September 30, 2013 Asmita Aggarwal

Living the Dream

Two foreign models and first timers at WIFW SS 14, reveal their inner secrets; what makes them tick and why India is mesmerizing.

When she first came from the north of Mexico, Monterrey, to India she was told many things by many people. Some were shocking others were interesting; she told herself she won’t be judgmental, but will be open to myriad experiences. She was mesmerized by India and is hoping to stay here long enough to understand the finer nuances of the culture.

Leyla is one of the few foreign models, who are gearing up for WIFW SS 14, and this professional badminton player is a lot more than just endless legs and light eyes. She speaks fluent English, Italian and Mexican breaking the myth that models are just ‘body beautiful’.

“I started modelling at the age of 15, my mom was the one who encouraged me, now at 23, I have seen the world, experienced diverse cultures, languages and cuisines, you can say that I have grown up a lot living away from my family, in a protected environment, and have learnt to stay focused on my career and not fall into the trap of daily partying,” she smiles.

Leyla has also dabbled in theatre and acting and is a major in international business studies, not something you would traditionally expect from a model, but she says times have changed. “Some of the models I have met are super intelligent, know their mind, take up modeling for fun, come from educated backgrounds, so it is not just about the glamour now,” she explains.

Enjoying her stay in India, which she feels culturally is quite similar to Mexico, Leyla has learnt to take criticism in her stride. Agents often tell models to shape up or ship out, so it gets tough to keep calm and do crazy hours, fit in fitness in between fittings, rehearsals and shows; but she “doesn’t take the criticism personally”, and is “brave enough to tackle the curveballs life throws in her direction”.

Interestingly, Leyla is a planner and thinks ahead as modelling, she knows has a shelf life, she wants to settle in Mexico where she has registered her export company. “After a few years I will go back home, start exporting our famous liquor Mezcal and avocado, after all I did study business. When will it come to my rescue?” she laughs.

If Leyla is thinking about exports, another foreign model Yoanna, 24, is happy being, well, just a model. From the beautiful city of La Victoria, Spain, this professional ballet dancer who perfected the art during her seven-year training, likes life under the spotlight. “I also started modelling at the age of 15 but then it was just a hobby to earn some pocket money, so I learnt everything about life not from books but personal experience. I have done shows in China, Spain and now I am excited about India as it is my first time here. I hope to take many riveting memories back home with me,” she concludes.

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