Pragna Vedant, a well-known beauty consultant, has had an incredible life journey. She has trained thousands of women at her eponymous beauty academy, but her journey has not been easy.
Pragna Vedant was raised by a single mother married off at a very young age of 16. Wanting to pursue her childhood dream of being in the beauty business, she arrived in Mumbai with her husband.
They began living in a single room and kitchen apartment. She soon converted her room into a salon and began threading and trimming. Besides this job, she also began conducting mehendi classes.
“Through word of mouth, my customer base grew. But I still wanted to learn more. So, I’d use my savings to enroll for professional courses,” Humans of Bombay quoted Pragna Vedant as saying.
She then saved money and opened her own salon, which she ran for as many as ten years. “People would actually come to record me cutting hair while being blindfolded-that’s how good I was!” she says.
In the year 2005, the Maharashtra floods destroyed her home and salon. Unable to cope with the loss, Pragna suffered a stroke which left her paralysed.
After three months of physiotherapy resulted in her being able to move around in a wheelchair, but she had lost movement in her left hand and vision in one eye.
“I could never be a beautician again…I thought that was it for me until people from my industry said, ‘Your knowledge is your USP, share it.’ And they were right,” she says.
Pragna became a beauty consultant and started teaching women. She began walking again but, she says, not before “falling multiple times and learning to pick myself up.”
For women who had limited means, Pragna held her courses for free or at a minimal cost. She estimates that she has trained about 35,000 women till date.
“Some have joined big brands while others have their own salons,” she says. “They call me for their inaugurals. At one of the inaugurals, I noticed that my picture had been kept in the mandir, on asking, the girl said, ‘Sab aap hi ki wajah se hai. (It’s all because of you)’ I was so touched.
“I could have helped them with money, but I’m glad I helped them become independent because their skill will never leave them. Mujhe hi dekhlo (look at me)!” she concludes.