Blogger and TV host Nitika Chopra. (Photo: Nitika Chopra)
One look at Nitika Chopra and you’re convinced that she’s got the beauty/confidence thing down. As a spokeswoman for luxury brands on QVC and the host of Naturally Beautiful on Z-living, she comes across being as comfortable in front of the camera as most of us do on the couch in our sweats.
But she wasn’t always comfortable in her own skin - literally. At the age of 10, Chopra was diagnosed with a debilitating case of psoriasis, not just affecting her outside appearance, but leaving her itchy, depressed, and unable to walk for four years. Yet despite all of the suffering this disease brought on, Chopra is grateful for her journey. It forced her to really learn to take care of herself and experience a radical form of self love that is beyond inspiring.
While Chopra still has psoriasis, something she controls with medication, she has chosen not to dwell on the suffering she’s experienced, but instead to be more committed to her happiness. We got the chance to speak to her about her journey and how she hopes that it will help others to find their own inner beauty.
Yahoo Beauty: When did you first become “uncomfortable in your own skin” and how did that feel?
Nitika Chopra: This happened at a very young age because I never felt like I fit in. I was always the only Indian girl in school, slightly chubby, and didn’t have the attention span to get above average grades.
How did your life change when your psoriasis was diagnosed and was at it’s worst?
My life completely changed; It may not sound like a big deal- I find that many people don’t fully understand the implications of a skin disease. I had to quit the soccer team because I became uncomfortable in the heat since my body was covered from head to toe with scaly dry patches. And the fear of being teased forced me to decline many invitations for sleepovers. Life wasn’t normal anymore and I felt totally alone.
Were you able to still see yourself as beautiful despite what was going on with your skin?
The honest answer is no. I was diagnosed when I was only 10 years old and about to dive into puberty, and already felt totally awkward as it was, so my self-esteem plummeted. I remember looking around at the women in my family and finding them to be absolutely stunning, but they looked nothing like me. Their skin was clear and silky smooth, while mine was the opposite. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom around the age of 19 that I forced myself to discover my beauty despite my appearance. It was a choice I made and one that ultimately led to a tremendous amount of healing for my mind, body, and soul.
How were you able to look at this as something you needed to deal with to shape who you are vs falling into victim mode?
Considering I was diagnosed at such a young age, not gonna lie, I felt like a victim for the first couple of years. But around age 12, something inside of me said, “You can either believe that this is happening to you because you are a horrible child, or you can believe that this has nothing to do with you and you’re meant to help the world through this process.” Yea, whoa. After that moment, I used this statement as my anchor for life. That doesn’t mean it didn’t get hard or that I didn’t have moments of feeling deeply sorry for myself- I did. But deep down, I always believed this was all much bigger than it seemed at that moment. I’ve held on to that for life.
Have you noticed that what you put into your body affects the outside?
I’ve done a ton of work around how what I put in my body affects what happens to my body. This is true when it comes to the food I put in my mouth, the thoughts I think, and even the conversations that I have- all of these things affect the harmony I’m trying to create within.
Now you are a “beauty celebrity” with your own TV show focused on beauty- how did you find the confidence to host your show while dealing with issues you have said made you feel “not beautiful?”
The honest answer is, it’s my life’s purpose. So it didn’t even feel like a choice, it felt like something I had to do, in the most empowering way. I know what it’s like to feel truly not beautiful from the inside out and the process it takes to walk yourself out of it. I wouldn’t be doing my job on this planet if i didn’t help other women work through their own challenges and realize their inner beauty.
I love that you’re so passionate about making others feel beautiful from the inside out, what’s your best advice to women to feel confident in their own skin?
To be truly confident you have to first get completely honest with yourself, so my advice would be to just be you and work on discovering the truth about yourself, not the negative or unrealistic ideals you’ve created overtime.
When do you feel most beautiful?
There’s a moment at the end of my day when I wash my face, put on my moisturizer, and see my bare beauty in the mirror. That’s when I feel the most beautiful because I’m the most me.
“Because I’m the most me.” I love that Nitika, and I hope that more women will learn what that means for them by following your journey.
Thank you. Me, too!
You can find Nitika at Nitikachopra.com