Jaahnavi Sriperambuduru, the 14-year-old Indian mountaineer from the city who scaled Australia’s Mt. Kosciuszko earlier this month as part of her attempt to become the world’s youngest ‘Seven Summiteer,’ broke the stereotype that being pretty and being tough are two different things. “Breaking stereotypes and showing girl power are bigger challenges than climbing mountains,” she quips.
The Class IX student of Reqelford International School in the city who set a new record by finishing off the Aussie 10 Challenge - reaching the 10 most difficult peaks in all 21,788 metres - in December this year also starred in a skin lotion ad that will go national soon to give out the message that ‘pretty can be tough’.
Jaahnavi has always been passionate about fighting for the girl child’s cause and she jumped at the offer to be cast in ad which gave out the same message. “The Dabur Gulbari ad people approached me through my website. After a few interactions with my dad Dr Krishna Rao who also accompanies me on my mountaineering expeditions, they froze on the details. The ad was shot for two days in Mumbai.”
Earlier this year, this pretty and tough girl also got to ramp walk for a fashion show by Sanjana Jon, personal designer of Janet Jackson and New York’s top fashion professional, when the event was for a cause - female foeticide. “I believe that every girl should be a role model herself. Such events and commercials help me reach out to a larger audience and tell the world what a girl can do.”
So what’s her message to teens like her: “Live your dreams with open eyes. Girls are made of sterner stuff and you must prove it every single time you get the opportunity to. Self confidence is the best support you can get,” she says.
Talking about her unique record, she said, “I climbed ten highest peaks in four days and Mt. Kosciuszko is the highest peak of Australia and I became the youngest Indian to do so.
The girl who is gearing up for her next target - Mt Aconcagua at 6,962 m in the Andes range of South America - says although modelling is not really her cup of tea, she feels she can reach out to more people when she uses the mass media.
She has already set a record globally by climbing Stok Kangri situated in Leh, Ladakh which is 20,080 ft (6125 mts.) high. She is probably the only person who started her adventure career from a very tender age of 10 months. She has trained in adventure sports like para sailing, hot air ballooning, rappelling etc.
By the age of ten, she completed two high altitude treks, five national and 25 local treks. In 2010, she completed the Roopkund Trek (16,000 ft) and in 2011, she participated in the National Himalayan Trek organized by Youth Hostels Association of India with special permission and successfully completed the First Batch of the Trek. She went upto a height of 10,000 ft,” says her dad Dr Krishna Rao who is taking a break from his practice to train and accompany his daughter to the‘seven summits’ of the world.