Germany-born Indian model Sheela Tiruchi talks about the most struggling days of her career and tells us why the profession deserves it due.
Photograph: Uday Kuckian/Rediff.com
Height: 5 ft 11 in
Weight: 59 kg
The big break
My first ever show as a model was for Vikram Phadnis in the year 2011.
Between 2012 and 2013, I did three seasons for Lakme.
I worked with Satya Paul, Tarun Tahiliani, Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra.
Since I am a dancer, I enjoyed working with Babita Malkani and Pria Kataria Puri -- their garments are dramatic and fun.
Towards the end of 2013 I had returned to Germany to be with my family.
That's when I realised that 'out of sight is out of mind'.
I was no longer getting any updates or being called for any shows.
I wanted to come back but I had to audition again, like a newcomer. This time, the competition was tougher -- the models were slimmer, taller and confident.
Last year, I auditioned for Lakme again. I had worked harder than ever and became one of the finalists.
Despite my experience, this season, I had to audition again.
Also because I don't live in India throughout the year, it is becoming extremely challenging to get noticed and find work.
There's a market rate for all models -- some of the younger models are willing to work for free, so then established models are forced to give discounts.
Nowadays you have to compete with international models too.
Unless you have a good rapport with designers, agencies prefer hiring younger models. There is no dearth of models to work in India -- the supply exceeds the demand, hence the competition.
No one can disregard the importance and influence a model has on the popularity and sale of a garment.
A model has the huge responsibility of promoting a new look, garment and even start a trend.
If a model doesn't carry off a garment, the critics and audience will blame the model not the garment.
So, I feel we are very crucial to the fashion industry.
Health and beauty tips
Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
I am a professional dancer and I do salsa for three days a week. If there is an audition or show coming up, I start preparing at least a month in advance.
I avoid oily food and raw veggies. I have realised that raw veggies are the cause of most viral and skin problems.
Even when I stay at hotels, I try and avoid restaurant food as much as possible. If you have restaurant food every day you will start bloating.
I prefer steamed or grilled veggies.
I avoid rice, chapatis and sweets.
I maintain a protein-rich diet -- more milk, curd and eggs. It also helps me maintain my skin.
Tips for aspiring models
Health and beauty tips
If you are new to the profession and have no mentors to guide you, it is very important that you know what you want to do -- prints, commercials, or ramp events.
Accordingly look for an agency that specialises in that and sign up with them.
Work with an agency for a year and build your network. By the end of the year, you can decide whether you want to work with an agency or be an independent professional.
Message for readers
Not every model is dumb. Modelling is a respectable profession, just like any other.
I respect your career; I expect you to respect mine.
Don't underestimate my job or talent.
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