A new take on the modern fairy tale.
Nikita Gill has made a name for herself as a talented author and poet. Her Instagram page is filled with inspirational quotes from her writings.
Those poetic messages have certainly connected with readers as well. Nikita Gill has amassed a huge online following, with over 400,000 Instagram followers.
Nikita is the author of Wild Embers and Your Soul is a River. Her latest book, Fierce Fairytales, is sure to delight both poetry fans and feminists alike.
In Fierce Fairytales, Gill takes those traditional fairytales we all know and gives them a much-needed modern update.
Instead of damsels in distress, we get fairytale heroines who save themselves and blurred lines between heroes and villains. Nikita’s writing seamlessly blends entertaining poetic narratives with highly-inspirational messages. Her creativity in transforming classic fairytales makes for an engaging read – especially for women. These poems and stories will leave you feeling empowered and wanting to see more work from this incredibly talented writer.
I had the opportunity to interview Nikita Gill and learn about her background, Fierce Fairytales, and her plans for the future.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where did you grow up? When and why did you start writing?
Nikita Gill: I grew up in Gurugram, which is a suburb of New Delhi. I attended both school and university in New Delhi and came to England at the age of 24 initially to pursue a masters degree in Book Arts and Publishing and then stayed on to work.
I worked as a carer and teaching assistant at a school for young people with disabilities, which basically changed the way I looked at the world. The amount of love and friendship and lessons I learned from the staff and students at that school were the foundation for me to start putting my work out there with my name on it.
I’ve been writing anonymously on the internet under multiple handles for roughly ten years, so I guess it was just time. I started writing at the age of 12 and its always just been my way to cope with trauma.
Where do you draw your inspirations for your writing?
Nikita Gill: Real life. All over the place. I see something that really shakes me up on the news, I write about it. I am dealing with something hard, I write about it.
One of my favourite writers, Charles Dickens, conjured up the most beautiful stories from his painful childhood. In fact, a lot of my favourite writers found solace in writing to comfort themselves from pain in their lives.
I believe some of the greatest art can come from a place of great emotion. And it is emotion that inspires me write every single day.
In Fierce Fairytales, you bring a fresh, modern perspective to the classic fairytale – especially for women. How have those traditional fairytales influenced women and how we are viewed in society?
Nikita Gill: I think the most interesting things about fairytales is how the bind women to this idea of moral perfection. And not just women but men too. There are these really detrimental ideas that enforce gender roles, like passivity to the point of sleep (Sleeping Beauty and Snow White) and therefore unable to give consent yet are basically kissed when unconscious. I also find the concept of masculinity, where men have to be a certain level of stoic which involves repressing emotions.
For instance, stories things we never question in Jack and the Beanstalk, his mother hits him, but thats just never addressed. So I built a story around addressing that.
Traditional fairytales bring this concept of women having to be saved by men, that women are incapable of being their own heroes, that kindness and courage are somehow intertwined with taking abuse (Cinderella) and all of this reflects on how women are seen today. Women are basically taught to endure everything that happens to them, and the minute they speak up against abuse, there is pushback to silence them once again.
This is why I believe fairytales were in need of an update. So that our daughters do not have to believe or think any of these things.
Do you have a personal favorite fairytale that you especially loved re-imagining for Fierce Fairytales?
Nikita Gill: My absolute favourite retelling was Cinderella’s step mother and step sisters. I’ve always wondered why Lady Tremaine is so cruel and why Cinderella’s step sisters are so nasty to her. So I wrote them backstories that showed how they went through their own traumas, they healed wrong.
The lesson in these stories is to never ever look at someone and think they’re evil and thats all there is to them. But to address the root of the evil, to understand why they are that way, address them with nuance as all human beings are built of varying shades of gray.
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any upcoming books you are currently working on?
Nikita Gill: I have a lot of writing and a lot of love to give to the world as yet, so that is what I’m looking forward to most. I’m actually working on a series of dystopian short stories right now and as well as a book of poetry which I am also illustrating myself. I am also working on my first ever novel, which is extremely exciting and I look forward to the day I will introduce it to the world.
In celebration of her new book, Fierce Fairytales, here are some of Nikita Gill’s most inspirational quotes that will leave you feeling ready for conquer the world!
1. We must stand up for ourselves.
“My dear, some people (yes, even if they bear the name family) will do nothing but try to ruin you, and you deserve to take back with fire and blood what’s rightfully yours. Or else they will keep destroying the garden of your heart that you painstakingly grew, eating your own rage should not be yet another one of your daily chores. Let no one tell you that can only be kind and courage is not angry nor shrewd that can only be silently gentle and have no right to stand up for themselves and roar.” — Nikita Gill
2. Women are powerful.
“To the men who forgot I am half God before I am a woman, did you really believe that I would not choose freedom, sky flavoured and sea beloved over the prison you kept me in? Did you really think it was that easy to hold my heart that once wed, you could forget me until I was needed? Did you forget that the blood that runs through my veins is ichor not iron? Did it not strike you, Theseus, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Achilles, and yes, even you Paris, that I would always belong to myself first and that is the only reason I would run? Did no one ever teach you, that when you try to touch a Goddess, when you treat her like she is property, you are playing with divine fire and you and everything you love will burn?” — Nikita Gill
3. We are all unique.
“Your heart beats approximately 104,000 times in a day and each one of those heartbeats is far too valuable to waste on comparing yourself to another. You were given your heart’s unique rhythm to dance to your very own beat. Not to the beating of anyone else’s heart. Just your own.” — Nikita Gill
4. It is more important to be a good human first.
“You see, today I found a note from my seven year old self. All it read was, ‘When I grow up, I just want to be a good human.’ And all I could think was ‘I really hope I haven’t let her down.'” — Nikita Gill
5. The rage that comes with heartbreak.
“I have gunpowder in my chest instead of a heart now, and it escapes my lips shaped like a bullet with your name on it. Soft people become dangerous when you destroy the things they hold dearest.” — Nikita Gill
6. Women are complicated and interesting.
“Not all are made of sugar and spice and all things nice. These are made of dark lace and witchcraft and a little bit of vice. These are daughters made claw first and story-mad, tiger roar and wolf-bad. These are women made of terrible tempests and savage storms and the untamed unwanted. These are damsels made of flawless fearlessness made of more bravery than knights have ever seen. These are princesses made of valour and poison alike and they are here to hold court as your queens.” — Nikita Gill
7. History was made by women too.
“Did you think they did it alone? Built whole armies, and conquered thrones? Constructed promised lands that would outlive the sun resurrected prosperity from ash and bone? A crest is not just a manmade thing ,it is also created by generations of women who wield swords through guile and letters. Show me your kings, and I will show you the queens that willed them, that bred them, that taught them to do better.” — Nikita Gill
8. Know your worth and the world is yours.
“A girl who knows her worth is a deadly thing in this world. Darkling magic coils inside her bones as she charms her way onto thrones. Name her threat, name her terrible, name her shrewd. All of this is part of her beautiful. The world wanted her passive but she was destined for recognition. They liked her best asleep, so she to defy them she marries ambition.” — Nikita Gill
9. The strongest people are the ones we least expect to be.
“The people who consider you weak have not yet noticed the wolf hiding behind your eyes, nor the flames inside your soul. Let them think you are weak and do what wolves and fire do best. Surprise them when they least expect it.” — Nikita Gill
10. Live your life to the fullest and become your own person.
“Listen to me, you are a half ocean girl, with wild that you still have to unlock from your soul. No man can help you discover who you are, this is a thing you must do on your own. Chase your adventures, face your breaking, the pain will teach you how to make yourself whole. The water, and the wild have never forgotten you and in them you will always have a home. Become the thing your blood demands, a Siren Queen ready to take her throne.” — Nikita Gill
11. A far better way to see ourselves.
“I weigh the sea, I weigh the storm, I weigh a thousand stories long. I weigh my mother’s fortitude and my father’s eyes, I weigh the way they look at me with pride, I weigh strength and fearless and the warrior in me. I weigh all the pain and trauma that made me see that I have more galaxies inside me than tragedies. We all weigh joys and darkness and goodness and sin you see, we are infinite within this skin we are in. So when they ask you what you weigh you don’t need to look down at any scale. Instead, simply tell them the truth, tell them how you weigh whole universes and storms and scars and stories too.” — Nikita Gill
12. Our strength has always been there inside of us.
“You have been praying so long for the strength to outlive the pain they inflicted on you that you have forgotten – you are already strong.” — Nikita Gill
13. This should be how it is!
“Imagine a world where your period is normalized, where instead of fearing leaking every girl can declare proudly, ‘I can do anything, and I can do it with holy blood rivers flowing.” — Nikita Gill
14. A backstory that re-defines evil.
“This is what you learn from taming snakes: Soon they become your dearest friends. You grow immune to every kind of poison.This is what becomes of you when death takes your love: Your grief twists inside your gut till you cannot breathe. You grit your teeth and smile through the tragedy. And this is what happens when they deny you the crown: You swallow the world. You devour the stars. You make them bleed. You make them bleed. You make them bleed… ” — Nikita Gill
15. A perspective on our scars.
“I suppose I love my scars because they have stayed with me longer than most people have.” — Nikita Gill
16. A curious young girl grows up to become a powerful warrior.
“You grew up to be both a woman and closed fist constantly looking for a fight. A better, quicker warrior than your brother, you had learned monsters before men, because you did not want men to fall at your feet instead you taught them how to fear your footsteps. People whisper your name as ‘Demon slayer’, for you were born to kill monsters. But the King calls you “Lord Commander” because his army know no better leader.” — Nikita Gill
17. Fairytales that better reflect humanity.
“What if Cinderella had an attitude problem and Snow White just liked the idea of strangers and poison too much? What if the Little Mermaid always enjoyed human company more than her own kind’s and Sleeping Beauty just liked her solitude more than human touch? What if the only rabbit hole Alice ever fell down was a terrible mistake with an awful substance, never discussed as such? What if they locked Wendy away for hallucinating about Neverland and a boy who never grew up? What if fairytales aren’t as innocent as they sound and even princesses aren’t perfect? What if I told you that your damage doesn’t define you and the way you survive is no one else’s damned business?” — Nikita Gill
18. No one else can keep you down.
“I am more powerful than I am damaged and I will rise from any abyss you drown me in.” — Nikita Gill
19. Stay fearless!
“Defined by no man, you are your own story, blazing through the world, turning history into herstory. And when they dare to tell you about all the things you cannot be, you smile and tell them, ‘I am both war and woman and you cannot stop me.” — Nikita Gill
20. Powerful mothers.
“Who told you only the soft could be good mothers? That mothers could not be dragons in disguise? That women who teach their daughters how to preserve themselves by breathing out lightning were any less than wild, magical things when teaching their young about war and love’s terrible lies?” — Nikita Gill
21. Remember who you are.
“Listen to me, girl, you have castles inside your bones, coronets in your heart, if he threatens you with battle, you raise him a whole war, the last time I checked, Queens cower before no man.” — Nikita Gill
22. Remember this.
“If he puts his hand on you without your consent, turn into a crone. He will not know how to handle you ancient and powerful. He does not know how to handle you dark and vengeful. When he puts his hand on you without your explicit consent, he is giving you permission to sink your wicked witch claws into him with all your might and savage him down to his wretched little worthless soul.” — Nikita Gill
23. Find someone who loves the whole you.
“You are a thing both beautiful and terrible, and you deserve someone who treats you like the moon and can love the dark side of your soul too.” — Nikita Gill
24. It is all normal and should not be shamed.
“Imagine if the holy river we bring to life every month was treated with the prayer and worship it deserved. Visualize fairytales that included the oceans in our stomachs. Aurora speaking to her mother about blood was a right of passage. Belle teaching a whole classroom how to care for their wombs. Queen Cinderella decreeing that the language of blood was no longer secret. Snow White, being able to declare to the dwarves, ‘Excuse me, I have my period’ without them being affected into silence and awkwardness. Think of a world where your period was not a thing or murmurs. How people knew that like the moon, half the world has a cycle, and because of this cycle, this process of our uterus letting go that humans exist, you see, blood does not take permission. Blood comes and goes as it desires, and it is a damned shame that instead of looking at themselves as the warriors they are, little learn to worry about how to afford this bleeding, instead of math, science, art, history, geography, literature, drama. Imagine a world where your period is normalized, where instead of fearing leaking every girl can declare proudly, ‘I can do anything, and I can do it with holy blood rivers flowing.'” — Nikita Gill
25. Don’t waste your time on those who don’t deserve you.
“There is an entire forest full of the most incredible flowers, plants and trees inside you, and you are ignoring all of it to nurture a single tree that they planted inside your heart and abandoned. The people who left you this way don’t deserve to become your favourite stories to tell. You are a massive forest full of beautiful and vibrant stories and every single one of them deserves you more than those that abandoned you to hell.” — Nikita Gill
26. You are worthy.
“I wonder what I could have done with all of the time I wasted wondering if I was good enough, pretty enough to exist.” — Nikita Gill
27. Don’t apologize for being yourself.
“Some days I am more wolf than woman and I am still learning how to stop apologising for my wild.” — Nikita Gill
28. Be the heroine of your own your story.
“One day, a knight in shining armour may find my daughter, and offer to save her from her life, her problems, her troubles. In that situation, I hope that I have raised such a girl that she smiles coolly and tells him, ‘No, thank you. I’ve very much got this.’ Then puts on her armour and rides off into the sunset alone to save herself.” — Nikita Gill
29. Fulfill your destiny.
“Every time you think you are broken, know this: you are never really breaking. No one can break an ocean, darling, all you are doing, is breaking the glass that is holding you back, diving deeper into your own depths, discovering yourself in pockets of the most somber waves, rebuilding your heart with coral, with seaweed, with moon coloured sand dust. So stop trying to hold yourself back inside that glass, it was never meant to hold you. Instead, break it, shatter it into a thousand pieces…and become who you were always meant to be, an ocean, proud and whole.” — Nikita Gill
30. Keep dreaming big.
“Her mother told her she could grow up to be anything she wanted to be, so she grew up to become the strongest of the strong, the strangest of the strange, the wildest of the wild, the wolf leading wolves.” — Nikita Gill
If you’re looking for a little inspiration, we’ve got the best quotes to share and savor. For quotes from the most inspiring celebs, activists, and poets, look no further! You might even find the quote that motivates the best parts of your life (and love!) forever.
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and Michigan native who covers trending topics, pop culture and astrology. When she’s not writing for YourTango, she is also a travel blogger and an actress.