She's got the look

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By The top models of 2012 will not just rule the ramp - they will sizzle in Bollywood too, discovers Vishnupriya Sengupta
  • Published 1.01.12
LEADING LADIES:, Lisa Haydon and Ushoshi Sengupta, Noyonika Chatterjee, Tena Desae are some of the figures to watch out for

She’s romanced Ranbir Kapoor in real life, is set to dhinka chaka with Salman Khan in Sohail Khan’s home production, has hit the cover of 14 magazines over 13 months, won the Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2011 Hunt contest and is one of the item girls on the 2012 calendar. Hot and hip Angela Jonsson, born of an Icelandic father and a Mangalorean mother in Chennai, has the X-factor needed for the Bold and Beautiful ramp-and-cine club of 2012.

“Unlike some vivacious models, Angela is somewhat subdued by nature. But in front of the camera she lights up like a 1,000-watt bulb,” says ad guru Prahlad Kakkar. “She reminds me of (actress) Sridevi who with her pakora nose would be seated quietly, may be doing her nails, but would be in her element the moment the camera would be on.”

Look out for Jonsson in 2012. As India gets swamped by fashion weeks and other gala designer events — throwing up hundreds of models — there are some who, industry insiders stress, will be ruling the ramp — as well as the screen — in the New Year.

It was only yesterday that a model’s success was measured by the way she carried herself from the wings to the ramp. Not anymore. Pizzazz, oomph, flair and self-confidence may still be essential but are not enough. “Today the supermodel concept is passé,” emphasises Atul Kasbekar, ace fashion photographer and chairman-managing director, Bling Entertainment Solutions. “A model’s success story is complete only when the ramp walk leads to the Bollywood gates.”

Gauging by that yardstick, the Bangalore-born Tena Desae, another 2012 Kingfisher Calendar girl, with nearly a hundred ads under her delicate waistline, seems to have arrived riding the Hollywood bandwagon. Tena shares screen space with English actress Judi Dench in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel directed by John Madden of Shakespeare in Love fame.

“It takes versatility and that cutting-edge to hit big time in this competitive cut-throat glam world,” says Kakkar. That, he contends, is what Angelina Jolie lookalike Esha Gupta and Maia Haydon, sister of another promising fashion model Lisa Haydon, exhibit. They have the potential to not only electrify the fashion circuit in 2012 but also create a buzz as Bollywood babes. A former Miss India International and Kingfisher Calendar girl, Esha is gearing up to act with Hrithik Roshan in Krrish 2 and is also the hot bod opposite Emraan Hashmi in Mahesh Bhatt’s Jannat 2.

Maia, another Kingfisher 2012 calendar girl, puts her best foot forward in Saif Ali Khan’s Agent Vinod.

While these models are yet to display their histrionic skills, their body language is evidently in sync with the ramp. “It’s imperative for any fashion model walking the ramp to be consistent and disciplined and pull off the look demanded by the clothes,” says designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh. “In that sense, I’d also vouch for the dusky Lisa Haydon, the face of the cosmetics giant Lakme. She has that individuality and strength required to bring out the multifaceted woman of today’s world.” Having lived in India, Australia and the US, Lisa exudes the right blend of attitude and poise — qualities that worked in her favour in Anil Kapoor’s Ayesha.

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee agrees with Ghosh. Good models, he stresses, need to be disciplined, to exercise and be in shape, sleep well and not party late into the night before a show. Most important, they should constantly try to reinvent themselves to avoid being typecast. Rachel Bayros, who’s done over 500 shows including the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, and Preeti Thapa, a model from Shillong, meet these criteria, he says.

“Rachel is athletic and has that versatility to be able to pull off all kinds of clothes, from quirky to Western to Indian, and is very accommodating, which works in her favour,” he says. Industrywallahs say she absorbs and learns on the job, like Preeti, who was crowned Miss Eclectic Model 2010.

Calcutta-born Ushoshi Sengupta, who won the title of “I Am She” and represented India in Miss Universe 2010 in Las Vegas, is another model to watch out for, contends designer Narendra Kumar. Ushoshi goes by the advice that her mentor Sushmita Sen once gave her: Winning is an attitude; seize your destiny.

While women models are swaying away to glory, their male counterparts still seem to be stumbling, and there are no distinct stars of 2012. “Today, most of the male models out there are just clones of one another. There isn’t a single Milind Soman, Arjun Rampal, John Abraham or Marc Robinson,” laments Kakkar. “The one who had potential — Sahil Shroff — is now into films with Don 2, where he plays the role of a cop,” says Kasbekar.

Narendra Kumar doesn’t quite agree. “Freddy Daruwala is doing a good job,” he asserts. “Male models today need a different look and Freddy fits the bill.”

Some believe that the industry is changing, and age is no longer a criterion for a model. Adman Piyush Pandey, in fact, prefers the old to the new. “I’d put Noyonika Chatterjee right up there. While modelling is all about age and youth, it’s commendable that Noyonika, once touted as a supermodel, is still doing ramp shows.”

Indeed, in an industry where 15 minutes of fame often translate into decades of oblivion, it takes a lot to be here today and still not gone tomorrow. Going by the glam world buzz, and the chutzpah of the likes of Angela, Tina and Maia, it seems 2012 is set to be a scintillating year with stunning looks and chiselled bodies. The ramp and screen are ready to sizzle.