Aesthetic physician Rashmi Shetty is the face behind Bollywood
An aesthetic physician, author of Age Erase and the Founder of Ra Skin and Aesthetics, better known as the Bollywood doctor, Dr. Rashmi Shetty has been in the industry for 12 years.
She started in 2001, a time when aesthetic medicine was a very new field. “It was so new then that hospitals didn’t think it was important enough to have an aesthetic medicine division. Now, of course things have starkly changed, and every hospital has its own aesthetic medicine department. But, I started at a time when I had to introduce this science itself to the patients.”
She started with a scratch in terms of patient awareness. Gradually, as more and more people started opening up to the field of facial aesthetics, things changed. “My reach grew through word of mouth. I starting working with Bollywood celebrities and my name started doing the rounds in the industry as most of them loved the way I worked on their faces, making sure it looked absolutely natural.”
Today, she has two clinics – one in Mumbai, the other in Hyderabad. “They are absolutely state-of-the-art and represent the way I work,” she adds.
Born in Mangalore, her mother was only 18 when Rashmi was born, and brought up in Bengaluru; she was the centre of her mother’s life. Her mother always wanted her to become a doctor, so it was something that was programmed into Rashmi since childhood.
But it was not just about academics, her mother encouraged her to be an all rounder and made her take all kinds of classes- from dance to painting, to personality development, to elocution, and computers. “She drove me to excellence in whatever I did and made winning a habit. She instilled in us the need for being impeccable in everything including what we wear and how we carry ourselves. So, I owe a lot to my years of upbringing.”
In 1996 she graduated in medicine from Mysore University, in 2000 she got her fellowship from England and in 2001 she started private practice. Five years ago she bought her own clinic. In her early days, Rashmi trained under Dr. K. S. Shekhar, one of the leading plastic surgeons of the country.
One of her biggest challenges was educating people about the science and concept of aesthetic medicine and its possibilities. “Today people are highly informed, they come asking for the exact treatments they want. They come and ask for Botox, fillers, even know the variants of different lasers. Earlier, it wasn’t the case, I had to literally explain to them the procedures, many were scared of equipment, and injections in the initial days, there was a lot of inhibition.”
In the past decade, according to Rashmi, greater exposure to the entertainment industry and increased purchasing power has helped more and more people open up to this field of medicine.
The popularity of Botox has grown significantly in the past decade in India; along with the introduction of a range of fillers, lasers etc. Also advertising is reaching out to large audience and hospitals are opening up to aesthetic medicine.
Some of the milestones of her life include- getting into aesthetic medicine and not plastic surgery, getting married and moving to Bombay, her first patient, the first international lecture she gave at the World
Congress for Laser in Chennai that was hosted for the first time in India. “I was young and super nervous and the first time I was facing an audience of experts.”She was also the first Indian to be invited to the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery and was a part of the scientific committee of World Congress of Anti-Ageing and Aesthetic Medicine.
Rashmi has also been consulting in Colombo for seven years now, and caters to a large expat community on a regular basis.
On the personal front, she loves to be with her 11 year old daughter and continues to pursue her enthusiasm for dance by learning different styles.
Dance has been an essential part of Rashmi’s life. She has been a classical dancer and has trained in the authentic Pandanallur style of Bharatnatyam.
“Since bharatnatyam has varieties of different authentic style, to find a guru in the dance form that you have trained in becomes a little difficult. This year, my resolution is to find a guru and start dancing again. I am dying to get back to dancing. The stage gives you an unmatched adrenaline rush, the instance response of audience is very gratifying.”
She adds, “As an aesthetic physician working with fillers gives me a similar gratification. It is like a performing art.”