I was always bullied for being obese as a child, teenager and adult and had a very low self-image. However, my academic excellence helped me temporarily conceal those scars. Over the years, I adopted a pseudo tomboy personality, one where I was always one amongst the boys and no one would need to compare me on the feminine standards as that would highlight my weight issues and further lower my self-esteem.
Life changed gears when I moved to Pune at the age of 16, all by myself and made certain unconventional career and educational choices. A course in Event Management and a call centre job very early in life, made me realise that I love talking to people. I knew I was someone who looks and behaves like a tomboy, but deep inside I had an innate sense of style, beauty and co-ordination along with the ability to read minds and be a solution provider.
I watched 7 seasons of a makeover show and I knew I loved what those women were doing. They were not just changing appearances but also changing the mindsets of the participants who were struggling with their confidence levels. I knew that this is what I should be doing.
I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, but only in the right season.
One morning, I chanced upon a newspaper article on an Image Management Seminar by ICBI in 2010. I jumped out saying “this is it ” and I have never looked back since then.
I had climbed the ladder of success early at work, and to quit all that for a passion was a risk I had to take.
After completing the course, I still had a few challenges. Firstly, I had to undergo a foot surgery, which was the biggest roadblock for me as a future trainer and Image Consultant. My work takes me to place and I stand most hours of the day. I took this setback positively and used these 4 months to strengthen my technical knowledge.
I was always spotted in sneakers before surgery for comfort and some elements of my adopted personality. My trainers were unsure as to how far would I succeed as an Image consultant with that part of my appearance. As an Image Coach, I was expected to dress a certain way and I think I was the least stylish student they knew.
I had promised myself, to change people’s perception about me, and I was prepared to work hard at it every day, no matter how long it took. I was thrilled to see a smile on Ms. Judith Rasband’s and Ms. Suman Agarwal’s face at our annual IMPA conference in 2016, where they said ” Look at her, what a lovely change “. This was the best moment and a career highlight where my mentors had a renewed confidence in me. This day re-assured me and pushed me to do better work going forward.
When you look good, you feel good and that does the magic. I knew that I had to confront my own belief system and get out of the comfort zone to succeed.
A lot of people in these 6 years have discouraged me, said things I dint want to hear and asked me to go back to my job so that I can have a regular income and then there have been those, who believed in my vision and ability.
I was told that I was single and so it was possible to thrive in this field but I should wait till I get married and that’s when a woman’s life and priorities change. Well, I did get married 2 years ago, and contrary to popular belief, I am still in business and better at it now than I was ever before. At times, I have so much work that I must refuse projects.
As Indian women, we are taught to give preference to everything but ourselves. We are asked to put our dreams on hold, to support the dreams of others around us, but I think, we need to be at the top of our pyramid. If we are confident, we radiate that quality in all the people around us and our world becomes a positive space.
I have trained over 400 aspiring Image consultants across India and I have had the pleasure to work with multinationals and people from various walks of life like children, college students , housewives , fashionistas,
lawyers, doctors, business families, political families , CEO’s , managers , architects etc through corporate workshops, open workshops and one to one consultations through my brand, ” Persona-Stars Image Management “.
I have always believed that,
“If you have a dream, work hard and smart at the same time to achieve it. Be on top of your game, you can still take care of your family if you enjoy your work. Find solutions to thrive with The Golden Rule – ” Never Give Up “.
I often get asked – Does India hold scope for Image Consultants? I think there is tremendous scope given our population. If I could change myself, I can change others. It’s important to work on yourself first to lead by example.
Image management will work for you, if you work at it. Like any other line of work, auto pilot is only achieved after a few years of hard work. If you have Patience, Persistence and Passion, you are on the right track.
About the author
Deepti is one of the senior most Image Consultants in India. She is a Certified Senior Associate and the National Head for Membership and Certification (India and Middle East) at Image Management Professionals Association.
She is an Image, Etiquette, Grooming and Communication Coach with international certification in Image Consulting, Personal Style and Personal Shopping from ICBI and Conselle Institute of Image Management, USA.
Deepti has trained over 400 aspiring Image Consultants in India and works with MNC’s and people from various walks of life like children, college students, housewives, fashionistas, lawyers, doctors, business families, political families, CEO’s, managers, architects etc. through one on one consultations, corporate workshops and open workshops on all aspects of Image Management and soft skills.