Kimi Verma: ‘Healthy Living Should Not feel Like a Punishment’

She is the face of brands such as Sunsilk, Nivea and Ponds, and owns the designer label Shail K. Kimi Verma’s experience of going from being a model and actress to a health coach in Los Angeles is one of grit and hard work. As I speak to her, I quickly realize how grounded she is.

We begin talking about her roots.

“I was born in a small town in Punjab called Jagraon,” says Verma. “My parents were forward thinkers. They sent me to an English medium school that was a 40-mile drive each day. That was the only school that taught English at the time. I think the exposure there tremendously helped with my public speaking skills and helped me widen my mental wings.”

Her family’s move to Mumbai due to terrorism in Punjab was the catalyst in her success story. Winning the Miss Beautiful Hair in the Miss India competition and winning the Miss Mumbai pageant opened up multiple advertising and modeling assignments for her.

But it wasn’t always easy. “Adjusting to the fast-paced life of Mumbai was a big challenge,” Verma says. “I was not as aware of things in big cities as my friends were and they often made fun of me. But I was a courageous girl from childhood, always up for challenges. Once I got over that, there was no looking back. I believe in the philosophy that if a door opens up for you, just walk in. Don’t think too much.”

Support for Female Education and Groups

Verma is also an ardent contributor to charities like Akshaya Patra that provide meals to Indian school children, a major incentive for them to come to school, and to Los Angeles Giving Circle, which funds upcoming female entrepreneurs.

“It is very important for women to be financially independent,” she says. “It teaches them self-worth. I stand big and tall for women having support from institutions for their organizations and goals.”

As president of the upcoming Miss and Mrs. Punjaban USA pageant, Verma says, “It is important to bring married women to the limelight too. Why not promote them as they are the real pillars of our families?”

A Health Coach, Nutritionist and Dietician

Working in the glamour industry for long and being aware of of the desire for men and women to be fit made Verma delve deep into the need to promote healthy living.

“While modeling for many companies and being associated with many pageants, I was always surrounded by beautiful women,” she says. “Common to all of them was their struggle with staying healthy while maintaining their weight. My study on nutrition science at Stanford University reinforced my thoughts about health. I decided to help people who innocently harm their health.”

She rails against the myths about weight loss.

“I tell my clients to stop thinking about getting into a particular size but rather start with correct food choices and activity,” Verma says. “This helps get the pressure off. Losing weight should not feel like a punishment.”

She describes what she has seen in people who don’t know what and how to eat, and the lack of a holistic approach to health.

“I volunteered for hospital meal service in Los Angeles and met many people suffering from diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, etc., all caused by unhealthy eating habits,” Verma says. “We let these diseases happen by making wrong food choices and due to a lack of activity.

In June, she is coming up with a new talk show on TV Asia, “You and Your Health,” in which she will address questions from people that “love to ask questions about health.” Besides, Verma is also working on two Punjabi movies.

A certified sky diver, she is for everything adventurous.

“I love doing things that challenge me,” she says. Clearly, she has no shortage of them.