Avatar photo

By Hein Kaiser


Where art and science meet: Plastic surgeon and soon-to-be actress

Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Kajal Lutchminarian combined her two passions.

She has more energy than Asterix after a gulp of magic potion from Getafix. Durban plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Kajal Lutchminarian lives as if the world’s her oyster, and right now, it seems as if her life philosophy has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Lutchminarian was born and bred in the KwaZulu-Natal sugar cane belt.

Besides her highly successful practice in Durban, Lutchminarian is reading in her script for a movie, where she landed a leading role; 2023 is her year for saying yes, and the opportunity to be cast in a feature also came happenstance.

It was an opportunity she heard of and, thought, “why not”? The plot and details are still under wraps, but if Lutchminarian’s track record is anything to go by, it’s bound to make a few waves.

Medicine, acting and charity

She juggles her charity work in local communities with an ongoing pursuit to inspire and educate young women, and to remind them that they can achieve absolutely anything they set their minds to.

“Even what you do when life throws limits at you, it’s how you react to these challenges. If you can translate them and transform them into something positive and beautiful, there is no way that you can fail,” she said.

ALSO READ: Robotics and AI: The future is in Rosman’s lab

It is this mantra that permeates through everything she does. And it’s been like that for her since childhood. It was her dad who inspired her.

“My dad was a dentist, and I would just watch him help people. We come from a very small community in Tongaat, and I would see his patients come up and give him homegrown vegetables, randomly, in thanks,” she said.

“And, you know, when something in a house was broken and we needed it to be fixed, his patients would get together and come through to help.

“The sense of community, and I think respect, I noticed people had for him, because of his kind nature and what he was able to do for them, to help heal them, bound people together.”

Medicine was never her first choice. Lutchminarian was drawn to the creative side of life, and the arts was a possible journey at some point. But after living through her grandfather’s sever illness, and seeing medical personnel heal him, her attraction to medicine trumped.

Combining two passions

“I opted, in the end, to combine my two passions, and become a plastic surgeon. To me, this is where creativity and helping people meets,” she said.

And she loves what she does. But it’s never been enough for Lutchminarian to settle for a single path. Her mantra drives her and often she agrees to new challenges simply because, well, it’s there for the taking.

This is how she entered the world of pageantry. It was not on her radar until entering Miss India South Africa and later Miss World India became irresistible challenges. She conquered both in 2010.

ALSO READ: Tshepo Jeans: Fashion with heart and deeper meaning

While she lives life to the fullest, everything she does is underlined by an inspiration quotient, directed at others, and not just at young women.

“As a minority the Indian community is often overlooked, culturally and for its achievements, and the heights some people climb to within the community,” she said. “It is a personal mission of mine to amplify the culture, the influence and the tremendous contribution the Indian community has made to South Africa since our forefathers first arrived, more than 150 years ago, as sugar cane cutters.”

Her patients are also very close to her heart, she said. Her work, driven by her belief that elective plastic surgery is not a frivolity but rather a contributor to positive self and body image, and helping people be the best version of themselves.

She marries this with her view on minority communities, and said that just like with the Indian community, other smaller segments of the population should be amplified.

“By no means do I want people to portray an image of themselves which is not true to their authentic selves. I think that’s where the balance of the message in my voice is,” she said.

“I want people to know Indian women, black women, young gay men, young children who are impressionable, transgender kids, everybody who has felt like they are a minority, I want them to know that it’s not easy. But you will get there and you can get there.”

ALSO READ: Carte Blanche’s Lezanne is switched on and buzzing online

Read more on these topics