Kim Kardashian may have broken the internet with her belfies (that's bottom selfies, FYI), but journalist Radhika Sanghani gave the reality TV star a run for her money when she launched her #SideProfileSelfie campaign.
Radhika, from London, shared a photo of her side profile in a bid to celebrate larger noses after experiencing a lack of representation for ladies like her in the entertainment and beauty industry. Radhika's campaign exploded online, with thousands of women sharing their own #SideProfileSelfies and thanking the writer for spearheading the campaign. Here, Radhika exclusively tells GLAMOUR UK just how far her beauty campaign went, how she saved young women from cosmetic surgery and the exciting news that's come off the back of it.
“I’ve been booked in for plastic surgery for months,” one girl wrote to me. “I’m 18 and it was the birthday present I’ve wanted my whole life. But your campaign has changed things. It’s made me like my nose, and now I don’t want to change it. I’ve cancelled my surgery appointment.”
This is just one of the thousands of messages I’ve received over the last week from people with big noses. I never expected this kind of reaction when I started my #sideprofileselfie campaign. The idea was for people to face their fears of a side-profile photo and actually post a selfie onto social media with the hashtag #sideprofileselfie. I did one last week, along with a message about how I want to break the big nose taboo, and suddenly, thousands came flooding in.
The messages accompanying the photos are honestly beautiful. I’ve been in tears reading them - I never knew how many people felt the same way I did, how many people have honestly had their self-esteem affected by their noses, and how it has actually held them back from living their lives to the full.
One of the biggest themes has been people changing their minds about surgery. Safa, a young girl in her twenties, told me that she’d been having nose fillers this past year. Unlike plastic surgery it isn’t permanent but can cost hundreds of pounds to iron out bumps. “I wish I hadn’t done it now,” she said honestly. “When it wears off, I’m going to leave my nose as it is. It’s my family nose. I’m proud of it.”
Another woman tweeted me saying: “After going for an appointment with a cosmetic surgery company, who wanted £4500 to ‘fix’ my nose... I decided my nose didn’t need to be ‘fixed’”, and a 14-year-old girl messaged me on Instagram to say that she’s decided she won’t have surgery as soon as she’s legally old enough. “I’m going to try and love my nose instead,” she said. “I know it’s going to be hard because I’ve always hated it, but your campaign has inspired me.”
It’s a topic that’s really close to my heart because I used to hate my nose. For all of my teenage years up to my mid twenties, I avoided side-profile photos like the plague. I couldn’t bear to see my big, crooked nose in real life, let alone in a permanent photo. I was convinced I’d get a nose job as soon as I left school.
But when I was 17, my mum - who I’d never told my nose concerns to - offered me one. She was trying to be supportive because a few girls at school had gone for the surgery, but I was so offended that I said no out of some kind of defensive rebelliousness and shock.
Ten years later, I’m so glad I said no, because I’ve since learnt to love my nose. In it’s own way, it’s beautiful. It’s an interesting shape, it’s strong, it’s powerful and it suits my face. But the best bit about loving my nose is that it’s helped thousands of women - and some men - start to change the way they feel about their looks. So many of them have told me how it’s changed their lives. Every single one of them is so brave.
If you don’t have a big nose it’s hard to understand what a big deal it is to embrace it publicly. But when we grow up in a world full of Gigi Hadid’s, Kate Moss’s and Cameron Diaz’s, it’s really hard to think you’re beautiful if you have a big nose.
It’s why I’m now going to carry on the campaign and celebrate the many people who have sent me #sideprofilfeselfies by creating an exhibition of their selfies along with their stories. The details are yet to be released, but the plan is to launch an exhibition later in the year where people can come and feel inspired as they look at these #sideprofileselfies and take one of their own.
After years of being made to feel bad about not having little ski-jump noses, women like me are started to own our big noses. It’s so powerful and the fact that it’s gone so viral shows just how relevant it is. On Instagram I've even been coined 'nose queen' for this movement, so in my new role as nose queen, I'm going to keep the big nose love coming.
I'm going to continue encouraging people to post a #sideprofileselfie and celebrate their nose. And one day, I’m going to make sure the message reaches the fashion, beauty and entertainment industries, so that they start giving us big-nosed babes the spotlight we deserve."
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