September 22, 2022
When Deepti Vempati was in school, she had somehow convinced her gym teacher to let her try out rollerblading — even though she didn’t know how. She promptly fell, breaking her arm. At the nurse’s office, she didn’t shed a tear. But when her father arrived to take her home, she started bawling. The only thing on Deepti’s mind? How she could make sure that the hospital bills didn’t cost her family too much. So she hid the pain. “She had to go through a lot,” her father told me. To this day, Deepti has a large scar that runs down her left arm, which took at least six months to heal. It makes her feel like a badass.
Since becoming a breakout star in Season 2 of the Netflix reality show Love is Blind, a lot has changed for Deepti. The show features 15 women and 15 men who spend weeks dating to decide whether they want to get engaged and later married to each other. The catch? They can’t see each other before committing. Deepti, then a 30-year-old information analyst, won over fans when she ultimately decided to (yes, spoilers ahead) not get married to the person she had initially chosen. “I deserve somebody who knows for sure,” she said on her wedding day. “So I’m choosing myself, and I’m going to say no.” The words became a rallying cry for single women everywhere, tired of lowering their standards and settling for less.
Over a year after that experience, Deepti is still figuring out how to put this motto into practice. That might sound easy, but it is particularly challenging for someone known for being selfless and generous. Choosing yourself, in this context, means prioritizing yourself for the first time — and Deepti is still getting used to it.