Indian American teen Model Gowri Nadella is a first-generation American, actress, singer, voice over artist, ramp walker and student. She is all of 16, and this is her story in her own words.
I think it is fitting to talk about my parents, their story, their grit and strong work ethics that have influenced me today. Both my parents immigrated to America at a young age. They were the first of their family to come to the US and worked incredibly hard to create a stable life and beautiful family. I learned of all their sacrifices to provide me the best life. How they worked on their lives and careers when all their family was abroad. It made me overflow with gratitude and since I have strived to continually make my parents proud.
I grew up in an ethnic household where music, creativity, and being intuitive were always celebrated. This directly fostered my love for music and in particular, singing. At age six, I began to train in Indian Classical Carnatic Vocal.
My creative side saw further expression through music, a love for fashion and pop culture. I remember being seven years old and telling my parents that I wanted to be a model. At first, my parents thought this was a phase that I would soon outgrow, like most children, but they quickly learned that this was something I was serious about.
While they were extremely supportive, they were totally unaware of the process as no one from our circle of friends and family had explored the possibility of being a model, and so, my dream was put on hold for a few years.
At age 14, by a happy coincidence, an opportunity came my way that changed my life. I was scouted by a modeling agent in our local target. This opened up a world of new opportunities and after this, my career grew exponentially.
In March 2019, I walked the 2019 Chicago Fashion Week and was published in Dixie Magazine. I worked harder to prove to myself and to others that anyone of race and ethnicity could follow their dreams.
I discovered an inner drive and began to focus on all facets of my life, particularly in modeling and school. In August 2019, I flew to New York City to sign up with my dream agency, MMG. A month later, I was cast to be a part of the “See You Through My Eyes” music video for the band, The Head and The Heart.
In April 2020, I was published by photo Vogue Italy which led me to believe that if I genuinely worked on looking inwards and bettering myself, all aspects of my life could thrive. I feel honored that I get the opportunity to share my story as growing up I did not see any Indian American teen models in the fashion industry, which made it really hard to feel accepted and included.
It just goes to prove that you can pursue your dreams. I never imagined I would be able to pursue and achieve the goals I had as a little girl. What I love most about the fashion industry is how it is constantly evolving. Diversity is now celebrated and I want to be a part of this push for inclusivity.
To anyone reading this I want you to know that nothing should ever stop you from celebrating your unique qualities, race, religion, or ethnicity. Once I genuinely embraced and loved who I was, I experienced transformative personal and career growth. Thank you SEEMA for letting me share my story!