Maleesha Kharwa is an Indian model, internet personality, and influencer who rose to fame after she became the face of the luxury beauty brand Forest Essentials’ new ad campaign for ‘Yuvati Selection,’ a collection of cosmetic products. Kharwa has become renowned for her rags-to-riches narrative.
Maleesha Kharwa was born on Sunday, 13 January 2008 (age 15 years; as of 2023). Instagram – Maleesha Kharwa Her zodiac sign is Capricorn. She lives in Dharavi, a suburb of Mumbai in Maharashtra. As of 2023, she is studying in the 10th standard at a local government-run school in Mumbai. YouTube – WION
Height (approx.): 5′ 3″
Weight (approx.): 45 kg
Hair Colour: Light Ash Brown
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Body Measurements (approx.): 30-28-30
Family & Caste
She belongs to a Hindu Kharwa family in Mumbai.
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name is Mukesh Kharwa, and her younger brother’s name is Sahil Kharwa. Her father works as a cartoon mascot. According to Maleesha, her mother is not in the picture and she even revealed in an interview that she did not want to talk about her.
A Potential spotted at Dharavi
In 2020, when American actor Robert Hoffman, who was stranded in India at the exact time the pandemic struck the nation, saw Maleesha in Mumbai when she and her family came to Robert’s sets to find a job and get cast as background actors. Robert was instantly drawn towards Maleesha’s stories, good academic scores, and her potential of becoming a good model and dancer. Thereafter, he became her agent and began sharing videos of her on social media with her family’s consent; the pictures received a lot of good responses from the viewers who complimented her for her beauty.
“I love my home”
Robert created a GoFundMe page for Maleesha where he helped Maleesha share her story and asked for donations. The description of the GoFundMe page read,
In order to survive in the city, my family and I undertake odd jobs to make money. Sometimes my family will go to TV and movie sets hoping to get picked as background actors. This is how I got interested in becoming a professional child model! There are many jobs like children’s clothing catalogues which I could potentially get cast in! I feel that I have been blessed with this chance to gain your help. With your help, I may be able to study with a dry and safe place lay my head as I pursue my dream. A lot of my favorite actresses started when they were kids by following their heart.”
Maleesha lives in one of the shelters in a slum of Bandra, Mumbai. In an interview, she talked about the hardships her family faces and said that they consider it a luxury if they get to eat two good meals in a day. On the GoFundMe page, Maleesha described her story and revealed her living conditions, especially during the monsoon season and said,
The only thing I don’t like is that many times my brother and I don’t have enough to eat, and it can be hard for me to get water. Also, in a month, the monsoons will come. It’s hard for us to sleep when it rains because we do not have a roof. We use a plastic tarp, but the winds can be very strong in the Monsoon season. People often ask me if living in a slum makes me sad, and this question always confuses me because I love my home so much! Here is where I live.”
Prada to Nada-but-the other way around!
After Maleesha’s story went viral worldwide, she grabbed the attention of several media houses. She began modelling at the age of 12 and when she started earning money, she moved to a 1BHK room with her family, leaving the slum, in Bandra. In 2021, she was featured in a short film titled Live Your Fairytale directed by Arsala Qureishi and Jas Sagu. The film was based on the real-life experience of five slum children, including Maleesha, who visited a restaurant for the first time in their lives.
Maleesha, who has won the hearts of people worldwide – all thanks to Robert Hoffman, has appeared in several TV commercials and print ads for popular brands. She has been featured in many prominent publication houses including Vogue, Grazia, Cosmopolitan, and The Peacock Magazine.
In 2023, Maleesha was approached by Forest Essentials, a luxury beauty brand, and was given the opportunity to become the face of Forest Essentials’ new ad campaign for ‘Yuvati Selection.’
- Subject in school: English
- Song: Tu Aake Dekhle by King
- Dessert: Cake
- When she was five years old, she decided that she wanted to become a dancer and model.
- Maleesha is the first child in her family who attended school.
- Several media houses refer to Maleesha as “The Princess From The Slum.”
- Maleesha has maintained a good academic record in school. According to her, getting good grades in school makes her father very happy. Robert Hoffman is aiding Maleesha Kharwa’s education. While expressing her gratitude towards her well-wishers, Maleesha said,
This is my biggest job till date, and it has changed my life so much. I want to be a model, but education will always come first for me.”
- Her favourite subject in school is English, a language she loves talking in.
- Maleesha wants to study and pursue performing arts.
- She considers Priyanka Chopra as the first model who inspired her.
- Indian photographer Gopal Kawde asked for permission from Maleesha’s manager and father if he could take pictures of her. Thereafter, Maleesha posed for the first time in her life in front of a professional camera.
- In an interview, after being asked which Bollywood celebrity she would love to be best friends forever with, Maleesha said “Nora Fatehi”; she further added that she admired Nora Fatehi for her dancing skills.
- Maleesha loves getting ready for photoshoots and also finds it amusing when the artists apply makeup on her face.
- In an interview, Mira Kulkarni, founder and chief managing director of Forest Essentials, talked about Forest Essentials and said that Maleesha’s dreams are being supported through its campaign. She further added,
Through our Yuvati collection, we are not only supporting Maleesha’s dreams but also contributing to Project Paathshala to empower young minds. The brand will donate 10% 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. While Maleesha is the face of this campaign, what Forest Essentials is bringing to the forefront is the idea of dreams. The undercurrent here is that no matter where you come from, how big or small your dream is, dreams are for everyone, and all dreams matter.”
- As of May 2023, she has more than 245K followers on Instagram.
- Maleesha has been offered to act in two Hollywood films.
- Maleesha is sponsored by The Danceworx Performing Arts Academy Bandra Studio for her dance classes.
- In 2023, she bought a brand new mobile phone with her own money and shared the news with her Instagram followers.