Sruthi Jayadevan is an Indian-American model, stylist, and blogger. She grew up in South India and moved to the U.S. when she was 11 years old. After being bullied for being different while growing up, she is now proud to embrace her culture and is not shy about sharing it with others on social media. But in a recent Twitter post, she opened up about the negative comments she’s heard regarding her traditional garb.
Jayadevan shared two beautiful photos of herself, captioning the tweet with examples of criticisms she’s gotten: “People: ‘what’s with the dot’ ‘what’s that on your nose’ ‘maybe you should tone down all this cultural stuff.'”
People: "what's with the dot" "what's that on your nose" "maybe you should tone down all this cultural stuff"
— Curry Queen (@SruthiJayadevan) September 3, 2017
Jayadevan now uses her social media platform to try to empower others to embrace their own culture, and her message is resonating with many: Her recent tweet got more than 74,000 likes and 21,000 retweets.
The 22-year-old shares 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 says. “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.”
Because of the 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 says. “I got so many messages and comments from young Indian-Americans who had all been through similar things.”
Her recent tweet sparked a thread in which people encouraged her to keep on being proud of her heritage.
Your soooo pretty omfg (keep celebrating your culture ppl are just jealous >.>)
— GoP #DefendDACA (@Dayxforlife) September 3, 2017
girl ignore them! keep slaying
— ♡karina (@meowkari) September 3, 2017
Oh my lord, you are gorgeous! I will never understand ppl who say these ignorant things..be proud of who you are, cause you're beautiful!
— Wolfofthenyght (@Wolfofthenyght) September 4, 2017
I love culture. It's sad to see that people get so nasty just because something is different to their culture. You keep being you!!
— ChaosReignz84 (@ChaosReignz84) September 25, 2017
Jayadevan, who now lives in Dallas, has also shared other photos of her looking beautiful in traditional outfits, from a salwar kameez or two to saris and bindis and plenty of sparkling jewels.
Culture, it’s a beautiful thing really. pic.twitter.com/bETOstfs76
— Curry Queen (@SruthiJayadevan) September 24, 2017
Can't believe I get to celebrate 12k just a few days after reaching 10k, I'm truly feeling blessed & extremely grateful that my work towards empowering and inspiring others is reaching this many of you. I've had the toughest time grasping the concept of self-love & self-acceptance since I was a young girl. In a society that scrutinizes everything and anything, it takes so much more effort to understand what those things mean. In the last few years, my journey towards self love & acceptance has been a lot smoother. As I broke free from societal norms and other people's opinions about what it means to be a beautiful person inside and out, I started gaining more confidence…more peace…I started noticing that I was treating myself with more kindness, forgiveness, & really learning to be happy one day at a time. My happiness only depends on me, I don't place that responsibility on anyone else or anything else. I started to notice that I was more comfortable around others, because I was finally comfortable in my own skin. The insecurities I had (& some that I still have) had no power over me. Self-love is the true understanding of YOUR uniqueness as a human being & realizing your worth & your value. We are all capable of self-love & acceptance. It's an important journey we must all take no matter how arduous it may be or how many setbacks we face ✨ . . . . . Foundation: @chanelofficial Vitalumière Fluide De Teint in 50 Natural #chanelbeauty Highlight & Contour (cream): @lagirlcosmetics shades beautiful bronze and creamy beige #lagirlpro #lagirlcosmetics Highlight & Contour (powder): @anastasiabeverlyhills in shade light to medium Eye Shadow: @elizabetharden little black eyeshadow trio in blue #elizabetharden Eyeliner: @pixibeauty endless silky eye pen in black #pixibeauty Eyelashes: @ardell_lashes #ardelllashes double up 203 Eyebrows: @anastasiabeverlyhills brow pomade in ebony #anastasiabeverly hills #browpomade Lips: @esteelauder sculpting gloss in shade 41003 #esteelauder
A post shared by SRUTHI ✨ ശ്രുതി (@sruthijayadevan) on Aug 27, 2017 at 10:16am PDT
“Empowering others to embrace their culture empowered me to embrace my culture. I started growing more fearless with the way that I wore my cultural accessories. I started wearing the nose ring my mom always wore as a young adult. I put my anklets back on, I planned a trip to India,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Doing these things made me feel whole again. I felt all the suppression fade away slowly. I could feel the healing that it was bringing to my heart and soul.”
I've gotten so many messages over the past few weeks about how I do my makeup & my techniques etc, and I'm thinking about making a YouTube channel in the near future so I can show you guys what I personally do. I honestly used to be so bad with makeup ( I've filled in my eyebrows with an eyeliner pencil…go figure ) but it's really about consistency and practice and most of all, having the right brushes & a well-lit mirror. Don't be discouraged seeing other people's makeup & compare it to what you do. I didn't even know how to put on eyeshadow or lashes until a couple months ago. This week I went to my best friend's sister's wedding (which was absolutely incredible, Punjabi weddings are on another level y'all) and I ended up doing other people's makeup for them & they loved it. If I can learn, anyone can can't wait to share with y'all a couple tutorials very soon! _____________________________________________________________ . . . @anastasiabeverlyhills #dipbrow in ebony #anastasiabeverlyhills @morphebrushes 35b color glam eyeshadow palette #morphebrushes @sigmabeauty rose gold brush set #sigmabeauty @hudabeauty liquid matte in shade bombshell #hudabeauty @nyxcosmetics contour intuitive palette in smoke and pearls #nyxcosmetics @katvondbeauty shade and light cream contour palette #katvondbeauty @bhcosmetics Carli Bybel palette #carlibybel #bhcosmetics _____________________________________________________________ #wakeupandmakeup #beautygram #makeupinspo #indianmakeup #eyemakeup #beautyblogger #thatglow #desimakeup #browngirlmakeup #melaninmakeup #indianmodel #indianblogger #melaninonfleek #browngirlmagic
A post shared by SRUTHI ✨ ശ്രുതി (@sruthijayadevan) on Aug 9, 2017 at 6:25pm PDT
Shout out to the amazing @luxsareedraping for making sure my saree looked perfect for a wedding this past weekend! Check her out and follow her page and reach out to her for all your draping needs y'all! She is absolutely incredible and a perfectionist when it comes to draping, and she literally transforms the look of a saree and elevates it through her draping skills. I spent 10 years of my life in India, and wearing Indian clothes takes me back to those amazing years spent in my beautiful little village. Can't wait to share with you all my venture into traditional clothing and show you how I style my sarees and other Indian clothes! ☺️
A post shared by SRUTHI ✨ ശ്രുതി (@sruthijayadevan) on Jun 7, 2017 at 2:38pm PDT
To those who genuinely have a question about the meaning behind her accessories, she says, “I have always loved when someone asked me a question out of genuine curiosity about something cultural I was wearing. But most comments I get are rather hateful, and mocking the accessories. The tweet did help spread awareness. I was able to link an article to that tweet that explained the different cultural accessories that people of South Asian culture wear and what each of those things mean.”
Here is the tweet she refers to:
Feel free to check out this article that educates on what the significance of each of these indian accessories are https://t.co/GRbd8iCNo7
— Curry Queen (@SruthiJayadevan) September 4, 2017
So what’s up next for the model? “My biggest dream I’ve had, ever since I was a young girl, was to create a network or organization that supported women’s empowerment,” she says. “I want to empower others to embrace their roots and celebrate their culture. I want them to embrace their gender, their skin color, and all the things that make us unique individuals. I want to represent my culture and heritage with beauty and fashion brands that want to be more inclusive.”
And it will be a pleasure to follow her journey.
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