She is clearly one of the few people who can justify and pull off an extreme style that consists of odd clothing pieces: think Zara pants, a custom bustier and a saree draped over them, or a pair of distressed jeans, a low-cut knotted blouse and a red dupatta thrown over it.
Out of her desire to celebrate Indian culture and encourage others to take pride in their heritage, Indian American model/stylist/blogger Sruthi Jayadevan always creates something that truly expresses her individuality. And the pivotal accessories that are dear to her are a nose ring and a bindi, which she uses in almost every thoughtfully created look of hers.
By making impressive fashion statements, the Dallas, Texas-based model has amassed thousands of followers on Instagram, the picture sharing site. She is also keenly followed on Twitter and other social media platforms.
Embracing her culture and exposing others to it seems to be a topic quite close to her heart and she makes her intentions clear by naming her Twitter handle, “Curry Queen.”
And while her stylistic choices mostly fetch bouquets, sometimes they are marked by brickbats.
Recently, Jayadevan highlighted the kind of negative comments she received from critics who felt that she was offering too much display of her Indian culture.
“Maybe you should tone down all this cultural stuff,” wrote one. “What’s with the dot,” asked another, while one commented, “What’s that on your nose?”
The 22-year-old’s befitting reply comprised of two lookalike photos of her sporting the exact same accessories. And her reply resonated with thousands of people. Her tweet received more than 74,000 likes and over 21,000 retweets. She also shared an article that was meant to educate her followers on the significance of each of these Indian accessories.
Jayadevan shared with Yahoo Lifestyle that her family moved to California when her single mom, a registered nurse, was offered a better job opportunity.
“I went to my elementary school wearing a traditional bindi, my thin gold anklets, and my hair in braids like I used to back in my village,” she said. “My sister and I were the only Indian kids at my school, so we would get called all kinds of names and be asked why we don’t speak English or why we had a dot on our forehead.”
Fearing bullying, she began to assimilate into American culture. It was not until college that she realized that she’d been shying away from embracing her roots, and decided to then get back to loving her traditions.
“I wanted to break free from these things that held me back. One day, I just decided to post a picture of me wearing a bindi and share my story on my page, and the responses were incredible,” she told Yahoo. “I got so many messages and comments from young Indian Americans who had all been through similar things.”
Buoyed by the positive response, Jayadevan became more fearless and made these accessories a part of her daily life.
“Staying true to who you are and creating something that truly expresses your individuality is the key to success,” she wrote on Instagram. “Whenever I get messages from young girls asking me for advice to gain self-confidence, there’s always one phrase I use in my answers. Be a Queen. When you finally start to understand your worth and value, you become so fulfilled, self-love starts to overflow from your vessel into the vessels of others...that’s when you’re truly able to empower others and be a Queen.”