A brief introduction about the guest:
A serial entrepreneur, a tattoo artist, a columnist, a body-positivity activist thus an influencer in the truest sense of the word, an actor and a model, a dog lover – this girl is an absolute trailblazer and does whatever she feels passionate about, no questions asked and without a care about who or what is going to be said about her!
Mallika Angela Chaudhuri has been setting Chennai on fire with her body positivity, and tattoo studio dedicated to the welfare of her 14 rescue doggies, and she says she did it all through the help of social media and being true to herself no matter what people said or thought about her.
Today, we go in-depth with her life and what drives her to be an inspiration to so many, including her 100 thousand followers.
What has been the starting point of your journey? Any thought, plan, or incident which inspired you to start this venture?
Honestly, everything seemed like kismet at the time. I had no plans; I was just going with the flow. I came to India from Canada, as a curvy girl in the hope that the Tamil film industry would embrace me. However, when I came, they already started shaming bigger bodies. But something about Chennai and India kept me here, the city has been in a silent revolutionary movement over the past decade. Value systems and beliefs have started to change, and I truly believe that everybody is beautiful and that representation of every body type and color, and race is necessary for the media.
Anyway, when I didn’t want to be typecast, I started to adopt dogs and rescue other dogs (around 55 personally) and helped to rescue and rehabilitate over 200 street dogs, at first it was something for me to do and then it became a passion and a reason for me to stay. All my life I was called extra and I needed to tone it down or mold it into what society wanted. But I have always been responsible, so I had to stay to support my babies.
In 2018, I started a tattoo studio named Laughing Budda Tattoos named after one of my rescue labs. In 2019, I got a chance to be a canvas for a legendary tattoo artist Gauri Shankar Mistry who specializes in larger-than-life tattoos. He tattooed a kalamkari peacock, one of Asia’s largest tattoos in one single session of 65 hours. Once that happened, I really felt I was invincible, that no matter what happens I would live life to the fullest.
In 2020, we broke the internet a little bit by doing a nude shoot with G Venkat Ram to show the tattoo to the world! It was very scary but also very enlightening because everyone loved it. The purpose was not just a naked body but one that had bulges and fat but also art and body confidence all over, the result and reaction were just beautiful.
You have been impacting this segment of society in this way through your venture. Has this been meticulously planned, or a by-product of another bigger goal?
I guess it’s part and part, they were first just thoughts and then meticulous thinking and manifesting and taking every opportunity that came to me resulted in where we are today.
I never expected my studio to get so much recognition – we won the Times of India business award which is very prestigious!
And I got into a course on disruptive entrepreneurship at IIM Ahmedabad and hailing from a middle-class family, I was always told that my ideas and concepts were too risky. But in that IIM class with 44 other brilliant minds, I realized for the first time that I was understood. My thoughts about business and development and branding were on point. Most importantly, I learned that in Business, you must be gutsy yet calculated. This learning has really helped me grow.
What is body positivity to you?
I like ALL colors and ALL styles and celebrating Life rather than complaining or feeling bad about anything. So, I decided to embody that thought. Not just body positivity but positivity without borders. No pressure, no issues, and let myself explore my happiness, if I could do it, then I thought everyone will be able to.
So, body positivity to me is just being completely comfortable no matter what you identify with. Let’s not judge anyone and their decisions with their body. It extends to more than self-love or liking your natural beauty. It is about embracing every type of body out there, no hate for the skinny or the flabby or the botox-filled or the one with implants or the dark one or the extra light one, No body superior and no body inferior.
Let’s discuss the future…where do you go from here?
Honestly, I come from a generation of Instagram who just wants to speak up and make a difference. I feel I have so much more to do. I finally got into the world of acting – I have a Web Series on Hot Star called Live Telecast by Venkat Prabhu. I did a cameo role in the movie KRK by Vignesh Shivan with Samantha, Nayanthara, and Vijay Sethupathi.
I won’t stop pushing my boundaries till I achieve it all, but this year 2023 I decided to take a minute to breathe in all that I have achieved till now. We are always in a rat race, especially once we start achieving our goals; but my dad always tells me to savor the moment sometimes, and my mom reminds me that life is about this moment. I feel like I want to truly enjoy the fruits of my labor for this year and rejuvenate my soul so I can come back with an even bigger bang… I have dreams of expansion of the tattoo studio, and a dog sanctuary and then, of course, getting to the millions on Instagram, but before that, I want to relish every tattoo that I do today and every kiss I give my doggies.
You make a huge impact on social media, how has social media impacted you?
Social media is the biggest tool to accelerate yourself as a brand or an idea. It makes you completely independent and gives you a chance to show who you are truly and raise awareness about anything. I’m happy I could make a difference and raise my voice against cyberbullying.
Social media made me more empathetic and understanding of others’ choices and situations. I made some amazing friends who are supportive no matter what! That I’m grateful for.
She Writer Dr. Sailaja hails from Hyderabad, India, and is a seasoned HR Leader, Guest Speaker, and Sustainable Practices enthusiast