Everyone has a story to tell. Painful, motivational, inspiring, all kinds of stories. Naavya Singh is one of those people who has her own story for the world to know. Naavya is a 30-year-old young, beautiful, and independent trans woman, who is a model and an actor by profession. She was born and bought up in the small town of Bihar. Naavya identified herself as a woman, even though she was born with a male body at a very young age. She faced a lot of difficulties in the beginning. Therefore, her story is an inspiring story for everyone out there who is fighting for acceptance. So, let us experience her journey and what all she had to reveal, in her own words.
Naavya always dreamt about modeling. She was passionate about getting into the modeling industry from a very young age. She grew up watching fashion shows. Naavya started her career back in the year 2016. She had to face struggles and rejections at the beginning of her career. Naavya told that the biggest challenge she faced was about her identity. We live in a society where still there are people who do not accept the transgender community.
For me, mere journey ka ek alag sa panga tha, mujhe industry mei ana tha, fashion icon banna tha, ek role model banna tha. But, jab bhi mein jahan par bhi jaati thi, chahe voh auditions ke liye ho ya fir ramp walk k liye ho, meine even lakme fashion week. Bahaut saare auditions diye hai meine but kahin na kahin mere identity ke vajah se uss samay tak mere haath mei nhi aata tha. Jiske vajah se kaafi struggle face krna pada hai.
(I had different kinds of issues and difficulties in my journey. I wanted to get into the fashion industry. But whenever I tried, whether for an audition or ramp walks, even I tried for Lakme Fashion week but was not able to get my hands on it. I gave many auditions but due to my identity I had to face a lot of struggles in the initial years).
She mentioned that at times people rejected her, then and there on the sets when they got to know about her identity. After releasing the fact, she is not a biological woman they use to replace her with some or another excuse. But, she never gave up. However, Naavya tried her level best to prove her talent irrespective of her gender.
Meine kabhi zindagi mei haar nhi maani. Aur mujhe laga, tum jitni baar mujhe reject kroge, mein utni baar aur apna luck try krungi. Jitni baar mujhe rejection ya failure face krna padta tha, utni baar mei confidence aur badhta tha. Failures and Rejections se meine bahaut kuch seekha hai.
(I never gave up. The number of times you will reject me, I will try my luck that many times. Rejections and failure which I have faced have increased my confidence. I have learned a lot with failures and rejections.)
While discussing her journey, Naavya told that she also participated in Miss Trans Queen India in 2017. She was among the top five contestants. Miss Trans Queen is one of the first pageants held in India for trans beauty. She is also the brand ambassador of Miss Trans Queen India for the past three years now.
Mere liye yeh kaafi garv ki baat hai ki 16 contestants mei se I was the top five. Miss Trans Queen mere liye ek life changing platform raha hai, uske baad meri zindagi mei bahaut aisi cheeze hui, bahaut success dekha, jo ek time pr mere liye sapna tha.
(For me, it is a matter of pride, that amongst the 16 contestants I was top five. Miss Trans Queen was one of the life-changing opportunities for me, after which I have seen a lot of things happened, I have become successful now, which was once a dream for me.)
Also, Naavya trained from India’s top modeling agency Cocoaberry. She is the first transgender to be trained by Alesia Raut, co-founder of the agency. Naavya mentioned that if someone wants to get into the industry then they should join an agency. As agencies groom you according to your personality.
Naavya was featured on the Grazia and Cosmopolitan annual magazine in 2017. Also, Naavya was the first trans woman to walk on the ramp for the annual Lakme India Fashion Show in 2017. In the year 2019, she was the showstopper at Bombay Times Fashion Week for designer Archana Kochhar.
When asked about her campaign “WHY NOT ME”, Naavya told that it was for the inclusion of trans women in Bollywood. Also, she expressed her sadness about how Bollywood portrays a completely opposite image of the trans community. She says,
“Jab ek woman ek transgender ka character play kr skti hai, toh ek transgender ek normal woman ka kyu nhi?One side they say they want to make people aware but isse awarness nhi, samaaj mei aur bhi zyada myth jagega.”
(When a woman can play the role of transgender, then why can not a trans woman? On one hand, they want to spread awareness, however, in this way, they spread more myths than awareness.)
Naavya voiced her anger that transgender people are normal, they do not do any kind of overacting. She said this in connotation with how Bollywood represents the trans community in the name of spreading awareness.
Jaise aap ek human ho vaise hum bhi human. Mujhe samaj nhi ata Bollywood humesha se aisa roop kyu dikhata rha hai.
(We are also just like others. I really do not understand why Bollywood always shows us in a negative light.)
However, Naavya feels really grateful to the media as they have helped her to reach the point of success in her career. Also, media has created a better image of the transgender community in comparison to Bollywood. She clearly mentioned that the latest movie “Laxmi” which was the remake of the Tamil movie “Kanchaana” has reinforced the dead stereotypes in society instead of creating awareness.
The dialogoues of the movie are really disgraceful and they have hurt the sentiments of the community. Jis tarah ki acting hui hai movie mei koi bhi transgender iss tarah se nhi rehta hai. Jab aap ek ladki ke liye itna drama nhi dikhate toh ek transgender ke liye itna over kyu?
(The kind of acting is done in the movie, no transgender lives or behaves like that. When you do not show so much drama for a girl then why so much for transgender?)
Further, Naavya talks about the rules, regulations, and number of articles imposed for the LGBTQIA+ community. She said that Government has already recognized the third gender in 2014. But she feels that it is all in papers and not in real life. People are still struggling for acceptance in society. Also, believes that the right education is very important for the empowerment of such issues in society.
Naavya feels really happy and proud when people accept their identity in front of the world. Because she can understand the kind of pain and struggles one person goes through in this process of acceptance. Naavya has faced them all when she was in her hometown. Also, when family support’s their child in this journey she feels more overwhelmed. Naavya is very grateful to her parents in this case, as they have supported her after her transition.
Mere parents ko bilkul bhi fark nhi padta hai ki mei phele kya thi aur ab kya hun. Agar saare parents ne aise acceptance shuru krdia toh shayad uss person ko struggle na face krne pade, kyunki starting to apno se hi hoti hai. Agar parents strong hai then samaaj fir kuch nhi kehta hai.
(My parents do not care about who was I before and who I am now. If all the parents start accepting their child, then maybe that person would not face many struggles because everything starts from family. If parents are strong, then society can never point fingers.)
On the work front, Naavya revealed that she will be seen in the music video “Sambhal Jao”. Also, she will be seen in the movie “PLEDGE TO PROTECT” which is a biopic of Anson Thomas who is a real-life hero and has rescued over 800 girls from Kamathipura, Calcutta, Pune, and Delhi and was also awarded the Real Heroes Award by CNN-IBN in 2009. The movie revolves around how his intention to rescue girls from clunches of brothels and girl trafficking has been uplifting women in society.