Maleesha Kharwa
Maleesha Kharwa Image Credit: insta/maleeshakharwa

A 14-year-old girl from Mumbai's underbelly, Dharavi, has shot to the spotlight as the model and veritable 'brand ambassador' for the reputed luxury beauty and cosmetics brand, and has become the darling of netizens.

Breaking the oomphish stereotypes, Maleesha Kharwa, a dusky, next-door girl from a humble background is now in the limelight, 'selling' the Yuvati collection and gaining in popularity on the social media.

Last month, the brand 'Forest Essentials', run by an entrepreneur, Mira Kulkarni, released a video on Instagram showing the wide-eyed, modestly attired but gaping girl, entering the company outlet that had splashed her large campaign posters and photos.

Maleesha, with an innocently surprised and disbelieving expression, is seen soaking in her new-found glory as the company described her maiden trip to the store premises: "Her face lit up with pure delight. To see her dreams in front of her in sight. Maleesha's story is a beautiful reminder that dreams really do come true. #BecauseYourDreamsMatter."

The short video grabbed the attention of millions of eyeballs and almost a half-million likes, with many users gushing over her stroke of good luck and the fame she has now earned.

Mira told an international magazine that through the Yuvati collection, they would support Maleesha's dreams and also contribute to the Project Paathshala - launched in July 2016 - to empower young minds. "The brand will donate 10 per cent of the proceeds from the Yuvati Selection towards Project Paathshala to provide children from underprivileged backgrounds access to education with the hope of a brighter India," said the (VOGUE) magazine, quoting her.

Incidentally, when she was barely 10 years old, Maleesha was 'discovered' in 2020 by Hollywood actor Robert Hoffman during the shoot of a music video in Mumbai. Later, he started an Instagram account and a 'GoFundMe' page for Maleesha, which soon built up over nearly 300,000 followers, with many becoming her fans.

Maleesha's simple but charming personality coupled with her tanned good looks have bagged her several modelling assignments, including the latest with Forest Essentials.