Iâ€™m Tulsi Vagjiani (gham Kera-Kundanpur) I was involved in an accident that was a huge shock felt by the SKLPC samaj the world over. I lost my family in a plane crash, aged 10, in which I sustained 45% burns to my face and body. In a split second, life as I knew had changed forever and now it was filled with uncertainty and insecurities.
Having come from a close community and partaking in cultural programmes, this was the very community I didnâ€™t want to be near. I felt I was judged or ridiculed when often it stemmed from my own insecurities about my appearance. No one knew how to deal with someone who looked like me, or even about my loss. As a culture, we are taught to brush things under the carpet, we donâ€™t talk about it nor do we show that we are struggling.
This lead me to suppressing a lot of my emotions and experiences, resulting in severe depression. I had low self-worth or self-esteem. I loathed who I was and what I looked like.
Who would marry me? Can anyone love me? And many other thoughts like this.
Life changed for me when I was faced with End stage renal failure at the age of 26. Being on dialysis and studying during that time was certainly challenging but I was determined not to let this get in the way.
2009 I received my kidney transplant which my body took to straight away but I was ill most of that year due to adverse reaction to the medication I was on.
One significant experience that changed the course of my mindset was during a hospital stay in which at night in the eerie vibes of the ward, an image of Lord Krishna appeared. It was so clear and so real. Being on strong doses of medication, I felt I was hallucinating but yet it felt so real. The message I got, was something I can never forget â€œSurrender onto me, what you cannot controlâ€. I looked around in surprise as it was so surreal.
As I started to be kinder to myself, I started to let go of things I couldnâ€™t control. My constant hospital stays and reactions of others were beyond my control. The more my confidence grew the deeper my spiritual strength developed.
I had an opportunity to be a catwalk model, something I dreamed of but never imaging it to come true. I didnâ€™t fit the beauty norm, but this was the start to a new narrative within the fashion and beauty industry. I have done various media work with these campaigns which has developed my confidence to be an influential speaker which is my current profession. I now no longer look for validation because I accepted who I am. I am my own version of beautiful which is not measured against anyone else.
I got made a Global Ambassador for a womenâ€™s charity which I stepped down from due to change in direction of my charity work.
I am now an ambassador for the charity Changing Faces where I have been involved in several pivotal campaigns and recently was made an ambassador for #TOGETHERBAND to help promote the UN goal to â€˜reduce inequalitiesâ€™.
This is where my passion lies; reducing inequalities so that we have a fairer representation and opportunity to succeed without limitations.
During my recent years I have received many awards for my humanitarian work but I have recently made a conscious decision to refuse any nominations or awards because serving humanity is the core of my soul journey and the best award I need is to see compassion and love spreading far and wide.
I recently got appointed head judge for the She Awards, which is a great platform to recognise and celebrate women from all sectors. To read the incredibly courageous stories has been truly inspiring and an important reminder, that women working together is far stronger than working alone.
I feel very privileged to have lived the life I have, because it has enriched my service to serve humanity with compassion and grace.
Pilates Rehabilitation Specialist