“Beauty is not just about the appearance but it is about character, confidence and how well you play the given role, be it in any industry”. This was the thought that persuaded Akshaya Navaneethan to start loving the way she looked and flaunt it with utmost confidence and pride. She decided to take up plus size modeling not because she wanted to drive attention towards herself but to teach self love to many women out there who do not fall under the category of conventional beauty standards. Ask about the challenges she had to face and she says, “Everyday comes with a different challenge. I had no support when I initially decided to step into the fashion industry. Nor did I know anything about the fashion industry or modeling. I had to figure out everything on my own. Moreover, I had to encounter many hate comments wherein people accused me of promoting obesity. These comments did make me sad but then i realised that the increasing number of criticisms also mean that I am close to being successful. This thought kept me going.” Akshaya advises every woman to understand herself, which will help them to feel good when they wear a dress or put on makeup. “If you are not confident about yourself then the most beautiful dress or expensive makeup is of no use. Beauty has no standards. I felt the most beautiful when I went bald and donated my hair to cancer survivors. The mere sense of being useful to an ailing person made me feel beautiful,” she concludes.