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The thrills & chills of being a showstopper - Guest column by Simran Chawla

Walking the fashion ramp requires confidence and nerves of steel. Even more so when you are a visually impaired person. Simran Chawla shares her experience walking the ramp as a showstopper for Big Bazaar's Spark 2019 event.

Walking the ramp for such a large brand, on such a huge platform, in front of thousands of audience…I was super excited and super nervous too. This was not my first time. I had won the Princess India 2016-17 and was showstopper at the DAV Fashion and Lifestyle Week 2018 and walked the ramp for StarPlus Anokhi, to name a few.

Every time you do it, there's a sense of excitement and nervousness. I wanted to look my best, so days before the show, I reduced my junk food intake to almost one-fourth of the usual and doubled my workout to look really slim on the final day.

Backstage Stories

The show was in evening and I couldn't wait to get ready. I was awaiting the moment eagerly since morning and I was finally called in for the make-up and hair do session. After getting what felt like hundreds of pictures of my makeup clicked, I changed and got ready. My hair was curled and I was in a black kurti with a multi-coloured shrug, red leggings, golden heels a golden tiara.

The show had just started and our walk was at the end of the show. I was chatting with the other showstopper Virali Modi and some other models to kill the time. We were all having fun backstage, waiting for our turn to come.

And at last, Anamika, the event coordinator signalled it was our turn and we had to be ready, The level of excitement just doubled.

Standing on the stairs, behind the curtain that led to the stage, I was revising the number of steps I had to take, which I had counted the previous evening during rehearsal. I had to enter, turn left, take four-and-a-half steps forward, then turn right and take 22 steps. Finally I would be at the centre of the stage from where the ramp would start. I had to turn left to face the ramp and 31 steps on the ramp straight. I remembered everything. Anamika and my mom were standing with me. They wished me luck.

Finally, the anchor announced, "Welcome Showstoppers and our song: "Apna Time Aayega played. I entered the curtain, turned left, took the first few steps and somewhere along the way I got lost in the song and forgot to count the steps! So, you might be wondering, what was the need to count the steps anyway? Let me tell you this. I am visually impaired and cannot see anything except colours from a very close distance. So you can say that this world is like full of colours for me.

So, back to my story I kept on walking until I realised that I didn't count the steps. I didn't know when I would reach the centre, where the ramp started. I stopped walking and struck a pose so the audience thought this was all a part of the act. I saw some dull blue colour in front and the stage was red in colour so I got the idea that the stage was ending there. I immediately stopped and thank god I did because one more step and I would have fallen.

Moment of relief

When I heard the sound a wheelchair to my rest I realised things were going right because Virali, who uses a wheelchair, had come. I relaxed, posed and completed the walk. Pictures were clicked and the lights went off.

No one could make out I had forgotten my steps. They thought that it was a part of my walk. What I learned from this experience is that, if you are confident enough, no one at all can make out even your biggest of mistakes. So, just be confident and believe in yourself and you can do everything that you want to do.

I would like to extend my heartily thanks to Prachi Mohapatra, Chief Marketing Officer, FBB and Vineet Saraiwala, Deputy Manager, Big Bazaar for giving me this huge opportunity. This was the first ever inclusive fashion shows and they are doing such great work for making this world a better place to live in.

Confidence is my wings to fly high, higher, and highest in the sky

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