Home Others Maleesha Kharwa’s rise from Mumbai slums to luxury brand model

Maleesha Kharwa’s rise from Mumbai slums to luxury brand model



The fourteen-year-old, Maleesha Kharwa from Mumbai is all set to take the fashion world by storm. Hailing from the slums of Dharavi, the fourteen-year-old has been taped as the face of Forest Essential’s new campaign Yuvati Selection. The social initiative by Forest Essentials aims to provide children from underprivileged backgrounds with access to education and awareness.


Maleesha is an aspiring model who has already bagged two Hollywood movie offers in her kitty. Her skills in acting and modelling evolved with her journey as a content creator on Instagram. With a knack for producing dynamic shoots, her social media is a deep insight into her creativity. She has also been featured in a short film, titled “Live Your Fairytale”, which features no professional actors and captures the experience of five slum children who dine in a restaurant for the first time in life. The film by Arsala Qureishi and Jas Sagu had a YouTube premiere on Saturday.


Actor Robert Hoffman of the Hollywood film Step Up-2 is behind Maleesha’s headlines. Robert came to India in February last year to shoot a music video. He was to travel to Europe for his tour but due to Corona epidemic, he had to stay back in India for a few days, when he was told by a friend about Maleesha and her dreams to become a supermodel to support her family.


Robert created Maleesha’s Instagram page and shared it with people to raise funds to fulfill her dreams. Maleesha’s video got a lot of love and slowly this girl caught everyone’s attention. Her followers are increasing daily, and within one year today, she has 1 lakh 41 thousand followers, known as the Princess of Slums.


Twelve-year-old Maleesha Kharwa from Dharavi, who is known as ‘Princess of the Slum’, said: “I am very happy with where I am right now. There are times when people see me somewhere and recognise me because of social media. They tell me that they are fans, which makes me extremely proud and happy.”


“When I met Arsala didi and Jas didi, I was very surprised as they did so much for me, my family and my friends. My life has changed and it’s a dream come true for me. I would like to thank both my didis for this,” Maleesha adds.


Recalling her first meeting with Maleesha, Jas says: “There are moments in life that change you fundamentally. They blow up in front of you and unravel a new dimension. That’s how overwhelming it was for us to meet Maleesha and her entire family. We didn’t know we were capable of so much love because we were overwhelmed by their expression of love.”


“Maleesha is a vivacious child and loves to make conversations. It is of paramount importance to understand that a whole new world has opened to Maleesha and we are extremely grateful that we are a part of that inner world,” Jas adds.


The shoot of the film was not ordinary as well. “Some of the shots in the film are taken on iPhone. But when you have a story as raw and unadulterated emotions nothing else really matters. But I am sure when you see the film you won’t even notice these technical anomalies. As we iterated, we didn’t even know we were going to get a film. What they got was emotions and fragments of expression, which they then translated into a film,” says Arsala.



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