After gruelling audition sessions, a panel of judges comprising singer-actress, Sophie Choudry; ace fashion designer, Shane Peacock; fashion choreographer and show director, Anu Ahuja; vice-president and head fashion, IMG Reliance, Jaspreet Chandok; and head of innovations, Lakmé, Ashwath Swaminathan have shortlisted six models to make their debut at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2018. This fashion event has introduced supermodels like Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif and Yana Gupta, among others, to the world. Now, let’s meet the new batch of débutantes who are full of verve and excitement:
Dechka Asthakumar’s journey in the modelling industry began when she auditioned for Elite Model Look and got selected as a finalist at the model hunt last year. There has been no looking back ever since. “I love travelling and meeting new people. This enables me to cherish and fully experience every new project that comes along,” says the basketball player from Bengaluru who has completed her graduation with subjects like Chemistry, Botany and Zoology.
She talks about the high level of competition at LFW. “This time too, girls from all over the world were present at the audition. It was truly an amazing experience to walk in front of such an esteemed panel of judges. This experience has enabled me to be confident, which is the most important characteristic to be a successful ramp model,” she says, adding that she adores Dayana Erappa and Carol Gracias for the way they’ve built their careers.
“I am extremely excited because it’s my first time on the runway for such fabulous designers. It’s a dream come true. I moved to Mumbai a few weeks ago and the exposure that LFW is known to provide is the perfect opportunity and platform to take my career to the next level,” she says. “I hope to become an international model someday and grace runways in New York and Milan, amongst others,” she says.
Rewati Chetri from Haflong, Assam, was ticking a box off her bucket list when she auditioned at LFW. “When you try something new, you’re always anxious and nervous about it. But when you look back, you realise that it all worked out well because you kept calm and trusted yourself. That is exactly what I did at the LFW audition,”she says.
She talks about how she happened to pursue modelling by chance. “It was the result of an unexpected opportunity. But when I look back I am thrilled to have taken it up. I am looking forward to all the experiences that the industry has to offer. Life isn’t easy and you have to work hard to make your dreams come true,”says Chetri, a graduate who is currently pursuing a law degree in Guwahati.
She believes in individuality, and how each model should have a spark of their own. “I am looking forward to soaking myself in all the news that I am soon going to be surrounded by. Eminent designers, experienced models, industry veterans — there is so much to learn and I cannot wait for this journey to begin,” says Chetri, adding, “The plan is to continue growing and to always cherish every achievement no matter how small.”
Modelling and travelling — Mariana Falaschi is passionate about both. The model, who is settled in Pescolanciano, Italy, is ensuring that she lives her life to the fullest by pursuing modelling as a profession while travelling the world. “In fact, I was most excited about pursuing modelling in India for the country has given the world some great international models like Smitha Lasrado,” she says.
Introducing herself, she says, “I am half Italian-half Brazilian. I was a medical student and a practising veterinary and acupuncture specialist. However, I decided to pursue my dream full time and I am a model now. I keep fit by practising yoga and meditation.”
Though Falaschi went for the audition with no expectations, she gave her best shot. “I let myself free and that is probably what the judges loved and shortlisted me. When I walked in front of the jury, I realised, it is not winning or losing that was important in that moment as much as giving my best shot,” she says, adding how she believes this break is going to be an enriching experience for her.
She looks up to Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen. “Not only because she is one of the greatest supermodels of all times, but mostly because she is an exceptional human being. She is engaged in causes to protect the Earth and environment and spreads light and love,. She is always encouraging people to do their best and to be better. She inspires me to be a better person,” says Falaschi, who plans to continue travelling and working as a model. “I am staying in India for a few more months to work, then I will go on to explore other countries as a model,” she says.
Born and brought up in Mumbai, Sharvi Bhujbal studied at Christ Church School and got a Bachelor of Arts from Jai Hind College.
“I have been an athlete since childhood and sports has been an integral part of my life. The sportsmanship and focus that comes with being an athlete is what has brought discipline in my life. Back in the day, when I would sprint, I needed to focus, and that kind of focus helped me on the ramp as well,” shares Bhujbal, who is thrilled to work with the biggest names in the fashion industry as she makes her debut on the LFW ramp this season.
Deepika Padukone is her role model. “Just like her, I am pursuing modelling after being an athlete. She came into the industry without any godfather and LFW was her first big break too. I see myself following in her footsteps,” she says, adding that she is looking forward to being mentored by the likes of Anu Ahuja and Lubna Adam.
Bhujbal claims that she has always been complimented for being a natural on the ramp. “Debates and cultural competitions in school helped me overcome stage fright and gave me the confidence to be a performer. Walking the ramp was my ultimate goal,” she says.
Recalling her audition, she says, “It was a magical day. Being among the Top 17 from a pool of over 100 girls who were present on ground was in itself a win for me. I was over the moon when they told me that I made it through the final round as well! The experience was extremely fulfilling as it taught me to be consistent and stay focussed on what I believe.”
Whenever Priti Jana watched fashion shows on TV as a kid, she would mimic the way the models walked. Since then she knew she wanted to be a model. “I come from the land of sweets and the sweetest language in the country — Kolkata. I went to an all-girls’ school, Sharada Ashram, where I loved wearing sarees, which was the uniform, and attended classes outdoors under the open sky. But when I went to college, I had a big cultural shock. I was constantly sitting in classrooms for lectures which got boring, so I took up Rabindra Sangeet which piqued my interest,” says the model who got rejected in LFW audition last year. But she persevered.
“That rejection got me down initially but then I wanted to take it up as a challenge to keep trying. Finally, hard work and patience paid off as it was exciting to see girls from different cities, different cultures and different backgrounds to be a part of such a diverse and talented group,” she says, adding that her goal in life is to walk the ramp for some of the world-class designers, just like her role model Nayanika Chatterjee. “Getting selected for LFW was one of my key goals in life which will give me the chance to walk the runway for well known and key upcoming designers, and hope to get opportunities to walk the runway in the global fashion market,” she says.
Hailing from Hyderabad, Rishitha Koruturu is a fourth year student of Mechanical Engineering at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University. She remembers that she did a few modelling assignments to oblige her friends, but then she started enjoying walking on the ramp. Says she, “I began enjoying my time as a model and realised that I wanted to turn my passion into a career option. My passion and academics do not meet midway in any sense and I love that I have made such eclectic choices and have learnt how to focus on the two equally as much. This was my first ever formal audition and it was grand. The auditioning process taught me a lot, especially to believe in myself and give my hundred per cent without thinking about the outcome.”
To be shortlisted as one of the fresh faces to be walking the ramp at LFW this season is a big achievement for Koruturu. She says that she is looking forward to learning something or the other from everyone she will meet during the fashion event. “I’ve followed the journey of many models who started their careers with Lakmé Fashion Week. The most common quality I observed in them was that they worked hard to ensure that they were comfortable in their own skin. I look forward to staying true to my passion and focus towards being a confident face on the ramp,” says she, adding that she plans to build a strong modelling career taking one step at a time.