Caught in a blur of drugs, drink, sex and clubbing, Bobbi Kumari was sabotaging her promising future in fashion.
But as she hit London’s clubs every night, little could she imagine her party lifestyle would one day allow her to help students and sex workers develop healthy self-images, identities and relationships.
Bobbi’s troubles began as she hit her teens.
Torn between her strict traditional Indian background and British culture, and with a violent alcoholic father, she lived a double life.
“I was trying to be good, but I was smoking, stealing my dad’s whisky and sneaking out of my bedroom window too,” she said.
When Bobbi was invited to a local girls’ club, she found faith and started going to church. But she was still torn between two worlds.
“I read my Bible, prayed and went to Bible studies, but I was living a double life. I didn’t understand God loved me unconditionally or that I had any value.” Fashion-mad Bobbi started attending London College of Fashion, but the lure of London’s night life proved irresistible.
“I went clubbing every night. I left my Christian faith because I felt guilty and didn’t want Jesus to spoil my fun.
“What began as looking for fun exploded into ten years of seeking love in all the wrong places, taking Class A drugs and having no value or purpose.”
Everything changed when Bobbi’s mum, who had recently become a Christian, invited her to a prayer meeting.
“I had a real encounter with God, and he got completely under my skin.
“Even when I was high, I couldn’t get God out of my head.”
Gradually, Bobbi left the drugs and addictions behind. She felt God call her to teach fashion at a secondary school, and while she taught others, she learned to develop a healthy self-image and identity.
“God delivered me from low self-esteem, not feeling pretty, and stripped me of the places I had looked to to tell me I was beautiful. He helped me see my beauty and self-worth comes from him.”
Then she felt God told her to resign her teaching post.
“That’s when Living in Light was born,” Bobbi said of the fashion label she now runs, which includes vibrant bespoke clothing designs, fashion workshops and an image consultancy.
“The vision for Living in Light centres on three things – intimacy, identity and image. I equip and help girls with these through creativity and teaching.”
She also published a book, Sacred Sexuality, to teach girls about healthy relationships.
Bobbi is also passionate about her work with a group which works at clubs, festivals and with girls and staff in the sex industry to offer prayer, love and support.
“We’re bringing the love of God into the sex industry. Some of the girls are blown away that women would come into their clubs just to love them.
“It’s a privilege to be part of their world and to share God’s love with them.”