Shark Tank India’s Namita Thapar busted some myths about herself in a freewheeling chat with writer Chetan Bhagat on his YouTube channel. Namita said that when people look at her, they assume that she comes from money, and has always been a strong, powerful personality. But this, she said, isn’t true.
She said that she grew up in a ‘conservative Gujarati family’ and thought that she was deeply unattractive, dumb, and undeserving of her father’s love because she wasn’t good enough. She also revealed that she would be shamed for coming second in exams, and this affected her sense of self-worth.
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She said, “I was not like this when I was a kid. I was very overweight, I had a lot of facial hair and acne, I was body-shamed a lot as a teenager. Nobody looked at me, it was me looking at the guys and having crushes, let’s just say that. When you’re body-shamed like that as a teenager, that leaves a lot of scars. I had facial hair, and there was a guy in my class who’d call me ‘the girl with the moustache’ in Marathi.”
Namita continued, “I used to feel extremely ugly, and I had very low self-esteem. The first time I liked myself, and felt good about myself was at 21, when I became a chartered accountant. For 21 years of life, I did not like myself… So, I judged myself on my looks, my marksheet, which is a strong message to teenagers out there. Now, nobody gives a damn about my 10th grade, no one ever asks me what I did. The best years of my life, when I could’ve been climbing trees and laughing and creating all these memories, the bulk of my life till I was 21 was spent crying, because I did not like myself. I felt I was dumb — just because I came second, by the way, how stupid — I felt I was unattractive, I felt my father didn’t love me enough which is why he didn’t want to spend enough time with me… I thought the problem was with me.”
She said that as a woman in the public space, she prefers talking about the ‘imperfect stuff’ in her life to remind people that struggle is important, and that everyone has to go through it. She said that her struggles have made her a kinder, more empathetic person, and that she’s glad that these virtues were highlighted by viewers of Shark Tank.
Namita, along with Anupam Mittal, Ashneer Grover, Vinita Singh, Ghazal Alagh, Aman Gupta and Peyush Bansal, became a household name after the successful first season of the reality show Shark Tank India. The show will return for a second season later this year.