global face of desi nari

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Today's Indian women are confident. They explore what they want, what their desires are, and go get them. They are on top of the fashion world as it pertains to them and are confident enough to embrace the boldest of styles. There are numerous examples of these confident women all around. Not just the famous celebrities, not just those that people chase after for autographs, but those who quietly stand out in a crowd and not just because of their looks. These are the women who dare to dream and work laboriously to achieve it. They are successful in what they do, by their own standards even as they strive to attain loftier goals.

One such face of the global desi woman of today is Purvi Parakh. She came to USA at a young age. Purvi was just 8 when her parents made the decision of moving to America for good. She grew up in Michigan, went on to get a degree in Supply Chain Management followed by an MBA in Marketing. After working in the field of Marketing for many years since 1998, she was approached by a local designer to participate in a fashion show and soon after discovered that she was talented and passionate about the field of modeling. After repetitively being approached by several brands asking her to model for them, she could no longer ignore her calling towards the world of modeling. Its been 3 years since she has been successfully juggling her modeling career, her own Marketing business and home-management responsibilities like millions of other working women. 

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Why did we pick Purvi? 

A unique aspect about Purvi is that she chose to start a career in the modeling profession at the age of 36. "Modeling is not commonly encouraged in the desi culture. I started my first modeling assignment at age 36, which is definitely a late start in a field where most women are considered to be past their prime", she says. Nonetheless, it has been a successful venture and achievement for her in spite of the usual odds, challenges and cultural norms. She has represented over 40 national and international brands (international hotel luxury brand, electronic cigarettes, pianos, motorcycles, fitness wear, various jewelry brands, men's ties, spray bottles, hair products, illuminated clothing, various desi and American fashion lines, Western and desi bridal attire, makeup artistry schools, hair artistry, etc.) She has participated in various desi and Western fashion shows, over 60 photo shoots, been published in multiple print and online publications, ads, and posters, image winning photography competitions, etc. "Goes to show that success is possible no matter what culture, age or belief system one is challenged by", says she.

In our effort to bring the global face of aam desi nari to you, we met up with Purvi and bring her thoughts and opinions to you. (But before proceeding, would you like to recommend anyone you know for our Global Face Of Desi Nari segment? Remember she doesn't have to be famous, just a hard-working, determined, global face of today's desi nari. Email us your recommendations at

1. What do you think of today's desi nari? 

I think today's desi nari is blessed to have the freedom of choice, the control and opportunity to define her own role in the community- whether she chooses to contribute her talents in the work force or in the art of home making. Today's desi nari is more educated, ambitious, empowered and busier than ever, shaping and contributing to the greater good of the domestic household, our economy and the community. 

2. What are your feelings about our traditional Indian attire, the Sari?

One of the most feminine attires of an Indian woman is undoubtedly the sari. It has maintained its elegance and beauty over the centuries, it is a timeless masterpiece. The reason why I think it's fascinating is because of its potential to express both sensuality of a woman's body as well as respect for it. Displaying and accentuating a few regions of the waist, neck and a woman's curves enhances the sensuality aspect. Respect for a woman's figure can be achieved by properly covering all other areas of her shape allowing for the creation of a healthy design balance. Additionally, the length of the sari also permits the lady to cover her head in an effort to show respect to elders if necessary. With so many available options of how to drape a sari, it offers the ability to hide one's flaws by wearing it in a way that enables a woman to look slim and attractive and vice versa. Last but not the least, if a woman's husband is hurt, she can tear off a small piece of her sari and wrap it around the wound (a typical Bollywood scene to show how much she cares). This will surely ignite the love. smile emoticon


3. What is your favorite Indian outfit?

My favorite Indian outfit is a ghagra or lehenga choli. It is a breathtakingly beautiful ensemble from the Mughal era signifying rich Indian heritage. For the contemporary woman such as myself, this dress combines both the modern and traditional features to provide a balanced look. It can be altered in various ways to suit any body style and offers a rich and creative array of fabrics, textures, colors, embroideries, ornaments, etc. The lehenga exudes an elegant flair and an enchanting aura of feminine charm. 


4. What is the best suggestion that anyone ever gave you that helped you to pursue your dreams?

Someone once said to me me, "Don't you find it odd that when you're a kid, everyone, all the world encourages you to follow your dreams but when you're older somehow they act offended even when you try? If you don't build your own dream, someone will use you to help build theirs. Pursue your dream and stand up for what you believe in even if it means standing alone." 

5. What advice would you give to other women who do dare to dream but in the face of obstacles, wonder if they will ever make it? 

Turn your "SHOULDs" into "MUSTs" and your "some days" into "today." Success means having the courage and determination and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.  

6. How do you define your style, your sense of dressing?

To me fashion equals artistic freedom. I'm a fashionista at heart, believe in revealing the fashionable masterpiece within and take pleasure in challenging the everyday fashion standards. 

I enjoy dressing in bold, glamorous statement pieces that are colorful, tailored, elegant, polished and coordinated. I love asymmetrical cuts, distinctive patterns, luxurious fabric materials, unique color combinations, etc. 

I know which piece to spend the money on to make the entire ensemble appear expensive. Dress up for me began at age 5 and never really ended. 

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7. What do you think when you see famous white Americans donning on Indian outfits.

Famous white Americans / Hollywood and Bollywood have had a longstanding love affair, and there's a rich history of inspiration and exchange between the two film production powerhouses. So it makes sense that celebrities on this side of the Pacific would want to echo the lavish fashionable looks from Bollywood cinema as well as Indian culture. While I appreciate the fact that Americans admire Indian fashion and stylistic elements enough to mirror it, my concern is that they sometimes just don't get it right, and therein lies the issue. While it is meant to be a tribute and harmless homage to Indian culture, if presented unsuitably, it can sometimes unknowingly come across as ignorant appropriation. Yet if presented culturally and artistically appropriately, it provides for an enchanting, mesmerizing and heartwarming love affair. Regardless of the outcome, I am beyond delighted and flattered by Americans effort to appreciate and emulate Indian fashion as this validates my own personal pride, respect and recognition towards the many achievements of my cultural heritage. 

8. How desi are you at heart and/or in your living?

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rank my connection to desi roots as being a 7. Indian cuisine is my soul food, Bollywood movies are my favorite past time, I love Hindi music, know most actors and a majority of my social group consist of desis. I take pride in modeling Indian fashion and am happy to share these images with the American community in order to expand their visibility and appreciation for my heritage. I am also very fascinated by Indian social, economical and political issues and enjoy reading intellectual literature authored by Indians. As we originate from a land of contrasts, I respect our cultural values yet still question some beliefs as I see potential for change and improvement. In spite of our challenges, I rejoice and embrace my desi roots as its shaped who I am and has offered me many soulful gifts to cherish.  (All pictures, courtesy Purvi Parakh) 

Would you like to recommend anyone you know for our Global Face Of Desi Nari segment? Remember she doesn't have to be famous, just a hard-working, determined, global face of today's desi nari. Email us your recommendations at

global face of desi nari

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