"Comfort and confidence only come from accepting your body type", says Ketaki Pimpalkhare

The model and artist speaks to Bazaar India about being pro-ageist, the fashion icons she looks up to, and much more.

Harper's Bazaar India

Ketaki’s (46) tryst with fashion began as a natural extension of her lifelong passion for art: “For the past 25 years, I have immersed myself in the world of painting and sculpting, allowing my creativity to flow freely.” However, with digital innovations in these realms, the photography major found her interest in art waning away. It was then that a surprise introduction to the world of modelling came her way. “A dear friend introduced me to a modelling agency that was recognised for their philosophy of showcasing Indian talent that defied conventions and embraced non-conformity. Little did I know just how much I would come to cherish this newfound experience.” 

Ketaki has always been a fervent advocate of authenticity—embracing her natural self and shying away from altering her appearance throughout her artistic journey. Therefore, the idea of colouring her hair had not even crossed her mind. “When I was told that my grey hair is my USP, it couldn’t get any better. I have never been more confident about my greys and my physicality over the last couple of years,” says the artist.

The Pune-born feels that ageism has become so deeply ingrained in our society that we often fail to recognise it. “Unfortunately, the term ‘ageing’ carries a negative connotation. If only we could shift our focus to the positive aspects of growing older.” To Ketaki, being pro-ageist means accepting the changes that life brings, both physical and emotional. “I like to think of myself as fine wine, only getting better with age!”

Age-appropriate dressing, explains Ketaki, “is a subjective concept, and varies depending on cultural and regional norms”. For her, what matters more is how one carries a particular style. “Whether it is a sari, a halter top, or a fitted dress, confidence, grace, and dignity are the key elements in making any outfit work.” The key to looking your best, according to Ketaki, is to find silhouettes that enhance your natural features and balance your proportions. “I personally prefer well-fitted clothes that highlight my curves without revealing too much skin. I often opt to bare my shoulders rather than my legs because I find it more elegant.”

“Great fashion is all about finding what works for you and exuding confidence in your choices,” shares Ketaki. The fashion icons she looks up to are testaments to that statement. “I admire Audrey Hepburn’s style for her timeless elegance. While Sophia Loren’s confident embrace of her buxom, curvy body exudes classic sex appeal, Maharani Gayatri Devi’s graceful disposition in chiffon saris and vintage pearls resonates with my own historical style preferences.”

Ketaki believes that while there are many factors which are involved in identifying your own unique style, absolute comfort and confidence only comes from accepting your body type, displaying a nonchalant attitude towards judgment, and being your unapologetic self. “Each person’s unique personality deserves to shine. Embrace your individuality, and let your authenticity be your greatest fashion statement.”

Read the other stories in the ageism series

California-based stylist, Roz Kaur on embracing positive ageing and putting personal happiness above societal expectations

Urvashi Kaur: My choices and my designs are a testament to the fact that style is ageless, seasonless, and genderless