|Real name||Swapnil Shinde The Times of India|
|Full name||Saisha Tulsidas Shinde
|Known For||Being India’s first transgender fashion designer|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Mid Day Height||in centimeters– 188 cm
in meters– 1.88 m
in feet & inches– 6’ 2”
|Debut||Fashion Show: Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) (2006)|
|Date of Birth||Year 1981|
|Age (as of 2022)||41 Years|
|Birthplace||Hindu Colony, Dadar, Mumbai|
|Hometown||Hindu Colony, Dadar, Mumbai|
|School||St. Joseph’s High School, Wadala, Mumbai|
|College/University||• National Institute of Fashion Technology, Mumbai
• House of Versace, Italy
|Educational Qualification(s)||• Graduation from National Institute of Fashion Technology, Mumbai (2003)
• Six months Internship in Fashion from House of Versace, Italy The New Indian Express SheThePeople
|Ethnicity||Maharashtrian The Times of India|
|Tattoo(s)||She has got a few tattoos inked on her body. One of her tattoos is inked on the left side of her neck.
|Relationships & More|
|Parents||Father– Tulsidas Shinde (owns a chain of restaurants including Hotel Rishi in Dadar, Mumbai)
Mother– Name Not Known (artist)
Some Lesser Known Facts About Saisha Shinde
- Saisha Shinde is an Indian fashion designer. She is famous for being the first Indian transgender fashion designer.
- She was born as a male, but since her childhood, she had feminine features for which she was even bullied by her school classmates. During an interview, she talked about it. She said,
My schoolmates used to tease me by saying “aye, baila.” They bullied me because I was shy, and had feminine features. Those were the worst years of my life. The church on the school premises became a refuge, where I would wait in a corner until everyone else had left for the day.”She added,After spending much of my school life feeling like less of a man, I decided to make my behaviour and appearance hyper masculine. It was a 100 per cent conscious decision. We are talking of the early ’90s when gay men were reduced to a caricature.”
- In her 20s, she started getting attracted to men. Initially, she thought that she was gay, but later, after a few therapies with doctors, she realised that she was a trans woman. During an interview, Saisha shared that in her 20s, she was suffering from gender dysphoria (distress a person feels due to a mismatch between their gender identity). In an interview, while talking about that phase, she said,
I come from a privileged family and was financially sorted as a designer. It was easier to live in denial, but I realised that something was not right. That I had to finally live for myself. My friends didn’t know that I was wearing makeup and heels and dressing up behind closed doors. I was living between genders; I felt like a woman who dressed up as a man in rugged boots and a stubble, not the other way around.”
I was on panic attack pills. The panic attacks shot up the moment I thought I don’t want to do this and stopped when I went ahead with my decision. This is when I finally found peace. My features started to change because my medication dosage was already on the higher side. Initially, people would scare me, saying you would have reactions and side effects, mood swings, vomiting and headaches. But I think it is all just a state of mind. I did not have any of these. My body started to change, my features started to change, hair growth started to change.”
While talking about coping with that phase, she said,
It has just been a year for me transitioning and it is still very fresh and there are still days that are very heavy on gender dysphoria for me. Something as simple as dressed up head to toe in a woman’s attire with full make-up and hair done and still someone would call me sir. There’s nothing wrong in that. He is being very respectful, he just doesn’t know the pronouns and the terms but obviously those are the days that dysphoria hits me heavily and the way I combat it is therapy and my amazing bunch of family and friends (help me do that). And of course, talking to other fellow trans women who talk about their experiences, I feel I am not alone and can deal with it.”
- After confirming with doctors that she was a trans woman, she decided to share it with her parents. Initially, she was a bit reluctant to talk about it with her parents, but when her parents got to know about it, they were quite normal about it. In an interview, while talking about it, Saisha said,
I was struggling to find the right terms in Marathi, to articulate what I was feeling and who I was going to be. My father is extremely liberal minded. He has always been there for me, from buying dolls when I was a child to supporting my career in fashion, and standing by me when I decided on gender transition, even having a say in the doctors I would consult. She couldn’t recognise me when I met her dressed as a woman for the first time. She helped me choose a new name [the designer shares the name Saisha with her niece]. We now exchange tips on hair and makeup.”
- She decided to completely transform her body as a female in 2020 and opted for gender reassignment surgery. The treatment process started with psychiatrists sessions with Dr. Neha Shah and Dr. Armaan Pandey followed by a hormone replacement therapy with endocrinologist Dr. Dheeraj Kapoor at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai. She then had a hair treatment at Metamorphosis Clinic. Saisha then attended voice modulation training followed by a few surgeries. During an interview, while talking about it, she said,
My genetic physiology may not eventually allow me to appear like a ‘delicate’ woman but I will be an out and proud woman nonetheless, who will publicly wear makeup and heels. Mala bhiti nahin ahey.”
- She started her career as a sales boy at the Kimaya Fashion Store in Mumbai, and she was then promoted as a visual merchandiser in the same store.
- She started her fashion label ‘Swapnil Shinde’ in 2007. She has designed clothes for various Bollywood actresses like Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, and Aditi Rao Hydari.
- Her fashion label has showcased its collection in various top-notch fashion shows.
- She has worked as a fashion designer for various Hindi films like ‘Fashion’ (2008), ‘Guzaarish’ (2010), and ‘Laxmii’ (2020).
- Saisha participated as a contestant in the American TV show ‘Project Runway Season 14’ in 2015.
- She gained immense popularity after the gown designed by her was worn by the winner of Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu in the final round of the pageant. During an interview, while talking about the gown, Saisha said,
There is a certain expectation from Miss India at an International pageant. She has to look elegant, exquisite and the gown needs to look delicate and dainty but at the same time powerful, strong, which incidentally my brand has become now after I have transitioned into a woman. The gown is embellished with embroidery, stones, and sequins. Harnaaz believes in sustainability, so we used embroidery material that was lying around at the studio. Also, since she is from Punjab, we incorporated phulkari-inspired motifs in the ensemble. The geometric patterns which are synonymous with the phulkari patterns are given a modern twist.”
- Saisha participated as one of the contestants in the digital reality show ‘Lock Upp’ (2022) hosted by the famous Indian actress Kangana Ranaut.
- She is a spiritual person, and in one of her interviews, she shared that she had a deep faith in Lord Ganesha.
- She loves cats and has a few pet cats. She shared an Instagram post in 2020 in which she uploaded a photo of her pet cat Mimi Shinde, who had died in the same year.
- During an interview, while talking about selecting her name after transgender treatment, she said,
I wanted to keep my name Mastani after my transgender treatment was over, but everyone in my family hated the name, so I opt for the name Saisha. Saisha means a meaningful life and I plan to make mine an exceptionally meaningful one. I had a really tough time selecting it. There were four options and the one that I actually liked was the one that everyone else hated! It was Mastani. But then Saisha is what we went with. It does define me a lot.”
- She used to smoke cigarettes before her transition as a woman.