News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

This article was first published 5 years ago  » Getahead » Bald is beautiful: How a breast cancer survivor won the Internet

Bald is beautiful: How a breast cancer survivor won the Internet

By Rediff Get Ahead Bureau
Last updated on: March 04, 2019 09:28 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

In a bridal photoshoot that has gone viral, Vaishavi, a two-time cancer survivor identifies herself as the 'Bold Indian Bride'.
She wants people to embrace their true beauty and look for the brighter side.

Vaishnavi Indran Pillai

IMAGE: 'For me, as a cancer survivor, I dreamt the day I marry the love of my life. Dreamt, what it is like to look like a bride, to feel like a bride. Having gone through cancer treatments (chemotherapy, etc.), losing my hair was by far the hardest thing I ever had to go through. I felt that I was not beautiful enough to be loved and was not beautiful enough to look or ever feel like a bride. Hair, it is our 'crowning glory' and having that taken away from you is devastating. But we choose to accept what we have, appreciate what we are and welcome what is coming,' Vaishnavi Indran Pillai wrote about the photoshoot. Photographs: Kind courtesy Navi Indran Pillai/Instagram

Vaishnavi Indran Pillai, 28 from Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia is a two-time cancer survivor.

'I have cancer, but it's not the end of the world. I'm fighting for my life, but I'm going to live my life to the fullest,' she told

Navi, as she's fondly known among her friends and family, was diagnosed with metastatic cancer a few years ago. The cancer had affected her liver and backbone.

While undergoing chemotherapy, like most cancer patients, Navi started losing hair too.

Instead of complaining about the side effects or wearing a wig, Navi decided to embrace her condition and inspire others by setting an example and sharing positivity.

Through the hashtag #kissedbycancer, Navi chronicles her life and learnings reminding everyone how she's taking on the deadly disease.

'I’m grateful for my cancer. It has taught me to appreciate life and not take anything for granted. Whether we are sick or not, everyone has a limited time, and I hope my story inspires other young people to live their lives and do what makes them happy,' Navi told

Vaishnavi Indran Pillai

IMAGE: Navi is a two-time cancer survivor. She fought cancer in 2015 and 2018.

Navi was declared cancer-free in 2015. Two years later, she graduated with a master’s degree in programme management from Melbourne, Australia. She even took up a job.

In July 2017, while holidaying in Malaysia, she underwent a medical check up. That's when the news hit her.

Her report showed nodules in the back and liver. Her cancer had returned.

Navi recalls that phase as one of the most depressing ones in her life.

A month later, in August, Navi decided to share her story with the world. Not just to raise awareness, but to build a community that would help support survivors and make the journey easier.

Vaishnavi Indran Pillai

IMAGE: Instead of wearing a wig, Navi often decorates her head with art, jewellery or interesting headgear to send out a stylish message.

Navi thanks her friends, parents and her husband Aju Nambiar who have encouraged her to recover from the after effects of the treatment.

In the bridal photoshoot that has gone viral , Navi identifies herself as the 'Bold Indian Bride' and wants people to embrace their true beauty and look for the brighter side.

'Cancer treatments have given us a lot of limitations, robbed us of beauty and taken away our confidence. As little girls, we have always dreamt of what our big day will be like and how we would look like as a bride,” Navi wrote in one of her posts about her inspiration behind the photoshoot.

'Cancer has stripped some of us from fulfilling these dreams. A lot of cancer survivors have postponed or even cancelled their big day,' she wrote.

Through the wedding shoot, she wants to give hope to women and help them fight insecurities.

Vaishnavi Indran Pillai

IMAGE: 'Surround yourself with positivity and happiness,' Navi wrote on Instagram. 'What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger,' she says.

Navi is positive of winning the battle against cancer so she can travel the world, get back to dancing and help support cancer patients and survivors.

'I want to raise funds. I want to support those going through the same thing, whether it is emotional, physical or financial,' she said.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Rediff Get Ahead Bureau