Praachi Nagpal is a stylist who has shown to the world that will-power is all that one needs to shine in life. Battling diabetes since a very young age to dealing with bullies, Praachi has come a long way in establishing herself in the fashion industry. Being a staunch animal lover – her choice of brand endorsements shows her steadfastness towards her cause and also promotes conscious consumerism. Praachi Nagpal has made a mark in the Bollywood fashion industry and has worked with A-listers like Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt and Katrina Kaif.
Read the interview of Praachi Nagpal to learn more about her life.
Questions and answers
Because of diabetes, you probably had to cut back on a lot of food habits and lifestyle. How did you deal with the mental trauma?
The first few years were the most difficult as I didn’t know what it exactly was or how to handle my diet, routine and my insulin levels. I had to let go of all my dreams and my favourites like eating bananas, Nutella, wanting to be Miss India. But soon I realised that life is much more than that. I started to deal with the trauma, with the support of my parents, family and friends. Going to the therapist is normal when things that you never planned happen.
What got you interested in fashion in the first place?
Since my childhood, I’ve been surrounded by well-dressed people. I was super conscious about the way I looked and dressed. In high school, after tons of bullying because of my looks and not wanting to study too much, I decided to take commerce with fashion. I realised that I was good at dressing up and helping others with fashion choices. So I decided to make a career out of it. I’m one of the few lucky ones who make a career out of their love and passion.
Do you think fast fashion endangers the life of animals? How can we curb it?
Ever since I got my dog, I have started loving animals more than ever. Laboratory experiments use 115 million animals each year. Fashion should not be all about your external beauty and what is trending. Instead, it should be a choice that reflects inner beauty, and that considers and protects our little furry friends. As consumers, we have the power to drive change by choosing the clothes we buy and who we support with our money. It’s better to pick clothing that doesn’t involve the mass farming and killing of animals. Go local! Sustainable and thrift items are not just ethical but also super unique and cool. I’m a thrift hoarder, and I think I will continue to be one!
Walk us through your process of studying a brand before you plan to endorse it?
If you notice, I’ve always up until now only endorsed local brands and those that are sustainable. The pandemic has opened my perspective on the future of the planet, and when it comes down to brands, I don’t want to be associated with promoting someone who is just doing it for promotion and not for a real value-creating world.
What has been the biggest setback of your life, and how did you deal with it?
The biggest setback for me was, of course, my diabetes, but now it has become a part of my daily life. Apart from that, not making it to the top 3 in 2019 for the Miss India Andhra Pradesh auditions because of unethical practices in the organisation rendered me devastated for months. But soon I realised that that’s how things in the Indian pageant industry work now. They don’t want someone who wants to help and motivate people, but just the next big thing in Bollywood because we never had another Miss India actress of that level after Priyanka Chopra. When you’re clear about your long run dreams and goals in life, you get yourself together and move on!
Talk to us about your experience of working with Ranveer Singh?
From a 12-year-old crushing all over him in Band Baaja Baarat to being 22 and having worked with him, been in the same room with him, it’s been a blessing. He’s exactly the same in person as he is in front of the camera. About his fashion sense – he chooses to dress up that way. His energy is magnetic. We reached his place at 4 am for fittings when we heard him rehearsing for an awards ceremony performance. His presence was like a breath of fresh air, and one just couldn’t help being amazed by him.
What did you learn at NIFT that pushes you to be better daily?
In terms of studies, not much. But in terms of life values, NIFT has taught me a lot. One thing that I believe in is that it’s not what’s taught within the four walls that’s going to decide my future. Instead, it is my own decisions, experiences and intuitions that will help me get on in life. NIFT teaches you what not to be in life and what mistakes you should never make and repeat. When it comes to styling, I’d say only the photoshoots have been a great help because that just made me realise that this is what I want to do every day for the rest of my life.
Being a Ranveer Singh fan and working with him, what do you adore the most about him?Being a Ranveer Singh fan and working with him, what do you adore the most about him?
That he never wants to stop. He has a passion and zest for life. He’s genuinely a kind-hearted human being. We end up thinking that stars are snobbish and self-obsessed, but that’s not true. From Ranveer to Alia, to Disha Patani, to Katrina and even Salman, they’ve all been super kind and sweet. You’ve got to be in the industry to know them and not make assumptions about them behind a screen.
There are many assumptions people have about beauty pageants, having been part of one, can you bust a few myths?
It’s not always the prettiest face or the tallest girl in the room that wins. These notions are highly misconceived. Being a pageant winner requires near perfection, but everyone has flaws. Winning a beauty pageant does not mean an easy pathway to Bollywood and modelling either. Taapsee Pannu, Pooja Hegde, Sonam Bajwa and Disha Patani are all powerhouses who didn’t win the pageant and more popular than their counterparts who won. So it comes down to talent and hard work with smart work more than just a pretty face with a set backbone for you.
You stand up for the truth and against injustice. Being a public figure, there's a lot of criticism that comes with speaking your mind, how do you deal with it?
I believe in the quote- “The truth is always bitter.”
And it is always empty vessels and half-knowledge people who make the most noise in the name of criticism. What the world needs are more to start speaking out for the right than keeping quiet and supporting the wrong. Even if one among a thousand people listens and resonates with you, he will inspire another and create a chain of righteousness.
You are a major supporter of local business, where did this love come from?
The pandemic and all this time at home when in the beginning we had to stick to using the basic and locally available items, that’s when it hit me how important local businesses are and how much we take them for granted. I’m so glad seeing so many people, including the industry and people in power coming together for the smaller businesses.
What problems did you face when you had stepped in the industry?
Initially, it was difficult to build a scene and a niche in the industry. But the right kind of people in my company and the right kind of guidance helped a lot. I didn’t face any major issues as such. Be it the fashion industry or Bollywood for styling; they were both super welcoming as I never went in with a negative mindset. When you have an open and positive mind, you will align with the same energy and people.
Can you talk to us about the projects in the pipeline?
With the pandemic putting me a year back on my plans, I’ve had to let go of a few. I’m currently working on my content creation for Instagram, trying to bring out the comedian in me and taking comedy workshops. I’m a sucker for comedy and comedians in India. I’m preparing for my Masters in Styling in Italy. I was helping out a Miss India contestant recently in her wardrobe building, and that was super exciting! So yes there’s a lot lined up, and it’s just all one vaccine away.
a. One advice for readers- Always dress up like you’re going to meet your worst enemy!
b. Most memorable shoot– The Royal Stag shoot in Feb 2020, with Ranveer Singh because he complimented my whole look and outfit that day and that left me super happy!
Swimsuit or ball gown in a fashion show– A swimsuit any day! No matter what people say, the fun, and the confidence wearing a swimsuit gives is phenomenal.
c. Favourite styling assignment – Not an assignment, but the whole process of sourcing for assignments is really fun. I think if I were to choose an assignment, it would be Sharmin Segal’s promotions for her movie Malaal.
d. Heels or flats– HEELS. I’ve over 200 pairs of shoes out which I think at least 130 would be heels.
e. Favourite celebrity look– I’m head over heels in love with Sonam Kapoor’s style, but a look of a celeb I’ll never forget is Aishwarya Rai at Cannes in the Michael Cinco blue gown. She was a vision you can never forget. And straight out of a fairytale!