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  • Vedanshi Vala

Meet the L'Oreal Paris Woman of Worth: Vedanshi Vala

“Being raised with Rajput traditions and values really shaped the relationship I now have with serving my community,” says Vedanshikumari (Vedanshi) Vala. “You know, in the 21st century, years after our ancestors really held the responsibility of state affairs and governance, I think people in my generation are starting to think about what being Rajput means in a contemporary context.”

Vedanshi Vala
Born in India, raised in Canada, Vedanshi is a 21-year-old making waves of change. As a Bachelor of Science student at the University of British Columbia, Vedanshi firmly believes in using her knowledge and abilities to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Values of service, empathy, and integrity lead her to co-founding the BOLT Safety Society to fight back against sexual violence, and a socially-conscious jewelry brand, MAZE.

“For me, on this one hand there is this really inspiring legacy of leaders from whom I have the privilege of being descended, and on the other, is the modern world that constantly questions the significance that this ancestry holds in our society. Where you come from can be the greatest source of inspiration to do good in this world. When I hear stories of what my ancestors did for their people, it reminds me that being Rajput really means living for the betterment of human society, no matter where in the world you’ve ended up.”

Vedanshi has advocated for safer and equitable communities in Canada's biggest and most impactful media outlets, like CBC, Global News, and CTV News. “I have a lot of gratitude for my community, and so I’m happy when I can do a small part in giving back.” As Co-Founder and Executive Director of the BOLT Safety Society, Vedanshi is boldly fighting against sexual violence, domestic abuse, and harassment with her novel ‘tech-startup meets non-profit’ concept.

Vedanshi was the lead developer behind the BOLT Personal Safety Digital Platform, which can be accessed for a survivor-centric database of resources via a mobile app or any desktop browser. She also led the creation of BOLT’s Safe Hubs network, spanning across 19 locations and 8 cities. Additionally, Vedanshi spearheaded the launch of the national Safe Buddies hotline in the face of alarming increases in anti-Asian violence, inspiring courageous volunteers from across the country to step up in the war against race and gender. Safe Buddies have reached 1,700 people through local event coverage, and served over 200 clients in just over a year’s time.

Moreover, by working with the Royal Family of Jaipur and the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, Vedanshi led the BOLT team on an international excursion to deliver educational workshops to women and girls from rural Indian communities. “This was really, really special. Having lived and worked outside of my birth country for the majority of my life, I was thrilled to do a project on Indian soil. The sweetest part was seeing my family get involved, and working with them.”

Team BOLT with Team PDKF

Recently, Vedanshi was distinguished nationally as a L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth. “That was a huge honour. When I looked at the trailblazers whom I stood next to, I was beyond humbled. It was also of profound significance to be the youngest honouree in my cohort, the only Indian, and by extension, the only one representing the Rajput community on that national platform. I chose to wear my mother’s traditional jewelry for my speech, and it was nice to have that element be part of that experience.”

“I was raised in a family where your jewelry was often a heartfelt gift from loved ones, or celebrated important life milestones. Similarly, I want other people to feel cherished, which was one of my motivating reasons for founding my jewelry brand MAZE.”

Vedanshi in collaboration with L'Oreal Paris

Created to feel like art on your body, the unique and handcrafted silver or gold-tone metal MAZE hardware can elevate any outfit. Believing in a highly personal touch to fashion, Vedanshi's vision for MAZE is to celebrate each person who wears the brand. Moreover, in a world that needs to be ever-conscious of the perils of fast fashion, MAZE takes things slow: pieces are made-to-order, tailored to the wearer’s unique sizing. This not only ensures that excess waste is minimized, but is inclusive of diverse body sizes, and personal preferences. “The concept of bespoke fashion has existed in India for millenia, and I’m thrilled to bring that experience to other markets.”

Recognizing that fashion is a luxury for many, MAZE has committed to donating a portion of sales to support Covenant House’s work with youth in crisis or experiencing homelessness. Starting an annual tradition, Vedanshi hand-makes jewelry and cards to gift to the young, resilient people seeking support at Covenant House Vancouver.

“That’s what being a Rajput means to me, in a contemporary context. Being proud of your heritage, and committing yourself to a life that will leave the world in a better place.”

Rajputana Collective claims no copyrights whatsoever over the content and photographs in this article. All representative discretion belongs solely to Vedanshi Vala.


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