March 19, 2020 Asmita Aggarwal

Dusty Town, Big Dreams

Modelling is witnessing a chrysalis of sorts with small-town girls becoming coveted faces on the catwalk. One such tale is of Pragya Bais, a lawyer…

By Asmita Aggarwal

She grew up in a small town—Singrauli, in Madhya Pradesh, in a joint family, she had five siblings and her dad used to also support his brother’s family as her uncle refused to work. Such challenging circumstances kind of polished the rough diamond— Pragya Bais. “It was hard for my father, but he did all this without ever complaining. I had two pairs of clothes one for home and one for when we went out, which was seldom. We travelled in general compartment and mom would make us rotis which would dip in tea and enjoy, on our train journeys,” she smiles.

So today when Pragya made it to the list of models to walk for LMIFW and took a flight to get to the city, she remembered those humble days with family. “I used to watch fashion TV when I was young, that was my only knowledge of fashion and no one in my home is even remotely connected to this field. In fact, they don’t even consider it a profession worth talking about. My dad always told me not to join, as models he felt are not respected. So today when he sees me do well, he talks about my success to our relatives. I am happy to see him change his view of what women are perceived to be like in fashion,” she laughs.

Pushed to studying law, Pragya completed her degree from Pune University, (also she was committed to help people in dire straits), but her heart was set on modelling so without telling her parents or asking them for any financial help she would go for auditions. “I was keen on constitutional law as that really connects you to the grassroots. But life under the spotlight fascinated me. To earn money, I joined a company and worked as a customer assistant for Rs 18,000 a month that would help me join a gym, buy clothes and pay for travel,” she adds.

However, life kind of metamorphosised, and from an introvert, who had no self-confidence and could never face anyone, fashion instilled in her the will to succeed and chase her dreams. “Now to be a model it is not about just ‘beauty’, you need individuality. And I hope to also do theatre as acting interests me and I am saving up for it. With family acceptance things are now easier,” she admits.

In the future, Pragya hopes to start her own business as she has been smitten by certain aspects of designing, and maybe later would like to pursue it. “I think what has brought me here in life is my optimism and never-say-die attitude. I tried many times for India Fashion Week, but I never made it, however, it didn’t dim my enthusiasm. Unlike many other girls who were crying and complaining when they didn’t get selected, I took it positively and came back next year, with a better version of myself,” she concludes.

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