We interviewed youth body positivity activist Manasvi Katuri about her experience founding Tru Bloom: a nonprofit offering one-on-one meetings with teens to develop confidence and self-love. Learn more below!
In middle school, Manasvi Katuri experienced first-hand the ease with which students could fall victim to societal beauty standards. It seemed that each of her peers had a clear idea of what it meant to have a “perfect” body, and there was constant pressure to conform to toxic, appearance-driven stereotypes. High school only exacerbated these pressures–– and her insecurities–– and it was then that Manasvi had to make a choice: Conform to society’s wishes, or follow her own?
For a long time, she chose society. But then, there was a turning point.
“[Every day,] I saw people that fit into the ‘perfect’ societal norm and I completely lost myself,” says Manasvi. “One day after school, I logged into TikTok and there was a specific hashtag that was trending at that time, which was body positivity. Seeing people all over the world accepting people on social media regardless of how the general public needed them to feel, was truly enlightening.”
It was an epiphany moment that brought with it a new understanding for Manasvi and reformed her middle and high school lifestyle. She realized that, in a way, putting herself first was an act of selflessness.
“To me, it’s always been about fitting into other people’s standards but not my own. I was always unable to blossom into what I wanted to be [when I was] trapped in other's desires,” she shares. And yet, once she was able to find herself again, Manasvi realized that she could make her story a universal one. “I didn’t want the world to be going through what I have gone through. I wanted everyone, regardless of sexuality and age, to feel empowered. That’s when I started Tru Bloom.”
Tru Bloom is, put simply, self-consulting made personal. Through individualized online meetings, they encourage teenagers and children to embrace their insecurities and love themselves for who they are, not for who others want them to be. To, as Manasvi says, “help youth feel comfortable and empowered regardless of how they look.”
Today, the organization, with twenty-two members and nearly 1k followers on Instagram, is nearing its six-month milestone–– but that’s not to say the journey has been an easy one.
“Starting Tru Bloom has always been a long aspiration of mine,” shares Manasvi. “But with limited resources and people who I could reach out to during the pandemic, [it was sometimes challenging to] set a foot forward with my idea.”
Still, Manasvi is proud of what the organization has accomplished, even if it remains in its infancy relative to the rest of the nonprofit world. Beyond their consulting sessions, Tru Bloom continues to empower their audience to live with confidence and self-love through a monthly newsletter, affectionately called the LoveLetter. On social media, their Instagram educates followers on various themes, most centered around body positivity, and leads exciting destressors like guided yoga on Instagram Live. They even have an inspirational Spotify playlist, called “love myself,” that reminds teens to be kind to themselves and one-another.
Just as Tru Bloom encourages others to put aside their insecurities and dream big, the company too hopes to blossom into a larger, better version of itself moving forward. “[We wish to] share our unique narratives with each other all across the world,” says Manasvi. “Tru Bloom [will] always welcome people, regardless of their circumstances. Our sole future objective is to assist others in recognizing how beautiful they are in this world and why their distinct personalities are valued.”
Thank you to Tru Bloom founder Manasvi Katuri for sharing her story with our team! Learn more about Tru Bloom by visiting their website, trubloomorg.wixsite.com/mysite, and following them on Instagram @trubloomorg. Their email is email@example.com.