Discovering the divas

Amrita Prasad
Monday, 23 October 2017

We chat up actress and VJ Anusha Dandekar who is mentoring the participants of India’s Next Top Model, season 3, on MTV

India’s Next Top Model (INTM), currently in its third season, airs every Saturday on MTV. With Anusha Dandekar and Neeraj Gaba as mentors, Milind Soman and Dabboo Ratnani as panelists, and Malaika Arora as the host and panelist, the show aims at giving the aspiring models a platform to bloom into top professionals and rule the fashion world. 

Anusha, who has been associated with the show since its beginning, talks about the challenges and what it takes to be a top model. “I can say this with full confidence that this will be our best season yet!” exclaims an excited Anusha. “This season is going to be our biggest season yet; the bar has been raised very high. Having Malaika and Milind on panel adds a lot of oomph to the show. Everything from the styles to the tasks, challenges and the girls in the model resort house — is incredible.” 

Dealing with the girls 
In the previous seasons, it was seen that Anusha and Gaba were often strict with the aspirants; but the duo also cheer up for them. “I am strict because I do not want them to waste their time or ours. I feel that they are not living up to their potential and can do much better. But when I am nice to them, I am really really proud. When you go on a journey with these girls and you see the massive transformation in them as result of our constant training, mentoring and guidance, I certainly feel like a proud parent. It feels as if we have done something right,” explains Anusha. 

Qualities that define a top model 
But what sets apart a top model from others? According to the Virrudh actress, “You have to have your uniqueness. There are hundreds of  beautiful women out there, but beauty will not take you everywhere. Obviously physical appearance — height and good looks are important. But you have to have something special about you. That doesn’t just stem from your looks, height or beauty; it stems from your personality,” quips Anusha.  

She says that the panellists are looking for traits like professionalism and a strong drive, apart from general qualities.
“The passion and dedication to go through every single challenge that we throw in front of them and the skill and talent to achieve everything that they are striving for, is of a great significance,” she adds. 

 A platform for all 
We have seen girls coming from different parts of the country. They are aspiring to be top models. Talking about this, Anusha says, “It is not just helping that one girl coming on the show, but it is helping a huge number of girls all over the country, including those living in small towns. We see these girls transform into more confident women. They go back to their hometown and become an inspiration to hundreds of other girls like them. That has been the spirit of MTV.”  

Bonding with Malaika and Milind
The show was earlier hosted by Lisa Haydon who was also one of the panelists on the show. This year, actress Malaika will be seen in her place. Another cherry on top is supermodel and actor Milind Soman’s presence in the panel. “I am so happy to have them join us. Malaika has been an MTV face for so long and a youth icon too. I am so excited that I am getting to share the screen space with her. When I first started my MTV moment, it was modelling for a show called Style Check which was hosted by her. I think she is the utmost professional woman I have ever worked with. She is very encouraging.”

Commenting on Milind, she giggles and says, “All the girls are speechless when they see him! I feel these girls are lucky to have Milind as one of the panelists because he has been the topmost supermodel of our country. Both Malaika and Milind are bringing a lot of fun and energy to the show.” 

Evolution of Fashion 
“I think India is one of the most fashionable countries in the world; we are just undermined,” believes Anusha. “India has limited resources when compared to other nations. The trends, brands reach us quite late. But we are capable of doing affordable fashion. We make bright loud colours look awesome even in bright sunlight. Our fashion weeks are so explosive, our designers are crazily creative. We have tricky skin colours to work with, harsh climates, different mixture of features and yet we manage to pull off fashion quite effortlessly,” she says.

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