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Kyra dares to bare

2013 has started on a high and hot note for you!

Yes! (Laughs) Super-high and super-hot. I am where I am today because I deserve it. No one can tell me that I don’t deserve it. I have struggled and I am enjoying my success. I think I have learnt, worked hard and I am exactly where I should be.

How did the Kingfisher calendar happen?

Well, I actually went in for a test shoot at Atul’s (Kasbekar, photographer who shoots the calendar) studio and I got a call that I was selected and that we would be shooting in South Africa for two weeks. It was as simple as that! We shot around November.

Were you in your best shape for a swimsuit calendar?

(Laughs) I just took it as any other assignment. I am very fitness conscious, but I think I have become more conscious after signing for this calendar. I realised that I won’t just be wearing a bikini and walking on the beach. There’s actually going to be cameras focusing on me; I have to look my best. So yes, I trained and I was into hardcore fitness.

What does training to get ready for a bikini shoot entail?

I got a personal trainer. Before that, I used to train on my own. My diet became stricter. I was eating a lot of proteins — shakes and supplements… a lot of healthy food, avoiding salt… basic stuff but being religious about it. I never used to eat after 8pm and, definitely, exercise was the main part. I am continuing with my schedule. It’s given me the inspiration of what I can look like. Now I don’t want to stop!

There are three simple things that most people neglect — moderate exercise, a balanced diet and plenty of sleep. You just have to maintain these three. Even if you are not a hardcore fitness addict, if you just warm up, your heart’s batteries get charged. Do not crash-diet. Atul, in fact, warned us during the shoot that he did not want anorexic girls or girls fainting on the sets.

A sensuous model has to be curvaceous… curves at the right places.

One hears all kinds of stories from bikini shoots… about people surviving only on fruits.

(Smiles) You know what, we survived on good food and we survived on a good quantity of the good food. That is important. If we had to eat apples, we ate two instead of one. We ate to fill our stomachs and not starve.

Did you rigorously train in between the shoot?

In between shoots there is no time. There is a morning call time. Most of the hard work and preparation has to happen before the shoot starts. Once you are there, you are just maintaining it. While shooting too, you maintain it… a jog every day at the hotel gym maybe. That’s it. You don’t want to look tired. We were training till the last day before we took the flight to South Africa. I used to work out five times a week earlier and now I work out thrice a week. I have already achieved a certain shape and now I am just maintaining it. Now it is a little easier for me compared to what it was while I was preparing to shoot.

What tips did Atul Kasbekar give you?

I was actually very nervous because this was the first time I ever shot in a bikini. Ever! I never considered myself to be a swimsuit model. I did take tips from Atul, but it was mostly on the shot perspective. He would tell me how to place the body, how to stand, how to arch your body to make it look longer. The most important thing that Atul told us during the shoot was — ‘You are already sexy. Don’t even try to look sexy! Just be yourself, natural and charming. That’s what works.’

How did you battle your inhibitions, if any?

It happens to any girl, whatever they do for the first time. So for me also, just because I hadn’t experienced it, I was a little nervous. But the moment I was there, had my hair and make-up done, slipped into the stylish swimsuits and stood in front of the camera, all my inhibitions just flew away. Then I started having fun. I realised everybody was so professional… looking at you and complimenting you… you forget about all the other negatives.

The toughest take: The Imbali shower shot

What was the toughest shot?

Atul wanted me to shoot under this cold shower in the middle of Imbali (Kruger National Park) and it was freezing! It was already tough to come out in a swimsuit and on top of that, I was put under a cold shower. The shot was just not coming right because of the light and I think I was under the shower for almost an hour! People would come running to me with towels and hot chocolate to keep me warm. I tried not to show it and I pulled it off!

What’s the one thing that always plays on your mind during a bikini shoot?

That’s one tip that I can give all girls — don’t be conscious of your body. That shows on your face. The most important thing is your face. As long as your expression is right, your pictures will come out right. The moment you start worrying about everything else… like, ‘Oh my god! Is my stomach okay?’, your picture doesn’t come out nice.

What did you do after it was wraps?

We had a lovely time. We went for a safari and I had crocodile meat! It’s really bad!

Where do you go from here?

To the right places! I have a great line-up of work coming up. I am also writing songs. Music is my passion. I am hoping this is my year!

Why Debi became Kyra!

“Changing names is quite a common thing in the industry. I just hope it is lucky for me! There is no reason as such.... My mother chose the name. Kyra means ‘the light of God’ in Egyptian, derived from the sun god Ra. In Greek, it means ‘lady’.”

Kyra’s bikini shoot tips

1 To get in the right shape for a bikini shoot, do what makes you happy. If you love swimming, swim. Do yoga if you like it. Lots of squats is really good.

2 Not just your body, also pay attention to your hair and skin. Lots of sunscreen is a must as you would be shooting in the sun.

3 Vitamin C is great. It gives you the glow. Proteins are important. The days you don’t eat proteins are the days you age!

4 It’s important to drink a lot of water but maybe not right before a shot.

Kyra’s CV:

1 Was Ranbir Kapoor’s friend in Rocket Singh — Salesman of the Year; featured in an item song in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.

2 Has done ad campaigns with Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, John Abraham and Akshay Kumar.

3 Has featured in Lara Dutta’s fitness video.

4 Was a showstopper for Raghavendra Rathore at Seagram’s Blenders Pride Fashion Tour, held with t2 last year.