Sapna Bhavnani is an Indian celebrity hairstylist. She is a committed feminist, known for her contribution to the field of fashion, writing, photography, entertainment and reality television. Her story is a tight slap on the face of those who think if a woman suffered a gang rape or had failed marriages, she is good for nothing. Yes, Sapna is a survivor of a gang rape and has been in three marriages all failed due to abusive husbands. But Sapna isn’t known for these rather for her amazing talents and strong personality! Isn’t she truly a wonderful woman? Let’s see her story.
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Sapna was born on January 5, 1971 in Mumbai, India. She used to excel in school and acted like a wild tomboy, though by the time she reached 7th grade, her attention shifted from academics. She loved riding motorcycle, and often used to do pranks and escapades with boys of her class. Being a naughty and adventurous girl in her teens, she even used chloroform on her father to make him fall asleep, so that she could sneak out late with boys of her school! Her father died when she was 18. This was a heartbreaking event in Sapna’s life. She said she was very close to her father, “I may look like a freak, but deep inside, I’m just daddy’s little girl.”
After her father’s death her family started facing financial troubles. So, Sapna dropped out of her college and moved to the United States, with her Indian-American aunt to Chicago in 1989. In Chicago, Sapna did many odd jobs like waitress at an Italian restaurant while also being a student at a business school. She graduated with a double major in Marketing and Communication and a minor in Public Speaking from Chicago’s Barat College. Sapna also tried her hand in fashion designing. She soon developed a keen interest in hairdressing and chose this as her profession.
“I decided that by the time I hit 30, I wanted to have a house in the hills, a Cadillac and an Elvis lookalike boyfriend.”
She lived her American Dream in Los Angeles, California and through hard work achieved all what she wanted. Sapna Bhavnani broke the ice and spoke openly about the sexual assault on herself in Chicago to Humans of Bombay. In her words,
“After my father’s death, I moved to Chicago where there were so many like me and it gave me the freedom to get inked, experiment with my hair and just be myself. One Christmas Eve in Chicago, I walked out of a bar alone late at night in a short dress and red lipstick. I was 24 and had been drinking, when from a dumpster a group of guys walked upto me and put a gun to my head asking me to give them blow jobs, eventually leading to gang rape. I remember walking home, showering and pushing this incident to the back of my mind for years and never letting it break my spirit – I still wear short dresses and the brightest red on my lips,”
“In years to come, I got married to my high school sweetheart, faced domestic violence and walked out of the marriage wondering how this could happen to ME, a feminist? It’s because sometimes there are things that are beyond your control,”
But Sapna Bhavnani has survived it all with her never-say-die attitude! She is known for her wacky sense of style, with her body covered with tattoos, multiple body piercings and her cropped colored hair. She said in an interview,
“I am not really wacky as a person. I am known to always sport my motorcycle boots and my red hairstyle. Maybe people judge me by the way I look by the ink on my body.”
A tomboy at heart, Sapna maintains that she always have been vocal about her feelings and thoughts. Her immediate family consists of her mother, who lives in Mumbai, and whom Sapna Bhavnani fondly calls “my role model and my life support” and two brothers. She said she believes in “practice what you preach”. She prefers wearing black. During the reality TV show Bigg Boss Season 6 India in which she was contestant she confessed that she is not good at making poppadoms and yellow dal with white rice. Sapna is fond of cats and has three pet cats named Logic, Future and Frida.
There’s no doubt that Sapna Bhavnani is a Wonderful Woman and with all her so called flaws she wins our heart! We love you and you truly inspire us all Sapna!
This was very inspirational . Thanks for sharing
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I wish more ladies could get to read this. You can be who you want to be despite your past experiences. It’s always important to pick up the pieces and forge ahead. Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing this.
Such an extraordinary story from an amazing woman. So inspirational love it.
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I love the atitude that she has towards her story. What a great survival story.
What an inspiration! Being transparent and vocal about this type of situation/experience will help others.