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15 models who are glamming up Bollywood

Last updated on: April 23, 2014 22:08 IST

Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/

They’ve been familiar faces on the runways and in television/print commercial world. Now, these young women are making waves in the cinemas. Meet the fashion industry’s hottest exports to Bollywood.

Katrina Kaif, Bipasha Basu and Deepika Padukone have in the recent past broken the misconception that models couldn’t act.

Not only have these women entered Bollywood but are today amongst the topmost actresses in the business.

So here we have it -- some more hotties who have or are making the transition from the runway to the big screen.

Kriti Sanon

After having appeared in television commercials and walked the runway for top designers at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, and acted alongside Mahesh Babu in the Telugu film 1: Nenokkadine.

She is now set to star alongside Tiger Shroff in Heropanti.

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Diana Penty

Image: Diana Penty in a Monapali outfit at the Wills India Fashion Week 2006
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/

When she sent her pictures to Elite modelling agency, little did Diana Penty know she’d taken her first step on the road to stardom!

Not very excited with the idea of giving up her education for a career in modelling, Diana continued working only part time as a fashion model.

Soon she was walking for the biggest names in the business and was appearing for print campaigns for some of the most prominent brands.

Predictably, film offers followed too.

She turned down Imitaz Ali’s Rockstar (which went to Nargis Fakhri) but took up Homi Adajania’s Cocktail, which turned out to be one of biggest commercial successes of that year.

Pity that we’ve hardly seen her after that! :-(

Have you?

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Lisa Haydon

Image: Lisa Haydon
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

Oh what do we say about Ms Endless Legs that hasn’t already been said?

Fashion industry’s latest ‘it’ girl is also now Bollywood’s favourite with her smashing role in Queen.

We LOVED Lisa Haydon in Queen. Didn’t you?

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Saiyami Kher

Image: Saiyami Kher
Photographs: Atul Kasbekar/Kingfisher Calendar 2012

Talking of endless legs, yet another hotstepper, Saiyami Kher is set to make her debut in Bollywood.

The former Kingfisher model (see more pictures here) is the leading lady in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s upcoming film Mirza Sahibaan.

Incidentally, Kher has an illustrious modelling/Bollywood lineage.

She is the niece of actress Tanvi Azmi and the granddaughter of yesteryear actress Usha Kiran.

Her mother Uttara Mhatre Kher was a fashion and commercial model too and has represented India at the Miss Asia Pacific Pageant and the Miss World pageant in 1982 pageant.

Much like Kirti Sanon, Saiyami has also acted in a Telugu film -- Rey with Ram Charan's nephew Sai Dharam.

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Anushka Sharma

Image: Anushka Sharma at Lakme Fashion Week 2007
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/

She made her modelling debut at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2007 when she was only 19.

Before long, Anushka Sharma was spotted by Yash Raj Films and had made her debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.

After a few bumps here and there, Anushka has finally managed to register her presence in Bollywood and is counted among the top ten heroines in the business.

Not bad huh?

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Sarah Jane Dias

Image: Sarah Jane Dias
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/

She’s probably one of the few women in this list who’s done it all -- from being a VJ to a fashion model, to starring in a music video and acting in a handful of films.

Over and above all of this, Sarah Jane Dias also won the Femina Miss India in 2007 and represented the country at the Miss World pageant.

Since then, she’s acted in a Tamil film (Theeradha Vilaiyattu Pillai), a Telugu film (Panjaa) and a few Hindi movies like Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum and the recently released O Teri.

And while O Teri didn’t exactly get the kind of response she’d hoped for, we’re counting on seeing her again on the big screen? Aren’t you?

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Puja Gupta

Image: Puja Gupta
Photographs: Courtesy

Starting out as a model and going on to win Miss India Universe, Puja Gupta represented India at Miss Universe 2007 and finished ninth.

As with many of her predecessors, Gupta too joined Bollywood and made her debut with F.A.L.T.U. After a couple of years of lull, made a comeback of sorts last year with two films -- Go Goa Gone and Shortcut Romeo.

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Tena Desae

Image: Tena Desae
Photographs: Atul Kasbekar for Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar 2012

Tena Desae shot to fame with the reality TV show Get Gorgeous, which incidentally she didn’t win.

After signing a contract with Elite Modelling agency that was the sponsor of the show, Desae went on to be featured in over a 100 commercials.

She also appeared in the 2012 edition of the Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar.

While her acting debut came in the blink-and-you-missed-it Hindi movie Yeh Faasley, Desae’s big role was in the British film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Desae will also star in the movie’s upcoming sequel.

Also read: Pix: Getting to know model Tina Desai

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Esha Gupta

Image: Esha Gupta
Photographs: Courtesy Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar 2010

Esha Gupta is yet another Miss India to pursue a career in Bollywood.

Passing up an opportunity to study law at NewcastleUniversity, Gupta chose to participate in the Femina Miss India Pageant where she finished third.

She went on to represent the country at the Miss International pageant, where she wasn’t placed.

Gupta returned, was featured in the 2010 edition of the Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar and made a plash in Bollywood bagging a three-film contract with filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.

Under Bhatt’s Vishesh Films banner, she has so far starred in Jannat 2 and Vikram Bhatt's Raaz 3D besides having played a role in Prakash Jha’s Chakravyuh.

She has at least two other films lined up -- Humshakals, a Vashu Bhagnani film starring Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Bipasha Basu among others and the sequel to the hit comedy film No Entry.

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Parvathy Omanakuttan

Image: Parvathy Omanakuttan, Miss India 2008

Probably the closest India got to the Miss World crown in the recent past was with Parvathy Omanakuttan who ended as the first runner-up in the 2008 Miss World pageant.

On returning, the Kerala born model laid her eyes on Bollywood and made her debut with United Six a film that sank faster than you could say ‘Titanic’!

Parvathy made her Tamil debut with Billa II and followed it up with a box office dud -- KQ in Malayalam.

Not the one to give up, she will now star in Pizza, a remake of the eponymous 2012 Tamil film to be produced by Bejoy Nambiar and UTV.

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Manasvi Mamgai

Image: Manasvi Mamgai
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/

She is a familiar face at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi and the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai but Manasvi Mamgai will probably best be remembered for having won the Femina Miss India in 2010.

Mamgai has shot campaigns for Fair and Lovely and has walked the ramp for almost every big Indian fashion designer.

Having done it all in modelling, the former Miss India has now set her eyes on Bollywood.

She is now set to star opposite Ajay Devgn in the director Prabhudheva’s next.

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Izabelle Leite

Image: Izabelle Leite
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

She’s modelled for Lakme and Big Bazaar among other brands and has also made her debut in Bollywood last year.

Sixteen may have been critically panned and failed to make money for its producers at the box office but that hasn’t stopped Brazilian model Izabelle Leite from giving up.

Her next release is Purani Jeans a coming of age drama however shows much more promise and is set to release on May 1.

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Vaani Kapoor

Image: Vaani Kapoor
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

The girl left at the altar in Shuddh Desi Romance used to be in the hospitality business before she was signed up by Elite Model Management.

Much like her YRF colleague, she too had done several brand endorsements before being spotted by the production house.

Before she knew it, Vaani Kapoor was signed on and appeared in YRF’s Shuddh Desi Romance and will be seen in Aaha Kalyanam, a remake of Band Baaja Baraat.

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Daisy Shah

Image: Daisy Shah
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

She may not have had as glamorous modelling assignments as some of the other women in this list but Daisy Shah did start out as a model -- trying her luck at a local beauty contest, Miss Dombivali.

Shah has since quietly and patiently climbed the pecking order, first as an extra in a Sunny Deol film, then as an assistant to choreographer Ganesh Acharya and then taking up small modelling assignments on the side.

She was then offered a Telugu film, which never released and Kannada one that did.

About half a dozen movies later came the dream project -- a film with the superstar Salman Khan himself.

Perhaps it was the lukewarm response to Jai Ho, perhaps it wasn’t but the young actress has headed back south where her Kannada film Akramana (in 2D and 3D) is up for release later this year.

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Sonali Raut

Image: Sonali Raut
Photographs: Courtesy Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar

And we wind up with Sonali Raut who’s walked the runway at Lakme Fashion Week and is better known as model Alesia Raut’s sister there.

She’s also appeared in the 2010 edition of the Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar.

But Sonali seems to be coming out of her sister’s shadows as she prepares herself for her first film -- Himesh Reshammiya’s Xpose, in which she is believed to have recreated the iconic wet sari scene from Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

Also see: Meet supermodel Ujjawala Raut's sister, Sonali