IWB Had The ‘Fat’ Talk With Miss Moti’s Creator Kripa Joshi
- IWB Post
- June 12, 2019
I switched on my laptop and logged into Skype. I eagerly waited for Kripa Joshi. She responded quickly and we soon began our Skype chat (uninterrupted, I should mention). Thank you, WiFi!
Kripa is an illustrator from Nepal who draws comics on a character called Miss Moti. She started working on Miss Moti because of her own issues with body positivity. Kripa wanted to create “a positive character that could achieve and accomplish things regardless of her size”. Kripa currently resides in the UK with her husband and little daughter, Ria.
I saw a lot of pictures of you with your great-grandmother. What is your strongest memory from your childhood with her?
It’s not one specific memory. When we were growing up, she was very specific about grades. She would always say, “So do not bring home anything less than an A or a B. You need to be educated to be independent and self-sustaining.” At first, she also had the mindset of favoring boys more than girls. I always thought that she would favor my brother more than me. Now, she’s taken a 360-degree turn from that mentality. She was 99 when my daughter was born, and that’s when she said that ‘Daughters are as important as sons are.’
#MotivationMondays : Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou. Today’s post is dedicated to my sister @ketimaker and the #MakerKT initiative 😊 I was inspired by their recent women’s motorcycle maintenance workshop held in Kathmandu. They run various such workshops for women with topics ranging from home electrical systems and coding to carpentry and welding. Their aim is to empower women by creating awareness of their own abilities… and that the confidence they gain by using tools permeates into others aspects of their lives. You can find out more at http://www.makerkt.com #mondaymotivation #motorcycle #work #maintenance
194 Likes, 2 Comments – Miss Moti (@missmoti_vation) on Instagram: “#MotivationMondays : Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou. Today’s post is dedicated to…”
Kripa’s great-grandmother was widowed at the age of 16 with an 8-month old son. She took care of her family herself and was a firm believer in education. She made her daughter-in-law (Kripa’s grandmother) get educated like her son. Her grandmother went on to study law at Oxford and worked as a social worker in Nepal. Then, Kripa’s mother earned a Fulbright scholarship and now works with UNICEF in Nepal.
Growing in an earthquake-prone area is quite hard. What’s your scariest experience?
Definitely, the earthquake of 2015. My parents and Ria were with me. We had experienced earthquakes before, but this was scaring us even more because everyone was saying that a bigger one is yet to come. And I thought this was the end. We would sleep in our cars. I was undergoing Post Traumatic Stress then. At that time, I had the choice to either stay back or leave for the UK since I had a visa. I ended up staying for about four months before moving back to the UK.
What medium of art do you prefer?
Most of my work is digital. I use my Wacom tablet and a Stylus pen along with it. I painted a lot as a kid in acrylics and oil. So, moving to the tablet was hard at first because you have to train your hands and mind to draw while looking at a screen.
I was at a Georgia O’ Keef exhibition recently, and it made me think about painting again. Let’s see how it goes. For now, it isn’t possible because I live in a two-bedroom apartment and to paint you need a lot of open space.
I’ve noticed that Miss Moti’s face has a line dividing it. What is the idea behind this division?
A day late due to house move! Was looking for quotes with the word “move” in it and found this #MotivationMondays : It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through. – Zig Ziglar Certainly needed #commitment & #discipline this past week for a marathon packing session! I would have rather stayed in bed #mondaymotivation
155 Likes, 6 Comments – Miss Moti (@missmoti_vation) on Instagram: “A day late due to house move! Was looking for quotes with the word “move” in it and found this :)…”
I looked at a lot of Maithli and Madhubani paintings for reference. But those paintings only had side profiles. So I just decided to add another circle to make her front-facing. I guess you could say it was an invention of mine. *Laughs*
Is word ‘Moti’ offensive?
Hm… I don’t know if it is offensive. I would say, it’s a descriptive word. Although people are hurt when they’re called fat, I don’t think it’s something offensive like the ‘n’ word.
What expectations does Miss Moti have from love relationships?
I think she just wants to be treated as an equal with respect. By respect, I don’t mean that she wants to be put on a pedestal. She just wants equality.
I’ve heard that you graduated from MGD in Jaipur. Do you have memories from your school and college days?
Well, I remember feeling very homesick in MGD, but I soon got used to living away from home. It made me realize how important family is. While in MGD, I did well in Art and afterward I received the ICCR scholarship which led me to become an artist. From my college memories in Baroda, there’s not much I remember. I have really bad memories *laughs* But I do remember that there were four of us in the hostel rooms. It used to be very hot, and we would spray the room with water to fight the heat. Also, that is where I met my husband. He had opened an internet café outside the campus, and I remember thinking, it’s just Rs. 60 for an hour! He knew my timings, and we started talking. We were doing the internet dating part with internet but in person.
How did you find time to draw in between taking care of your little daughter?
It was hard for the first two years. I only started drawing when she started going to the nursery three days a week. I would get 3 hours to work. Otherwise, on Fridays sometimes, I would work for 11 to 12 hours at a stretch. My husband would take care of her. When I work for that long, I get very involved. Sometimes, I even forget to eat.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I’ve worked as an art teacher in Nepal for 7th and 8th graders in Nepal. I’ve also taught A-Level students. Some of them did great and are studying in the US now. I also worked as an art technician who is basically assisting art teachers in managing art resources for the class. I’ve done some freelance work in creating logos and have held comic illustration workshops. Besides that, I’ve also worked on anthologies to help with the Nepal earthquake.
How is your personality reflected in your work?
Three aspects of my personality have been put into the comic. My imagination, inhibitions, and insecurities. Miss Moti is a combination of my mother’s and my personality. The part of her being self-conscious comes from me and the part of her that overcomes that insecurity comes from my mother. Miss Moti is a role-model for everyone. She breaks the stereotype that only fair or thin is pretty.
If Miss Moti was a real girl what would you discuss with her over a cup of coffee?
I would probably ask her how she’s so positive. I’ll probably talk to her about her magical experiences in the clouds and ask her to take me along *chuckles*.
#MotivationMondays : The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled – Plutarch #mondaymotivation #fire #mind #glassblowing
160 Likes, 3 Comments – Miss Moti (@missmoti_vation) on Instagram: “#MotivationMondays : The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled – Plutarch…”
Is Miss Moti criticized for her fashion choices?
Well, so far I haven’t shown her wearing anything besides polka dots, so I don’t think that she is trying to set a fashion statement. The first comic showed her wearing a gray dress with black polka dots. I would say that it symbolizes the gray weight she had to carry around with herself and how she’s managed so far.
Although, whenever she feels free, she loves to take her clothes off. In that aspect, she is very much like my daughter. To me, the naked Miss Moti is the same as naked Ria.
Hadn't drawn @missmoti_vation naked in a while! #MotivationMondays : Happiness is not size specific – Anna Guest-Jelley. Today's illustration is in response to discussions about body positivity, and this quote, by the Founder of @curvyyoga feels very apt. Miss Moti sheds her clothes when she lets go of her inhibitions. She is free!
What are your thoughts on fashion industry that sets beauty standards?
The industry sets impossible standards. Their clothes are supposed to be for skinny women, but they also Photoshop the models further into looking way different than what they are. I think this has a big impact on teenagers.
Is Miss Moti body positive or fat-accepting?
Body-positive. Because fat-accepting is just narrowed down to one point. Body-positivity means being accepting of every body type and that is what she is.
What makes Miss Moti laugh?
Her dog Kuku. She finds joy in the smallest things like jumping in muddy puddles when it rains, just like Ria loves. Herself and Ria have many similarities. I want to show that aspect of innocence that she possesses.
Searching for peace Had an image of Miss Moti relaxing on the grass and this quote from Buddha says it all. #MotivationMondays : Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. – Buddha #mondaymotivation #peace #plussize #curvy #buddha
156 Likes, 1 Comments – Miss Moti (@missmoti_vation) on Instagram: “Searching for peace Had an image of Miss Moti relaxing on the grass and this quote from Buddha…”
And what makes her cry?
I don’t think she’s cried yet. She has felt insecure about her body after looking at the billboard with a picture of a curvy superhero. She’s also felt bored, but she knows how to come out of it.
Does Miss Moti have best friends?
There have been catastrophic floods around the world recently. More than 1200 people have died in the floods in Nepal, India and Bangladesh and 16 million children are in urgent need of life saving support. 😞 In Houston, the extent of damages could be more than $100bn! Through all these tragedies there are also stories of incredible courage and humanity displayed by ordinary people. People who at times risked their own lives to save others. So this week’s illustration is dedicated to all the heroes and victims of disasters. #MotivationMondays : There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet. – William F. Halsey Jr. #flood #ordinary #rescue #challenges
166 Likes, 2 Comments – Miss Moti (@missmoti_vation) on Instagram: “There have been catastrophic floods around the world recently. More than 1200 people have died in…”
She only has her dog Kuku for now. She is named after our first dog Kuku. We named her that by just removing the ‘r’ out of Kukur which means dog. Anyway, since the comic is made without dialogues, I haven’t added any friends yet. She does keep meeting a man, but they’ve never talked. They’re basically soul mates.
What is Miss Moti’s and your favorite food?
I cannot handle spicy or sour food because of my sensitive stomach, and I love a lot of western food so that I would say Pizza or pasta. I don’t want Miss Moti to limit herself to any kind of food. I want her to travel around the world and explore cuisines from everywhere.
This week I was thinking about serenity and how we could achieve it when I came across this quote. #MotivationMondays : Make peace with your broken pieces. – r. h. Sin #mondaymotivation #peace #serenity #broken
176 Likes, 1 Comments – Miss Moti (@missmoti_vation) on Instagram: “This week I was thinking about serenity and how we could achieve it when I came across this quote….”
What kind of compliments do you think are encouraging?
I would say the ones that don’t talk about physical attributes. That makes people more self-conscious, and they start working to look good in front of people. Compliments should be something like, ‘That’s a nice thing you did today.’
This year the International Day of Peace and the start of Dashain/ Dashera/Navaratri falls on the same day. In Nepal, a typical feature of dashain are the big bamboo swings that are constructed in all towns and villages. So wishing everyone a peaceful and prosperous holidays 😊🕊#MotivationMondays : Peace is its own reward. – Mahatma Gandhi #peace #dashain #swing #motivationmonday #motivationalquotes #motivation
156 Likes, 2 Comments – Miss Moti (@missmoti_vation) on Instagram: “This year the International Day of Peace and the start of Dashain/ Dashera/Navaratri falls on the…”
[This article was first published on August 30, 2016.]