VJ Bani Was Body Shamed For Her Muscular Body And Here’s How She Gave It Back

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Former Roadies contestant and VJ-turned-actress Gurbani Judge aka Bani J is looked up by many youngsters across our country. She’s smart, sexy and successful. But as we all know, fame comes with a price. Despite being one of the fittest female celebrities in India, VJ Bani has often been body shamed by many for her muscular physique. In a tell-all piece on Hindustan Times Brunch, she has written about the criticism that came her way and how she dealt with it like a boss. Here are a few excerpts from her feature:

I have drool-worthy abs and a muscular body by choice, and that has put me at the receiving end of so much body shaming, it’s unbelievable. India puts too much emphasis on a certain kind of a body. For a woman, thin is supposed to be good, and if there’s any deviation — too thin, too fat, or muscular (manly, they call it!) – she hears no end about it….

For most people, body shaming begins when they are really young. I have a teenage friend, and I hear her father call her fat, fatso and similar names. He says them with love, but why? Your family is your support system, your first shield against the world, and if they begin to chip at your self-esteem and confidence like this, then who is there to support you?…

I was 18, I took part in the reality show MTV Roadies. Criticism from fellow contestants, constant fights… it was super tough, but I survived. I didn’t just win the competition, but also hosted the next four seasons of Roadies, and launched my career in a big way…

But when I decided to really work out at the age of 19 and make my body as strong as possible, the mayhem began. No one, neither men, nor women, could get it. Why do you work out so much? Muscles for a woman… why?…

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I still remember a well-known casting director who asked me if I had become a man yet; had I grown a penis yet? Seriously, she did! This was really long ago, and I have bumped into her often since, but even though I was seriously upset, I don’t show any anger. I didn’t then, and haven’t since. These people are not worth it…

Today I am in a happy space, personally and professionally. My career is really diverse as I am a model, a video jockey and an actress. I am getting movie roles that are based on my physicality, which is amazing. The film I did with Honey Singh, Zorawar (2016), where I played an assassin, sort of launched me in a special way in the industry. And now I am doing a Telugu film where, again, the makers sought me out because of the way I look…

I am a brand ambassador for a fitness app, and was the only non-athlete to be part of the Nike campaign that has 12 senior athletes, runners and others who represent the country. I think this is awesome, because it shows I am making something of myself by not letting detractors get me down.

I am happy that I am able to showcase the extent of body transformation women too can do. It’s all within us. Not in other people’s minds. So listen to your own self, always.

Let body shamers be damned!

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