Our social media timelines are flooded with celebrities and influencers flaunting perfect skin, luscious hair and flawless figures. Makes you want to curl up under your blanket and never step outside, right? Well, at times like those, it’s always refreshing to meet a girl who’s thoroughly comfortable in her own skin and unapologetically herself. Neelakshi Singh aka Pump to Pretty is that to us!
A fashion blogger, body positive advocate and plus-sized model, Neelakshi is the inspiration we all need to accept ourselves just the way we are. We recently had the chance to chat with her and discussed everything from quirky hair colours to body positivity and more.
BB: What inspired you to start your blog 'Plump to Pretty'?
NS: Plump to Pretty is my style diary where I adhere to my style beliefs and share them virtually with every woman who might want to take a leaf out of it. The main reason I continue to blog is the positive response I started getting from women who have struggled to find fashion as a solace they could relate to (at any size).
BB: Who do you look up to for beauty inspiration?
NS: I genuinely look up to people from every walk of life that have a non-conformist style of beauty, but to name a few from the industry I will always say Marilyn Monroe, Chriselle Lim, Michelle Phan (the OG beauty YouTuber whom I bow down to everyday), and of late I’ve been absolutely adoring Katie Jane Hughes. What I love about these stunning women is how real they keep it, and it's not just about the beauty on the inside!
BB: We've noticed you colour your hair frequently. Any hair care tips you follow to keep your hair healthy?
NS: I go for hair spas and a fusio-dose treatment at least twice a month in a salon, while at home I will wash my hair with apple cider vinegar or beer regularly. I'm also used to oiling my hair before a wash and deep conditioning it after. To maintain the colour I will usually mix a little bit of pigment in the conditioner and let it sit for 5 minutes while I’m in the shower.
BB: Is there any thought behind selecting your eccentric hair colour shades and bold makeup looks?
NS: Honestly, no! I haven't felt the need to stand out 'cause I feel at my size and frame I'm pretty hard to ignore anyway, but my hair is really just an extension of my personality. I colour my hair to complement my mood and celebrate it through makeup.
BB: Tell us about your makeup routine.
NS: My everyday makeup is pretty clean and simple. I always emphasise more on skincare. I conceal my under-eye bags and apply a lot of mascara. I do my brows thick and fluffy, apply a tint on my cheeks and lips and finish with prep and prime spray. If I have a meeting or I'm just getting out for an event, I go elaborate with eyeshadows and try and avoid eyeliners if I'm using a lot of colours.
BB: Could you tell us a bit about the skincare routine you follow?
NS: In the morning after my CTM routine, I apply a vitamin C serum and sunscreen and then go on with the rest of my makeup. For my night routine, I follow a thorough CTM ritual followed by vitamin C serum with a Gua Sha stone massage. Then move to eye cream and a sleeping mask for face and lips. I also use spot treatments for acne, and a clay mask and sheet mask twice a week.
BB: How do you use makeup to express who you are?
NS: I guess my makeup gives people a talking point and it makes me a little more approachable. The conversations can never go wrong when it starts with compliments. I don't take pride in my makeup skills being top notch, but I have understood what works for my face and hope to evolve more.
BB: How did you overcome the plus-size stigma?
NS: People have been exceptionally kind to me online and I have never had so much hate as I have from people in real life. So I think counteracting that has been more challenging. I have started believing in this - You can be the sweetest, ripest most beautiful looking peach but then there are people who just don't like peaches! So well, I'm not here for anyone. I'm here for myself.
BB: A lot of young people find it difficult to accept their body or appearance and are always looking to fit in. Any words of advice for them?
NS: There are days when you don't feel good about, well, just about anything – take a breather and slow down or just take it head-on. Do what feels more YOU, there's nothing more gratifying than taking charge or letting yourself do what you want. You just need to decide which side you want to be on.