Weapons of mass distraction

They are fresh. And they are blossoming. If one is not getting into a pair of cups from Victoria’s Secrets to showcase the lingerie leader, another is learning all the tricks of the trade to vie for the Femina Miss India crown. If one is gung ho about yoga and meditation, the other is preparing to relocate to Mumbai and live out of a suitcase. Another is putting on weight, if only to make her debut in films.

But they are all walking showcases of the fashion world: looking pretty as daffodils and burning the ramp with their confidence and body language. We showcase six such girls who have what it takes to reach for the stars.

KSENIA SAIFUTDINOVA
21 years, 6 feet, 35-24.5-35

She could well be the next Bond girl. She’s got the height and a body to match. And topping it all are her light green eyes that instantly commune with your soul. Maybe it’s her degree in psychology. Maybe it’s her versatility: she swims, travels, listens to classical music and hip hop, watches horror films, indulges in scuba diving, loves to cook Italian and Sri Lankan food, and collects seashells whenever, wherever. She might be extremely reserved, but that doesn’t take away her ability to understand people. Says fashion photographer Waseem Khan: “Apart from her obvious assets, Ksenia’s got sensitivity. She understands lighting and knows when to smile. She has the potential of becoming another Naomi Campbell with her tremendous stage presence.”

Ksenia’s been modelling since the age of 14 and has quite a few titles to boot: Ms Millennium 2000 in Bishkek, Ms Model of the World 2001 in Istanbul, Ms Tourism of Kazakhstan in 2001 and Ms Dream Girl 2002 in Moscow. And she’s done print campaigns for Prada and Victoria’s Secrets. And her future plans? To entrench herself in professional modelling and later open an Italian restaurant. And her biggest turn on? ‘Sushi and Brendan Fraser.’

ANUSHKA SHARMA
16 years, 5.8 ½ feet, 34-26-34

She’s one of the hottest girls on the circuit, according to fashion impresario Prasad Bidapa. Says he: “She’s got a good height and all the other raw materials needed to make her presence, like her face and well proportioned body.” Her fitness secret: drinking three litres of water every day, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and keeping herself in good humour playing basketball and working out at the gym in Bangalore Club. “I am really friendly and get along with just about everyone,” she says. “But sometimes, I talk too much.”

She’s turned on by momos and the Hyderabad biriyani fresh off her mom’s kitchen, clothes, shoes and books. What about guys? “I like guys with baggy pants and spiked hair,” she coos. “But my dream date would be Bryan Adams.”
Anushka has done print campaigns for Airtel and Nike and is a student of Prasad Bidapa. When she is not yak-yakking on the phone (sometimes for hours) and reading horror stories, she’s planning for her future (‘I will do my master’s in communication and continue to model’).

RITUPARNA MAJUMDER
22 years, 5.8 feet, 33-25-34

Her academic qualifications don’t do justice to what she’s been doing. A diploma holder in legal literacy from the National Law School, she’s also done a certificate course in yoga and meditation and is currently doing her master’s in sociology. But her milestones are all to do with modelling. She’s done print (Flying Machine, Byford, Duroflex, Pathi Silks) and TV commercials (Margo, Anne French, VNM Jewellers) and walked the ramp for MS Sreedhar and Rahul Dev Shetty. Music and honesty turn her on. Liars and short-tempered people put her off. What’s keeping her in good humour is her fitness routine: 45 minutes of yoga in the morning and 20 minutes of dance in the evening and working out at the gym three times a week. “Will power is my greatest asset,” she says. “But I am also short-tempered.” Choreographer MS Sreedhar, however has a different take: “She’s got a well-maintained and toned figure that’s right for the ramp and she’s got the face to launch products. Only, she needs to improve on her body language, which will come with experience.”

Buoyed by the goodwill, Rituparna plans on moving to Mumbai and competing in the Femina Miss India contest later this year. And the road ahead? Says she: “I will do something related to fashion.”

PRASHANTI GANESH
19 years, 5.8 feet, 34-26-35

With her light-brown eyes and jet-black hair, Prashanti is to the camera born. Having done over 20 ramp shows and modelled for Flying Machine jeans and designer Deepika Govind, she’s also chasing her bachelor’s in commerce. Right now, she’s putting on weight to act in a Tamil film that demands ‘voluptuous’ bodies and ‘thunder thighs’. So she has stopped going to Chisel to work off the flab. And this, says her mentor MS Sreedhar, is not good for modelling. “She’s very good on the ramp, has the style and attitude needed for it, but she needs to tone down her body.”

When she’s not channel surfing and reading any book she can lay her hands on, Prashanti gets turned on by nature. “My greatest plus point is my confidence. I believe in myself,” she says. “But I hate it when someone rules over me.”

But there is someone ruling her fantasies. Says she: “Salman Khan’s my ideal dream date.”

BINDIYA AHLUWALIA
23 years, 5.7 feet, 34-28-36

Print campaigns for Kumaran Silks, Head Silver t-shirts and Ghanasingh Jewellers and over 40 ramp shows to her name, Bindiya has come of age. “My strongest trait is making friends quickly,” she says. “But I am very emotional and can get upset very fast.”

Says fashion coordinator Gautham Pavate: “Her biggest strength is her presence, be it on camera or on stage. She’s very attentive, understands the moods of the sequences and photo shoots.”

With reddish brown hair and dark brown eyes, this graduate in economics, sociology and political science trips on pubs and discotheques. Her way of killing time is listening to ghazals sung by Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas, and Ghulam Ali, and working on the treadmill for over two hours every day. And her mission statement? “Try to get into music videos… my dream is to work for Adnan Sami,” she says. “Eventually, I might become a model coordinator.”

LAILA VAZIRALLI
18 years, 5.7 feet, 32-26-34

Her heart beats for jazz. She trips on ballet and salsa, and loves to create works of art in oil and water colours. “Performing jazz gives you the strength, ballet makes your toes strong and salsa energises your hips,” says the girl with coffee-brown eyes. “I have finished my 12th standard and am now doing a fashion designing at Wigan & Leigh.”

She may get jittery while driving, but on stage, she’s the picture of confidence. Says mentor MS Sreedhar: “She’s trendy and emotes very well, but she needs to improve on her catwalk.” No wonder, she’s done over 60 ramp shows, and print campaigns for Ganjam and Café Coffee Day. Not to mention, TV commercials for Milk Bikis and Chandrika soap.

Being at a beach, wacky guys and those who dance well excite Laila as much as the smell of rain. “Hypocrites and guys with coloured hair turn me off,” she quips. Not that she’s not without her failings. “I am lazy and bad at decision-making,” she confesses. “My future plans keep changing. Right now, I am thinking of becoming a choreographer after a short-term course abroad and maybe open a jazz bar in Goa with my dad and settle down there.”

(Published in City Reporter, 2003)