Published: 23rd August 2018
Why Kripa Joshi decided to create Miss Moti, the mascot for body positivity
SVA alum Kripa Joshi's Miss Moti comic series is a true motivator for every overweight woman out there
Have you ever felt negative or ugly about being an overweight young woman? Well, Miss Moti says you simply shouldn't. She says the emphasis on being slim is wrong because that is when people start thinking of themselves as ugly for being fat. Now, you might be wondering who Miss Moti is. She is the star of an eponymous comic strip created by Nepali comic artist and illustrator Kripa Joshi.
Kripa currently lives in the United Kingdom with her husband and daughter. Her comics were born when she struggled with the stereotypes that come with being overweight. She says, "I felt that I should create a character who was ready to wear and accomplish anything regardless of her weight or size. Moti was a nickname given to me by my friend which means 'fat woman', but if the 'T' is soft, it also means pearl. That's why I named my comic after it."
Extraordinary Woman: Kripa's illustration of Miss Moti carrying Ultra Girl
The artist first thought of an illustration series related to weight and body positivity when she was in her final year studying Fine Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. As a part of her BFA thesis, she created a series called Sofa So Good that depicted humans as different kinds of sofas and chairs. In another themed painting, Shadows Lie, she created a painting of a sofa that had a reflection that was long and elongated and appeared very slim — creating a contrast of sorts.
In 2005, Kripa was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She thought it was the best place to tell her story. "I came across a painting when I was in SVA. It was of a fat woman wrapped in a towel wearing a swimsuit and feeling uncomfortable to get in and swim with slimmer women in a swimming pool. On the periphery of the painting, in golden strokes, a hippopotamus is seen swimming with slender strokes. At that moment, I realised that animals do not feel uncomfortable about being fat. They enjoy who they are. Why should a woman or anyone be so conscious about being fat?" Kripa asks.
Kripa was most influenced by Winsor McCay and Chris Ware. While Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland merged fantasy and reality, Chris Ware's attention to page design helped her develop her visual language Kripa's weekly Motivation Monday series in the Nepali Times provide you with illustrations of Miss Moti with motivational quotes.
She then proceeded to paint an over-sized woman in a polka-dotted bikini swimming with all the confidence in the world. That was the precursor to Miss Moti's debut. "I went on to create a comic series with Miss Moti as the protagonist. Eventually, the character gained me a lot of popularity and I grew famous over a period of time," she says happily. The first stories that she created were Miss Moti and Cotton Candy and Miss Moti and the Big Apple. "The thought process in the comics might sound simple but they say a lot to people," she explains.
Tasty Treat: Her comics out of her struggles with the stereotypes that come with being overweight
Interestingly, unlike your average comic strip, there aren't any speech bubbles here, "I created them without speech bubbles because I felt that readers across the globe should connect to Miss Moti," Kripa reaons.