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She’s a model on match point
Danielle Jones strikes a pose in an outfit by Chaos, a label by Neema Lath. Picture by Rashbehari Das

She’s 15. She’s a teen tennis champ. She’s busy gearing up for -level exams. And now Danielle Jones is the latest face on the city’s modelling circuit. GoodLife gets up close and personal with the “simple girl” (that’s what the Calcutta International School student likes to call herself).

Her success mantra is simple too — she “never really plans” life. Tennis began like that too — when she was 10 — watching children play in CC&FC while she walked with dad, Ronald. That’s where the first forehand of interest flew.

Intrigued and excited, she picked up the racket, first to train at South Club, then a two-month stint in Cosmopolitan Club. A long American holiday and a longer inertia of rest followed and only after eight months did Danielle begin training again at CC&FC, with coach Krishanu De. That was a “life-changing opportunity”, and she was all of 11.

Danielle has been hitting the line ever since. The same year saw her win the Junior Open Tennis Tournament organised by the Indian Tennis Academy and she also went on to represent Bengal at the inter-state meet in Gurgaon.

She has also been a regular on the Nike Junior Tour, arranged by Mahesh Bhupathi at the Bhupathi Tennis Village in Bangalore.

Danielle represented India in 2005 and won the International Tennis Federation championship. And with back-to-back victories, the New Year has been great so far too, the latest trophies on her shelf being the All India Championship Series, (under-18 singles and doubles) and Talent Series (under-16, single and doubles).

This January has brought with it another biggie — Danielle’s fashion shoot for designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh for GoodLife, years after her baby modelling days for Sreeleathers and ITC. “Kiran asked mom (beauty expert Bridgette Jones) if I could shoot her bridal collection. It’s strange getting into a lehnga after living in track pants and shorts,” smiles Danielle, a self-confessed tomboy.

“Mummy is forcing me into the girlie scene. I am also growing my hair,” she blushes, tossing her sun-bleached tresses, thanks to hours of tennis training. “Modelling will be by the side, just to unwind; school and tennis will always be priority,” says Danielle, who also happens to be quite good at basketball, badminton, table tennis, running and swimming. (She broke her school record in breaststroke and freestyle in 2001.)

For this PYT (pretty young thing), boys can wait. Matching up to the standards of this 5ft-9-inch girl is a tall order — he must have a “great dress sense, be non-dumb, not-too-serious and a mix of everything”.

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