Malvika Iyer on What Style Means to Her
"I lost both my hands in a bomb blast when I was 13 years old. With it, I lost a big part of my self-esteem. I was embarrassed to show my stumps in public so I started wearing cosmetic hands, begrudgingly as I used to live in a tropical place with high temperatures. Despite my best efforts, people would notice my artificial hands and stare and [make] insensitive comments.
Then, I went a step further in trying to be 'normal' like my peers and started wearing full-sleeve tops and dresses that would cover my prosthetics completely. Both my legs were disfigured in the accident, so I used to wear full-length bottoms to hide my gory scars.
Not being able to wear what I want [and] not being comfortable in my clothes was heartbreaking. I didn't [cultivate my own sense of] style. No matter how hard I tried, I could never come to love myself as I constantly felt like a stranger in my own body.
Ten years later, I became a motivational speaker, a disability activist, and an advocate for body positivity and shared my story [with] the world. I embraced who I was and accepted my body wholeheartedly and finally put an end to my old ways.
I received hundreds and thousands of messages from people around the world appreciating my courage and encouraging me for who I have become. I have a unique style now. From wearing a puff-sleeve blouse with [a] pleated skirt to an artisanal saree, I love wearing different kinds of outfits. With time, I have come to understand that having [personal] style is first and foremost about acceptance of one's true self. It's important to wear clothes that reflect our personality, clothes that fit our present mood, and clothes that make us feel happy and sexy. My motto: Be uniquely you. Be unstoppable."