Malaika Arora Khan first burst into the public consciousness dancing atop a moving train with Shah Rukh Khan while grooving to Chaiyya Chaiyya back in 1998. Since then, the model-turned-entrepreneur has grown from strength to strength — becoming the face of online retailer The Label Life, launching creative collaborations with Satya Paul and establishing herself as a fitness ambassador with Reebok. She’s also firmly entrenched herself in Bollywood, amassing a fan following of 4.5 million on Instagram along the way. As she celebrates her 44th birthday today, we look at the life lessons this fashion and fitness icon has imparted along the way.
1. Don’t let the haters distract you from your goals
When Malaika started modelling, she had plenty of criticism thrown at her. “I’ve been through my fair share of being told ‘oh, she’s too short’, ‘she’s too dark’, ‘she’s too hip-heavy,’ but I just thought ‘What the hell! If I have large hips, I’m not going to be ashamed and try and hide them’,” she told us in an interview. And when Malaika finally got her first major acting role in 2008 for EMI, the movie turned out to be a box-office failure. But she didn’t let any obstacle deter her, and today, her work titles have expanded beyond model and actress to include entrepreneur and creative director.
2. Feeling good at every age requires hard work and dedication
Malaika Arora wasn’t crowned the Elle Active Star at our beauty awards for nothing. Her incredibly fit body has been tediously worked upon, day after day. “With every passing day, I’m amazed by how much I can push my body. Fitness has always been topmost on my list. I’ve been a state-level runner, I’ve had formal training in dancing. My mother kept pushing me to stay in sports, even through that awkward phase of puberty when girls get uncomfortable with their bodies. I tell my son too, if you’re fit today, you will thank me 20 years from now. That’s the most important skill I can give you,” she was quoted saying.
A post shared by Malaika Arora Khan (@malaikaarorakhanofficial) on May 29, 2017 at 2:00am PDT
3. You can’t take care of anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself
Having a busy schedule equates to literally no time for yourself, but Malaika has found her peace in yoga. “Some people practice yoga purely for meditational purposes, some purely for the asanas because it helps to correct posture and tone the body. I genuinely look at it from a more holistic approach. There’s a lot of wear and tear in my profession, and yoga helps in recovery better than any kind of physical activity,” she told us.
A post shared by Malaika Arora Khan (@malaikaarorakhanofficial) on Mar 12, 2017 at 7:07pm PDT
4. Cultivate friendships that are unshakeable
One scroll through her Instagram will have you know her girl gang that comprises of her sister Amrita Arora, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Karisma Kapoor and Natasha Poonawalla always have her back. Even when Malaika went through a rough patch in her marriage to Arbaaz Khan, her close-knit friend circle proved to be all the support she needed.
A post shared by Malaika Arora Khan (@malaikaarorakhanofficial) on Jun 24, 2017 at 9:02pm PDT
5. You can have a bad day, but never a bad hair day
Malaika understands the subtle power of presentation, especially in an industry as obsessed with looking perfect as Bollywood. Which is why you’ll often spot her and sister Amrita at their favourite salon in Mumbai’s Pali neighbourhood, Freeda. That’s a bill of Rs 1,200 for a cut and blowdry, just in case you were planning a visit.
6. One superfood smoothie a day keeps the doctor away
Malaika’s a big believer in clean eating, and her go-to superfood smoothie is a blend of goji, acai, blueberry, Greek yoghurt, coconut water and spirulina. With a high source of protein and antioxidants, this smoothie will ensure you’re meeting your #healthgoals with ease, and getting skin that glows just like hers.
A post shared by Malaika Arora Khan (@malaikaarorakhanofficial) on Sep 2, 2017 at 5:47pm PDT
7. Fashion fades, but style is forever
Taking advantage of her fit frame, Malaika isn’t afraid to experiment with her style, redefining what it means to ‘dress for your age’ in Gucci tank tops, Gaurav Gupta gowns and Raw Mango saris. Her passion for fashion led her to co-found The Label Life, where she is currently the style editor.
A post shared by Malaika Arora Khan (@malaikaarorakhanofficial) on Aug 13, 2017 at 12:50am PDT