Varsha Thapa wearing the Tory Burch Foundation’s Embrace Ambition T-shirt and bracelets and Tory’s Cara pant, photographed by Noa Griffel

Nepalese model Varsha Thapa has been burning up the catwalks of late, crisscrossing from one fashion capital to the next. But if you think she lives a lacquered life, think again. Thapa is heartwarmingly humble and, though her star is on the rise, isn’t letting go of her roots anytime soon. In fact, philanthropy is often top of mind when it comes to her home country. Here, she tells us about her work with the Divya Netra Community School in Kathmandu and shares her secrets to seeing the glass half full.

My motivation mantra…
Everything is possible with a grateful heart and a mind with a strong vision.

My proudest moment…
When I was able to start making a living for myself at the age of 18. I’m very grateful to the fashion industry for giving a young adult an earning life at a very young age.

My most challenging moment…
Maintaining the faith that I was going to make it while fighting obstacles. I was bullied all throughout boarding school because I didn’t fit in. I was the tallest, skinniest kid in school but also didn’t have the most flattering look. I was always mocked for being different. Childhood really shapes a kid’s perspective — after years, it was still really hard for me to feel accepted. I felt as though the bullying had subconsciously scarred my ability to see love and inclusivity.

And how I overcame the above…
Standing up for how I felt and doing something about it. I believe every challenge is met by having a vision, taking actions and also sending positive frequencies to the universe until you reach your goals.
I used a lot of positive affirmations; I told myself how much I absolutely adored and loved the way I am. I meditated into those deeply seated, negative subconscious thoughts and reversed them by pouring love to that little girl who felt unloved. It was an everyday action, and I couldn’t stop! If I did, then all those problems would come right back. So in order to break that vicious circle I had to persevere and practice this until I was in a secure place of love.

Varsha Thapa wearing the Tory Burch Foundation’s Embrace Ambition T-shirt and bracelets and Tory’s Cara pant, photographed by Noa Griffel

My involvement with Divya Netra…
I donate a portion of my check every month to the kids so they can buy food, clothes, sport equipment. I am looking for real sponsors who could further help me in my mission to take care of the underprivileged kids of Nepal. It would start with Divya Netra, then move on to other community schools where we could provide basic needs (food, clothing, education) and help them have the beautiful life they deserve.

My first time there…
I was on my summer break visiting Kathmandu and my mother — who works with the nonprofit CWEDA (Creative Women Environment Development Association), which raises money to sponsor working single mothers and underprivileged children from various community schools — took me to Divya Netra. I met with the little kids. They had no good beds, very little sports and no good food. Some of them were orphans; a few were autistic. The majority of them had single mothers who worked extremely hard in factories for barely any money. My heart broke for them.

My other charity work in Nepal involves…
There are a lot of stray dogs in Nepal who don’t have homes and eat out of the garbage. Every time I go back my mum and I prepare a lot of food for those dogs and go to the streets to feed the ones we come across. It’s really satisfying to see them eat, to see them happy.
One day, I’d like to open shelters for them and get the puppies vaccinated. I’m sure we can get the dogs off the streets and find a rightful home for them. The world would be a happier place… :)

Giving back is important because…
We’re all a part of the universe; we’re all here to create balance and harmony. Every one has a purpose in life, and giving back transforms the world into an equal space for all of us to live in.

Varsha Thapa wearing the Tory Burch Foundation’s Embrace Ambition T-shirt and bracelets and Tory’s Cara pant, photographed by Noa Griffel

#EmbraceAmbition means…
Embrace means love and acceptance. Ambition means to have a strong desire. When I combine the two I see a synchronicity in the way of being. Today, the pressure of perfection has lead us to criticize our natural selves, which only adds fuel to self-doubt. We must find our innermost selves and truly love it no matter how bad it looks. To love and embrace who we are should be a natural state and working on loving our true selves, little by little every day until we arrive at a complete state of self-love, is what “Embrace Ambition” means to me.

The woman who inspires me to #EmbraceAmbition most…
My mother, who taught me strength and resilience. As my father passed away when I was eight, we were really all by ourselves. My mum got two jobs and worked every day for more than 14 hours — with no day offs — just so I could go to school and have a decent meal at home. She never remarried because she wanted to dedicate her life towards making mine better than hers ever was. She was a hustler and really taught me how to hustle and earn at a very young age — which is probably why I never fail to hustle and work hard towards every goal of mine. She’s my true hero.

Follow Varsha Thapa on Instagram.

We at Tory Daily are inspired by smart, passionate women who #EmbraceAmbition and find ways to make their communities stronger. For information on the Tory Burch Foundation, which empowers women entrepreneurs to #EmbraceAmbition, click here.

Varsha Thapa wearing the Tory Burch Foundation’s Embrace Ambition T-shirt and Tory’s Cara pant, photographed by Noa Griffel

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