“Being a Kaur, I feel a level of empowerment and for me, I am trying to change the stigma or classification of what a Kaur represents. From my own past, from what I know, see, and have heard people stereotype and put a religious lens on the term, Kaur. Beyond the religion, culture gets thrown into the mix and as a Kaur you are expected to do certain things and be certain things. I feel its time to change these ideas and these oppressed feelings.
I love how I can help shape and change perceptions. I can’t wait to see where this sport will be in another year…another five years. Competing fuels me to continue on, maintain a fitness journey, help other women do more and provides me the confidence to try other things. Part of fitness competitions is showing my physique. This in itself is an opportunity for education, that it is not about sexualization, rather about showing off my fitness journey and the commitment I have made to compete.
I started training for competitions from a place of sadness, anger, and grief. It stemmed from some devastation that happened at home. I wasn’t sure of how to deal with what was happening, so I channeled all the feelings I had and carved a voice for myself through fitness.
Fitness came easy to me, I played basketball growing up and worked in a gym. I then became a personal trainer, which at times led to questions about whether this would be my life’s work. In a way it has, at least the two intertwine on some level.
Within my day job, as a Youth Substance Worker, I work with young South Asian girls and boys who seek out substances to deal with life’s ups and downs.
There is this notion that South Asian girls wouldn’t have substance issues, but I work with them one-on-one. They feel unheard, unsupported, and don’t know how to channel what they are feeling or what is happening. Some of them are interested in the fitness aspect of my life. That fitness has helped me and are now working out and getting to the gym.
My mom, sister, and even grandparents have been tremendously supportive. I won’t lie there was some apprehension of why there needed to be a bathing suit in this competition. However, once they saw my commitment and dedication to competing they were sold on the idea. And when I placed first in my height class, they were over the moon.
I’d like to think and see me competing as a way to create a new standard of female sporting beauty for South Asian women. To move beyond our prescribed ideas of what we are supposed to or not supposed to be. In my own way, I’d like there to be more of a focus on strong athleticism, sculpting muscles, and empowerment.”