Maleesha Kharwa now 15yrs old was discovered in Mumbai waterfront slum three years ago by an inquisitive wandering American tourist.

Later a luxury Indian cosmetics brand Forest Essentials chose Maleesha as the face of its Yuvati campaign celebrating young Indian women.

Maleesha breakthrough reflects gradually changing attitudes in a country where advertising, popular culture and Bollywood films glorify fair-skin as an ideal of beauty.

Since then, Maleesha has become a social media influencer, using the hashtag ‘the princess from the slum’ in some of her posts. At the last count her Instagram account had 367,000 followers, and rising.

She hopes her successes will be the springboard to a career as a model or a dancer, though she intends to concentrate on her studies until she finishes school.

The ever smiling, tiny, polite Maleesha during an interview told journalists at her home, how excite she was with her new fame. She said “Now many people recognise me and click pictures. I feel very proud of myself at that moment,”

“I feel good, because I look different on camera and in real life,” she added.

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