Alia Bhatt Is the Role Model India’s Teens Need

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Jun 20, 2017

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Your kids will never know what it’s like to catch glimpses of the controversial and “modern” Zeenat Aman bathing under a waterfall, or be inspired by a classical dancer and beauty like Hema Malini. Today’s teenage role models are a very different breed.

Your teens spend approximately nine hours a day on social media, scrolling through an Instagram feed soaked in the negative sway of Kylie Jenner’s overpriced “lip kits” and super firm fake tits. Yikes. (Nothing against the Misses Jenner personally, but they’re representative of the questionable celebrity role models that teens are vying to emulate.) So, I am going to advocate for someone closer to home and less damaging to identity formation (and hair follicles): current Bollywood queen, Alia Bhatt.

Alia, or Aloo, (as her friends and family like to call her), is the It Girl of relatable and good role models for teenagers (and some of us young adults, too). Primarily because she was (like the desi overeating norm) a chubby teen — who instead of buying herself a new butt, some lip injections, a pair of Spanx, and maybe a face lift too many — decided to do it the hard way: with exercise! Her fitness posts on social media and her transparent efforts to stay in shape make her a better role model than pouting celebutantes with surgically enhanced “thighbrows” or amazing genes like Zeenat ji.

(Yes, “thighbrows” and “thigh gaps” are Things, now — completely different, if equally pointless, pop culture moments.)

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You know what else is pointless? Flaunting your windfall wealth with pictures next to a pink Ferrari (ahem, Miss Jenner). Don’t get me wrong, my girl Alia is privileged, too. But she’s not trying to get your teen to emulate or be inspired by that kind of wealth. She posts happy pictures with her besties and gives sneak peaks into tough shoot days. The girl is promoting hard work, and I am here for it.

What I am not here for is normalizing unrealistic expectations, like a big butt without any squats, cash opportunities without any education, or luxury vacations without much hard-earned money in the bank. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my kids to request a sponsored girls’ trip to Bora Bora or to date anyone called ‘Tyga’. I’d rather have them be as seemingly unmaterialistic, hardworking and normal as my Aloo — who cuddles cats, cries when she’s hungry, and knows not to take herself too seriously.

My baby 🙃

A post shared by Alia ✨⭐️ (@aliaabhatt) on

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Written By Ruku Taneja

Ruku Taneja is The Swaddle’s digital strategy manager who also dabbles in writing. Her interests include social media stalking and writing about love, sex and relationships. She is a millennial in a third world city with first world problems that primarily include where her next cup of green tea comes from.

See all articles by Ruku

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