13-year-old Maleesha Kharwa’s journey from slums of Mumbai to the cover of a fashion magazine is proof that dreams can come true

Describing her experience of shooting for the cover as a fun one, Maleesha says she was extremely happy to do it. That million-dollar smile in place, the pictures show the young girl having a blast in front of the camera. The clothes do add to the charm but it is her effervescent personality that really shines through. 

Keep it fashionable

The standard seventh student’s Instagram account shows her in candid poses, sometimes with her friends and often, solo. Although the page is handled by Robert, she insists that she has a say in choosing the pictures. While her followers can’t get enough of her long wavy hair and her gorgeous smile, Maleesha finds her eyes her most attractive feature. What about clothes? “I like wearing dresses, specially in red colour,” says the child model who is learning dance from her role model ‘Alisha didi’. When it comes to who she finds fashionable from Bollywood, she picks Madhuri Dixit Nene and Disha Patani as her favourites.

Showbiz calling

Along with modelling and dancing, the teenager says she is also open to acting. She might not have gotten the chance to feature in Robert’s music video, but he did end up introducing her to Arsala – the associate producer and writer behind the pathbreaking movie Angry Indian Goddesses and musician Jas, co-founder at Blow Broadcast. Live Your Fairytale documents some raw, unscripted moments from Maleesha’s life, which the filmmakers believe showcase the young model’s perceptive and optimistic personality.

Says Arsala, “Her story is a metaphor for hope, manifestation and the power of dreams in ‘New India,’ and a ‘New World’. She is deconstructing the motifs of a fairy tale, and recontextualising what constitutes a fairy tale in the present century. A more empathic world is possible if all of us work together in manifesting its destiny selflessly with passion and integrity.”

As for Maleesha, she loved the fact that it was all natural and organic. “My friends and I really enjoyed being a part of it,” she adds. Paving the way for equality and economic freedom in her family, this little girl is aware that she is an inspiration for many others. Does she think girls can do whatever they want if they set their mind to it? “Yes, they can!” she concludes the interaction with her beatific smile. Looks like Maleesha’s fairytale has just begun.

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