At a fashion week in Mumbai recently, Mona Varonica Campbell opened the show for designer Wendell Rodricks. He unveiled his collection for plus-sized men and women at the show. So, who is Mona and why is she walking the ramp important, you ask?
Within hours after the show, Telugu woman Mona was all over the internet being hailed as the first transgender plus-size model in India. This is a big step forward in the fight for transgender inclusivity.
“When I heard about the auditions for plus-size models, I knew I definitely had it in me. But I didn’t know whether they’d be open to trans women too. I was over the moon when they welcomed me. With encouragement from my family, I went ahead and before I knew it, I was opening the show for one of my favourite designers,” Mona told The Times of India.
When Mona turned 16, she realised she didn’t identify with her assigned gender.
Coming out to her family was no easy task. When she finally found the courage to tell them, they couldn’t process it. “My father was vehemently against it, he couldn’t bring himself to support me. But it was a life-changing decision and I knew I had to go ahead. Thankfully, my mother and sister stood by me. I had great support from my college friends and faculty too,” she told TOI.
But once Mona got her sex change surgery in London, her father, after seeing who she was now, accepted her eventually. She gained weight due to the hormonal replacement therapy and the surgeries. But Mona is proud of her curves and isn’t ashamed of her body, which she worked so hard to get.