October 3, 2013 Asmita Aggarwal

Winds of Change

Three veteran models reveal that it is not just about looks but also confidence, commitment and hard work that will make you a winner in this field

They have survived the test of time, withstood the demanding needs of the changing fashion industry and have not succumbed to the overpowering glamour. Three ramp scorchers reveal that it is just not about looking good, it is also about ensuring that your head is firmly screwed on your shoulders if you want to make it big in modeling.

Alesia Raut has been walking the ramp since 1999 and she does admit that it has made her from a very shy girl in school to a little bit of an extrovert now. “I’ve become better with age, I feel better, look better and can connect with people and the environment in a much more meaningful way,” she confesses.

Alesia also remembers the time when she came back from Russia after suffering domestic violence, with a young son and the industry welcomed her with open arms. “Living in Mumbai it is difficult with a small child, but I couldn’t have done it without the unfailing support of my parents. My son is seven now and I am able to strike a tough work-life balance,” she admits.

The world of modeling has undergone a metamorphosis of sorts in the last 13 years since Alesia began, encouraged by her mother to take it up. “Now there are so many fashion weeks, we don’t have to wait for solo shows throughout the year, the payment has improved too. But on the flip side most lucrative endorsements are now going to film stars and sportspersons so in many ways they have taken over our portfolio,” she adds.

Ten years ago when Indrani Dasgupta decided to become a model at the age of 18, she knew that she could only survive the onslaught of time, if she found a niche. “I was keen on being just a model, there were no distractions of using this as a way to get into Bollywood,” she smiles.
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Treating modeling as any other serious profession, Indrani admits that unlike now where agencies are bringing in many foreign models, back then there had no such avenues. “It is a very committed job, and with fashion shows in even small towns which I feel is more about entertainment less about style, for us it is great, but I also feel it has diluted the equity of the main fashion weeks,” she admits.

Indrani confesses she is still enjoying what she is doing, so she doesn’t have a Plan B, even though modeling, she knows has a shelf life. “When I began my career cinema was dominated by masala films, so I knew I would never fit in. But now things have changed so if I do get an offbeat film which is realistic I will go down that road,” she smiles.

If Indrani is thinking about films, Candice Pinto who has been modeling for 11 years says that music is her inner calling. And her alternate plan involves learning how to compose and arrange music. “I learnt animation, before I joined modeling, so I did have my educational qualifications in place. But now I have observed girls who join this profession are really young, so they are also unequipped to handle the pressures and some crumble,” she adds.

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For Candice, it was less about money and partying and more about hoping to find a toehold when she started and admits that back then getting into a fashion week was tough for her as compared to now when younger girls have agencies backing them. “But the difference is that we were a lot more serious about sustainability, the younger lot is quite obsessed with the glitz. Modelling involves hard work, you have to put your mind, body and soul in it to succeed,” she says.

Her advice to greenhorns would be to complete their education, not get carried away and to invest your earnings well for the future. “In the end it is about brains over brawn,” she concludes.

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