-sex marriage as well.
But when Masaba was in school, she shares as she a typical African face, her friends used to listen to her accent. “Girls used to listen to my accent and they were surprised because I had a ‘Bombayya’ accent.” When you are in school, all you need is a bunch of friends to chatter with, attend classes, play and come back home. But for Masaba that wasn’t the case.
She shares a horrific incident and says “I remember playing professional tennis when I was younger and there was this moment where I would come late to school, to class… because I was playing for the state and I remember all the boys would open my bag, and make fun of the size of my shorts. Because I was obviously a bigger girl and they would toss it around the class. They would be like “oh my god, maybe her undergarments are all black inside due to the colour of her skin.”
Racial discrimination had become a part of her life as at every step of her life she was subjected to racial discrimination either by her friends, relatives or close ones. These affected me back then, but now I consider myself the ‘Monk in the China shop’, Masaba adds.
Masaba also shares the bond she shares with her parents where her mother is the idol of self-love and her father is her friend, she looks upto. However, due to the nature of their relationship, she was often called the ‘bastard child’.
Reflecting more upon becoming a successful alpha female, starting her own fashion label, handling a divorce and becoming body positive, Masaba is our favorite, watch her share more details in the interview below: