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Unapologetically Sayanora Philip: My legs are gorgeous and I love them – Exclusive – Eagles Vine

Musician Sayanora Philip and her girl squad recently grooved to the peppy number ‘Kahin Aag Lage Lag Jaave’ and guess what?
Aag toh lagi! The video surely has set the internet on fire. While a few netizens cheered to the rapport Sayanora and her girls, others were upset because Sayanora wore casual shorts. The moral policing reached the verge of sending Sayanora distasteful and sexist messages, most of them asking why a curvy woman of colour, who is also a mother, was showing off her legs?

Sayanora gave a befitting reply to the wet blankets by sharing a photo of her embracing her legs. Because why not? And like the lyrics read, “Kahin Aag Lage Lag Jaave… Koi Naag Danse Dans Jaave… Kabhi Gagan Gire Gir Jaave… Chaahe Kuch Bhi Ho Jaaye,” Sayanora is at ease and absolutely unapologetic and confident as hell.

In an exclusive freewheeling conversation with ETimes, Sayanora Philip got unfiltered and unguarded about the body-shaming incidents she has faced in the past, how she dealt with it, India’s obsession with fair skin, the deep-rooted body image issues, her insights, and her journey towards finding self-love, and much more.

Society is conditioned


Although Sayanora Philip condemns the netizens who had the audacity to put inappropriate comments for her choice of clothes, the musician shares that the problem is deeper than what meets the eye. “We can’t blame them completely, because they are all conditioned to think a certain way. Those who have grown up seeing women in the family, taking care of the male members, feeding the children, and selflessly supporting the family, and not even dreaming of a life outside the four walls, cannot stand independent women. They are shocked. We still look at progressiveness (change) as something that would degrade our culture and tradition. We are starting to progress in terms of perspectives, reflection upon life, but unfortunately not body positivity. Many of us are yet to think outside the box of the stereotypes we have been familiar with for years,” Sayanora elaborates.

India’s obsession with fair skin and the influence of the British


Sayanora points out that India’s obsession with fairness would have escalated during the British colonial rule. “I think the idea that fair or white skin is beautiful must have come to India because of the influence of the British. We Dravidians were always the people of color, but at some point, we started to adore the English people. That might have been the beginning of our obsession with fair skin,” she relays.

I was insecure as a child


Growing up Sayanora too was insecure about her color. “There were times I felt conscious when a fair skin woman stood next to me. As a child, I used to compare myself with kids who were fair and check how many shades darker I am. While in school, I used to see people flirting around my friends and not me, which made me think nobody would ever fall for me. I didn’t receive love letters and as a child, I felt hopeless about life,” she confesses.

Sayanora adds that she started to feel confident after joining college, “I started playing guitar and people started noticing me. And that was the beginning of me finding self-love. But I struggled a lot.”

The first thing I asked the doctor, after giving birth to my child was her colour


Sayanora Philip dealt with major negative body image issues and her path to body positivity wasn’t a cakewalk. “I was insecure to the point, where I wanted to give birth to a fair child. I wasn’t able to wrap my head around the fact that what all the child would go through for the skin color. The first thing I asked the doctor, after giving birth to my child was her colour. I didn’t ask if the baby was a boy or a girl. I wanted to know whether my child was fair. Looking back, I feel so sorry for her and myself because I was conditioned to think like that. And nobody should go through that. Every teenage girl should be proud of her body. My baby girl is growing up and I want her to be confident,” she adds talking a stroll down the memory lane.

The times are changing


“But the times are changing and we all have started to unlearn things and shatter the conventional beauty standards. We have started recognizing the beauty in coloured people. For me, beauty isn’t just about physical appearance, but a lot of other factors. I value a person when I know them inside out and that has nothing to do with how they dress, their religion, or social strata. Every person is unique and that’s what helps us stand out. And if you want to live a meaningful life, respect people for who they really are. Instead of judging someone by their appearance, clothes, or religion, open your eyes and see, how beautiful the world is!” she emphasizes.

The pandemic gave me a new perspective


The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic upended lives, but it also gave us time to pause and reflect on ourselves, and Sayanora affirms. “The pandemic was a low point in my life. Suddenly, life came to a standstill. We all were in a rat race. I was busy producing music, performing for stage shows, one after the other and I never got a chance to pause. Like everyone, I got into the never-ending race ever since I was born. Excelling in studies, earning a job, chasing dreams. We are not pausing and reflecting upon what is happening in our lives, happening to ourselves, destroyed and damaged by so many norms in society. But the pandemic and the lockdown that followed got me thinking. Am I loving myself? I learned that that’s what counts the most. It was during this time, I started exploring the person I am, found self-love, and then I understood that I should never let anyone dim my sparkle. You have only one life and instead of trying to belittle someone, invest your time in building your life and the world would be a better place. Also, I feel it is high time people recognize that there is more to a person beyond our image on social media. We all have our lives, our own share of struggles,” Sayanora turned philosophical.

‘Aag Lage Lag Jaave’


In recent news, we heard about Afghan women protesting against the Taliban’s Burqa order, with slogans ‘Don’t Touch My Clothes’ and although the incident Sayanora encountered lately is different, both come down to the fact that a section of people cannot stand the idea of women choosing their own clothes.

Sayanora and her BFFs – Bhavana, Ramya Nambeesan, Shilpa Bala, Mrudula Murali, and Shafna met each other after a while. And the girls had a fun reunion and decided to capture a video of them dancing to the song ‘Aag Lage Lag Jaave’ from the Bollywood movie ‘Taal’.

While lakhs of people tuned into the video, a few couldn’t stand Sayanora wearing shorts. “I found the video fun and wanted to post it. I wasn’t concerned about people seeing my legs. And then all of a sudden I started getting disgusting messages. I told my daughter and my baby girl was furious. ‘How rude and mean,’ she burst. A woman DM’ed me. She was very polite, said that she is an admirer of my songs, and asked why I was wearing such outfits, after all, I am a mother. That is what I am trying to say, we are conditioned,” she explains.

My legs are gorgeous


The hate messages ranged from discriminating Sayanora for her skin color to asking her to have some shame, as she is a mother. But, no, that didn’t stop Sayanora from wearing what she likes or embracing her body, it only added power. Following the backlash, Sayanora posted a photo of her confidently flaunting her legs.

“That photo was taken months back. I wanted to post, it but was concerned about how things would pan out. I suppressed my urge to post it because I was worried about what people would think about me as a woman, a mother, and an artist. But the recent incident pushed me to post it. I wanted to let those netizens know that we all should respect our body and embrace it. And with my baby girl’s approval, I posted it. My legs are gorgeous and I love them,” the diva adds.

I am happy and unapologetic

Sayanora Philip



The talented musician underlines that all of them should break the stereotypes and evolve. “I am trying to teach my daughter to not get stuck in that body thing. Don’t let anyone put you in a box, outgrow. You are beyond that. Outgrow everything. I did the same and it worked for me. And I am loving myself so dearly. I am no longer bothered about how people would feel seeing my legs. They are beautiful. I haven’t explored my Carnatic singing skills, dancing skills, my body, sensuality, or sexuality. And I am going to explore everything. And I am very very happy and unapologetic about it,” Sayanora signs off confirming that she is unstoppable and invincible now.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com

The Times of India

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper and digital news media owned and managed by The Times Group. According to Audit Bureau of Circulations, it is ranked 9th in the world by circulation and 3rd in India.

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