Natalia Vodianova

Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova shared a picture of herself holding a sanitary pad with her 1.5 million followers on her Instagram page. (Natalia Vodianova/Instagram photo)

MUMBAI—Russian supermodel, philanthropist and menstrual hygiene awareness campaigner Natalia Vodianova has taken part in the #PadManChallenge that has been sweeping India by storm in recent weeks.

The #PadManChallenge was launched to promote the film “Pad Man,” which released worldwide to critical and audience acclaim on Friday, Feb. 9. The revolutionary family drama aims to break the taboo that surrounds menstruation.

In keeping with the film’s themes of removing period stigma, the #PadManChallenge encourages people to upload a selfie of themselves holding a sanitary pad and challenging others to do the same. Vodianova shared a picture of herself holding a sanitary pad with her 1.5 million followers on her Instagram page (natasupernova). In just a few hours she amassed over 35,000 likes, 1,800 comments telling followers:

“Yes, that’s a Pad in my hand & there's nothing to be ashamed about. It's natural! Period. ❤ I nominate @emrata @doutzen @alexinagraham  big shoutout to @twinklerkhanna for this initiative ❤@Flotracker #LetsTalkAboutPeriods #UNFPA #PadManChallenge.”

Passing on the challenge, Natalia Vodianova also tagged three of her peers; some of the most recognisable supermodels working today, including Paris & Milan Fashion Week regular and Gone Girl actress Emily Ratajkowski (with a following of 16.5 million on her Instagram page), L’Oreal ambassador Doutzen Kroes (with a following of 5.6mn followers on Instagram) and British Victoria’s Secret model Alexina Graham (with a following of 153,000 on Instagram).

Vodianova is an active women’s health campaigner and Board Member in FLO, the leading women’s health platform devoted to empowering women through shared information. To raise awareness of menstrual hygiene and to tackle period taboos, she launched the "Let's Talk About It, Period" initiative.

“Pad Man” is a feature film on menstrual hygiene inspired by the story of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential entrants Arunachalam Muruganantham, a rural welder from India with a unique, eccentric edge who turned incredible inventor by providing women with access to high-quality and affordable sanitary pads 20 years ago.

Produced by Mrs Funnybones Movies, SPE FIlms India, Kriarj Entertainment, Cape of Good Films and Hope Productions, “Pad Man” is written and directed by R. Balki and stars international megastar Akshay Kumar and critically acclaimed actresses Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte. “Pad Man” is the one-of-a-kind feature film, tackling the taboo and stigmas attached to menstrual hygiene through the art of entertainment. The film is in cinemas worldwide now.

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