The instant someone mentions “supermodels”, one thinks of people like Bella Hadid, Gisele Bündchen, Naomi Campbell etc. Right? But did you know that some of the world’s hottest supermodels have been from India? Let’s take a look at these desi divas who made a name for themselves across the globe:
In 2003, Ujjwala Raut became the first Indian model to walk for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She began modelling at the age of 17 and went on to win Femina Look of the Year in 1996. She has walked the runways of Paris, Milan, London, and New York and has collaborated with the world’s most prestigious fashion houses. Raut has moved on to reality television now and likes to mentor upcoming models. She was a judge on India’s Next Top Model in 2015 and a mentor on MTV Supermodel of the Year in 2020.
Gurmit Kaur was thrown out of her college in Brussels because of severe dyslexia. She, however, did not let that mess with her confidence. Gurmit made her way to Paris and made her modelling debut with a Yves Saint Laurent runway show. Following that, she walked the runways for some of the most prominent fashion houses and graced the covers of renowned fashion magazines. YSL coined the nickname “Jezebel” for her. The ex-model then started her own jewellery design business. However, she has been missing in action for years now. Rumours suggest that Gurmit was struggling with dementia and even went missing from her house. As per a recent Diet Sabya update, she was found by her family and is safe now.
Shyamoli Verma was born in Pune and comes from a military family. She was the first Indian model to be chosen as the face of Lakme Cosmetics. Since then, she’s been dubbed the “Lakme girl.” She later relocated to Paris and worked with brands such as Pierre Cardin, YSL, Chanel, and others. She returned to Pune after her modelling career to work as a fashion choreographer. Even now, she works all over the world choreographing fashion shows.
Mehr Jesia was Femina Miss India in 1986 and also represented India at Miss Universe that year. She was a top Indian supermodel in the 1990s. She later married Arjun Rampal and has two daughters with him. After being married for 20 years, the couple parted ways. The ex-model is now one of Bollywood’s most popular event planners.
Femina Miss India 1992 and Miss Universe second runner-up, Madhu Sapre, was a former athlete from Nagpur. The model is best known for her infamous print advertisement for Tuff shoes, in which she posed naked with Milind Soman. They were both wearing only shoes, and a python was wrapped around them. The photoshoot was rather daring. She currently resides in Italy with her husband and daughter.
Sheetal Mallar was one of the first models with a dusky complexion and bouncy curls. In 1994, she was named Femina Look of the Year and later became the face of Maybelline Cosmetics. She was a finalist in the Elite Supermodel Contest in 1994 and has worked for Armani and Fendi. Mallar now works as a contemporary Indian photographer.
Nayanika Chatterjee, a dark-skinned girl, was yet another Indian model who defied all stereotypes. She was dubbed the “Indian Naomi Campbell.” She has worked with many renowned fashion magazines and is Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s favourite model. She currently runs a model grooming agency and her own skincare and fashion line, Indiya by Nayanika.
Diandra Soares was the first bald Indian model to walk the runway for McDowell’s. She was crowned Miss Bombay in 1995 and appeared in numerous international fashion shows. She voluntarily shaved her head, and her daring decision set her apart from the crowd. She has appeared on several reality television shows and is now a model mentor, fashion designer, and makeup artist. She runs the resort and loungewear label 2Di4.
Monikangana Dutta was the first Indian model to become a Victoria’s Secret angel in 2010. She has also worked with Vivienne Westwood, Mac Cosmetics, Dior, and Chloe. She was signed by IMG Models and was called an ‘exotic Indian beauty’ by the international press. She later pursued acting and was last seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish in 2010.
Modelling is truly an art, and only the strongest can master it. A round of applause for all the Indian supermodels!
Feature Image: Pinterest