From Slum to Hollywood – Maleesha made the fairy tale come true

Movies are one of the favorite forms of entertainment for people. But these movies are not only entertainment, sometimes it becomes a medium of education, a medium of motivation, and a medium of knowledge. The purest example is the Oscar-winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire.
Starting from the slums, where the life of the main character goes and how it ends! Many of us think this happens only in movies, and many people take it as another motivation and move forward.

And recently, the story of Maleesha Kharwa is giving us some such real experiences. It may not be exactly the same as Slumdog Millionaire, but is somewhat similar! This 14-year-old girl living in the slums of Mumbai’s Branda got the chance to act in a Hollywood film.

Who is Maleesha Kharwa?

Maleesha Kharwa, a 14-year-old girl from the slums of Bandra, Mumbai, has now become the face of luxury ayurvedic brand Forest Essentials. The teenage model and content creator already has over 2 lakh followers on Instagram. Maleesha’s profile states that she is pursuing a career as a supermodel to support her family.

From Slum to Hollywood!

Maleesha met Hollywood actor Robert Hoffman in 2020, which marked the beginning of her modeling career.

Robert Hoffman, actor in the popular Hollywood film Step Up 2, during an interview with Hindustan Times, described his first meeting with Maleesha as “something out of a movie”. Narrating the incident, he said, “There she stood among a group of slum residents just like any other in the city. But her face was so remarkable I don’t know how anyone could have overlooked her before”.

Robert then spoke to Maleesha’s family and told them that “if they want to, Maleesha has a huge potential to change her life”.


He set up a social media account and started a Go Fund Me page in the name of Maleesha.

Maleesha did not have to look back after that. According to Mid-Day media, Maleesha has already received offers to act in two Hollywood movies.

Not only that, this girl has also become an actress. Maleesha has already acted in a short film titled Live Your Fairytale by Arsala Qureshi, and Jas Sagu.

Maleesha told Mid-Day media about this change, “I am very happy with where I am right now. There are times when people see me somewhere and recognize me because of social media. They actually tell me that they are fans, which makes me extremely proud and happy”.
Besides this, Maleesha has also been featured on the covers of fashion magazines Cosmopolitan India and The Peacock.

Maleesha told Hindustan Times in 2020 that she loves dancing, and likes to pose for the camera with her hands on her waist.

With Maleesha, Forest Essentials has launched its new campaign Yuvati Selection.
According to Vogue India magazine, the luxury brand will contribute to Project Pathshala to educate underprivileged children through their new campaign, which focuses on the idea of dreams.

Speaking to Vogue about this, Kharwa said, “This is my biggest job to date, and it has changed my life so much. I want to be a model, but education will always come first for me”.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan India in October last year, Maleesha told about her living conditions, that sometimes they don’t even have clean water or food. She also said, “then there are times when the municipal corporation breaks our house because we live by the sea. When it is very hot in Mumbai, we have to sleep on the rocks by the water. But none of these things could deter me from going after what brings me joy.”

Kharwa also said that many people thought that I could not be a model because of my “dark skin”, however, she proved those “perceptions” wrong. Maleesha believes that anything can be achieved with hard work.

She ended her interview with, “I find it strange when people ask me how I am such a happy person; they don’t think it is normal to be happy because I am poor…but I love my life. You can be happy even if you do not have a big house or a nice car because, to me, having a family that loves and supports me, and good friends that care about me, is more important. As for realizing your goals, if you work hard, there is nothing you can’t achieve.”

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