Empowerment is learning to feel safe in your own skin

New Delhi, Oct 9 : L’Oreal Paris held its fifth iteration of “Le Defile L’Oreal Paris” in the centre of the global fashion industry. This year’s event, “Walk Your Worth,” was created to encourage all women, as well as the brand’s family of courageous spokespeople, to show up in the world without apology and to confidently go in the direction of their goals. The open outdoor runway show., which took place on October 2, 2022, was attended by more than 2,000 members of the general public and was held at the Ecole Militaire, a national landmark in the centre of Paris and a representation of French brilliance.

The Le Defile L’Oreal Paris, a made-in-Paris global gathering that honours sisterhood and empowerment, is back for its fifth iteration since 2021. Global icon Yseult, who appeared on the runway for the second year in a row, as well as empowered beauties Andie MacDowell, Eva Longoria, and Katherine Langford, delighted the audience with their recognisable charisma and confidence, served as the brand’s spokespeople. Lela Bekhti, Marie Bochet, Cindy Bruna, Gemma Chan, Nikolaj Coster Waldau, Luma Grothe, Liya Kebede, Aja Naomi King, Soo Joo Park, Camille Razat, Nidhi Sunil, and Bebe Vio Grandis were additional returning Le Defile spokespersons.

Indian supermodel with international fame, Nidhi Sunil, returning Le Defile spokesperson took out time to speak to IANSlife about the event and life as an international model.

How does it feel to be back at Le Defile L’Oreal Paris?

Nidhi: It’s always a surreal feeling to be back here, with my L’Oreal Paris family. I always look forward to reconnecting with empowered women here from across the world, to take back new memories.

What is different this year from past shows? What can the public expect?

Nidhi: This year, the theme of the show is ‘Walk your Worth’. This is a call for women to unapologetically show up in the world and walk towards their goals with confidence. This year, L’Oreal Paris will embrace the union between beauty and fashion, both accessible and aspirational. The show will exhibit the diversity and heritage of the fashion scene in Paris, along with products backed by scientific excellence, with consumers all over the world.

What does the show’s location, the Ecole Militaire, symbolize to you?

Nidhi: The Ecole Militaire is a historic site that was used to be dominated by men but today, it has a stronger presence of female students there. This sends out a very strong message of women empowerment across the masses. This place today is a milestone in this long struggle that women had to deal with over the years. However, this is just the beginning, and we still have miles to go.

How does it feel to be reunited with your fellow global spokespeople for this show?

Nidhi: To come back here and meet these amazing people makes me feel so warm and happy. Like I said, I draw inspiration from these women who are strong and powerful. It is truly wonderful.

What does walking in Le Defile L’Oreal Paris mean to you?

Nidhi: It is a chance for me to connect with so many amazing women that have been an inspiration for me. I believe it is so incredible to have so many women, who are doing wonderful things, all together in one place. I truly love how L’Oreal Paris manages to make this happen year after year. I have noticed that every time, I come back with so much inspiration and so many ideas about doing a lot of new things. It is just really nice to share the space with some of these strong and powerful women.

What does empowerment mean to you?

Nidhi: I feel empowerment is learning to feel safe in your own skin. We are breaking a lot of old social patterns and conditioning, especially as a woman, it is really interesting when you come to a place like the Le Defile because there are women here from all over the world, but we all have such specific patterns that have been put into our brains as children that we are all struggling to break. I have always noticed when I have broken one of those patterns, I feel very relaxed and comfortable in my own skin. I feel like myself. I believe empowerment is coming back to your true self.

Why is Stand Up Against Street Harassment such an integral part of Le Defile?

Nidhi: The Stand Up Against Street Harassment program is very close to my heart as I too have gone through it. I don’t think I know a single girl who has not gone through the same or has been protected from it. Your mothers are aware of that, and they try everything to make sure you don’t go through that but there is no protecting anyone from it. I have been groped in public. I have been catcalled and it doesn’t matter where I am – I have been catcalled in Bombay, Paris, and New York. It was always so traumatizing. I was always so stunned that I didn’t know how to respond.

But it is great to be equipped with how to respond to it for someone else and that is what the Stand Up Against Street Harassment program teaches you. It is about what you should do when you see someone being harassed because they are in a state of shock. It also educates you on how to de-escalate the situation and it was very useful. I had never thought of it from a bystander’s perspective. I didn’t know what to do and how to get involved as a bystander without getting into trouble or escalating the situation. I feel everyone should go through the program.

What look did you wear on the runway?

Nidhi: I wore a Giambattista Valli couture dress. It was a beautiful, red, enormous dress. I was very excited to be wearing the colour, as I love red. I love the designer. I am really excited about the outfit. And I got lucky, as I came in early and got to get my dress fitted earlier than everyone, I had a great time with it.

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