The Story of The Southern Belle

The Story of The Southern Belle


As featured on Brown Girl Magazine.

Written by Jessica Thomas exclusively for Kyra & Vir. These photo series are a part of our ‘East Meets West’ photo shoot, curated in efforts to showcase how we merge our eastern and western flairs to shape our identities.

I’ve never considered myself ‘stylish’— we have tons of women like Sonam Kapoor and Masaba Gupta for that. But when I’m getting ready, I’m always mindful of what works and what doesn’t. For me, ‘style’ has always been what makes someone stand out from the crowd. When you look at someone and think, “Only ____ could pull that off,” that’s style; equating someone’s own unique look with their personality, that’s style.

I’ve always maintained that style is less about making a statement and more about being true to yourself. Being a TV anchor, I’ve learned to be a bit more self-aware when it comes to my fashion choices. But I’ve also understood that it’s even more important to not lose yourself in that process.

  I’m Indian but I identify myself, more specifically, as a South Indian (Malayali). I’ve always believed that Indian fashion is the most beautiful in the world but it’s more than just bangles and saris. For me, every part of India reminds me of something special.

When I think of Bengalis I think large red bindis. Tamil Nadu is definitely synonymous to the nose rings; Gujarat simply turns my attention to its mirrored sequins and intricate patterns. And, of course, when I think of Kerala (and a South Indian), only one thing comes to mind, jasmines!

India is known for its jasmines but I think we, as South Indians, incorporate them much more into our day-to-day lives. That’s what compelled me to use them in this look for Kyra & Vir. They are so versatile. Whenever I think of jasmine, it reminds me of home.

This look was an attempt to fuse what I love most about the east and west. Dhotis (mundu) are a huge staple of South Indian attire. For a long time, dhotis were predominantly worn by men but it has finally become a part of female fashion as well. I love how elegant a woman looks in a properly draped dhoti because it can turn even the most boring outfit into something really classy.

The twist in this look is definitely the leather jacket. The jacket adds a lot of dimension to an otherwise completely desi look. Many might find it a strange pair, but I felt the black was a nice contrast to the soft pink dhoti pants. And of course, the jewelry was just the icing on top. South Indians love BIG jewelry with lots of bling. 

Jessica is a field reporter, and the head of online content, at AVS Television Network. Born and raised in New Jersey, Jessica grew up with a love for cinema. In her downtime, she enjoys writing, reading a good book, and emceeing events. Her love of the arts and passion for the media have both turned into her profession. Post graduating from Rutgers University with a B.A. in journalism, she has worked in various radio, television, and print mediums. Her friends have deemed her ‘Miss Bollywood’ because of her extensive knowledge of Indian cinema. You’re almost certain to find her at the opening night of any Bollywood flick.You can find Jessica on her instagram account.

Photographer: Pooja Dhar of PR Photography | Creative Director: Amy Devan | Makeup and Hair: Jasmin Rahman | Jewelry: Reemat Designs | Backdrop: Ashni Mehta’s Home

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