Key Takeaways:

One look at Mukta Singh’s Instagram account, and these words come to mind - chic, elegant, and effortlessly stylish. In 2019, she stopped dying her hair and embraced going gray. She caught the eye of prominent designers and has become a model, and was most recently featured in Harper’s Bazaar. She’s also a pro-aging champion breaking barriers in the field of fashion, an artist, and a writer.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I have a Master's Degree in English. Towards the end of my Master's Degree, I met my husband. We got married, and my career stalled because my husband was a fighter pilot. I went with him when he was posted in far-flung places in remote areas. Soon after, we had children. I became busy raising the children and fulfilling all my duties as an air force wife. These duties only increased as my husband's role, and responsibilities with the air force continued to grow. Even though our life together was amazing and glamorous in some ways, unfortunately, the air force doesn't pay a lot, and our finances became a concern. To earn extra money, I started working at an art gallery. Then I went on to work as an event manager, magazine writer, editorial coordinator, book editor, and communications trainer.

How did you get started with painting? 

I started painting in 2014. My husband was based in Ahmedabad for a while, and both my children moved to Delhi for their job and studies. Suddenly there was this void in my life. My sister brought brushes, paints, and canvases for me. I love music, so I decided to paint musicians like Steve Tyler and Bob Marley. 

People told me to sell my art. Not long after, I had an exhibition of my paintings in Jaipur. I am not trained in painting at all, and every time I paint, I'm filled with self-doubt, wondering if I'll be able to do the work justice. But each time, I end up surprising myself. I'm now painting a beautiful picture taken by my daughter of a daisy growing out of concrete - it depicts hope - to me.

Mukta Singh in a silver saree.

Tell us a little bit about your journey into modelling. 

I stopped coloring my hair in 2019 and decided to go all gray and then soon after there was a family wedding coming up. I was nervous about what styling would work with my gray hair. Meanwhile, while I looked for outfit options, I saw my friend's daughter wearing a silver-gray saree, and I immediately knew I wanted to wear it for the wedding. She got me in touch with the designer, Gaurav Gupta who owns the brand Akaaro. That saree was such a huge hit at the wedding! I posted a picture on Instagram and thanked Akaaro, and the designer immediately posted it on his page and got in touch with me, saying he wanted to do a photoshoot. He came with his photographer and a few of his sarees. They took many pictures, and it felt very natural and easy. After he posted the pictures, other designers started contacting me. Shweta Kapoor wanted to launch me with a few of her clothes because she wanted the world to see that you can be of a certain age and still be stylish. Then I collaborated with Amit Aggarwal. Then Harper's Bazaar happened! Out of the blue, I had this Instagram DM from someone who worked there, asking me if I'd be interested in a shoot they were planning for gray-haired women. I jumped for joy - it was a great experience!

Did you ever think you'd be a model? 

When I was very young, I didn't really fit the beauty standards, but I had a few friends who thought I had a unique style and poise and I could be a model. But that dream got buried. Though I genuinely believe that things manifest in your life when they're meant to. 

In college, I would look at fashion magazines and dream of wearing stylish clothes - someday when I could afford them, I thought. Pretty early in life, I discovered which clothes would suit me, my color and body, which would help me show off what I had. I had long legs, so I'd concentrate on a good pair of jeans and pair them with t-shirts, sometimes even my husband's t-shirts. 

How do you think your style has evolved with age? 

I try to make the new trends and fads my own by adding an element of the classics as well as whatever's trending. My color palette has also changed since I went gray. I used to wear earthy, elegant, and subtle tones as a young girl, but now I love wearing loud and bold colors. 

Do you give styling advice to your kids today? 

My daughter is a fashionista. She's the one who tells me the do's and don'ts and always encourages me to stick to my own style. We do discuss fashion a lot. She keeps telling me what shoes will go with my outfits or what bag. I always listen with an open mind. We even borrow clothes from each other. 

What advice would you give to women who are exploring their style? 

I feel nobody understands your body and appearance better than yourself. I believe that a sense of self is essential to style. I think, especially in India, women are so caught up in various roles that being our true selves takes a backseat. We don't look at ourselves or do anything to bring out the best in ourselves as far as appearance is concerned. But that's important because the first impression you make to the world is based on your appearance. 

My advice - don't minimize the importance of good looks. Good looks and good health are two sides of the same coin. The way our hair, skin, and body look reflects our health. If we take good care of our health, we look good, and when we look good, we have higher self-esteem, and we will evolve our own sense of style. 

Do you think there's more awareness of pro-aging in India now? 

Yes! When you're young, you feel you're never going to age, but one of the eternal truths of life is that age will affect all of us. So being aware of that and positively embracing age is extremely important for all of us. Aging is something to look forward to, not to avoid. 

Join Guest Speaker Mukta Singh on Thursday, June 9th, when she discusses Why Pro-Aging Is The New Anti-Aging.

Jun 1, 2022
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