Mom turned model

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 11.06.11

Deshapriya Park resident Richa Sharma never thought she would be crowned queen till it happened to her quite by chance. After moving to Calcutta from Kanpur post-marriage, the schoolteacher’s life took a grand turn when she was crowned Mrs India International 2011 on May 28. The 30-something wife and mother tells t2 how she did it…

Richa Sharma at The Heritage School on June 9, where she interacted with students of Suryakiran, the evening school for underprivileged children. Picture by Rashbehari Das

What made you enter Mrs India International in Atlanta?

My friend Shivalika Sharma, who had won Gladrags Mrs India in 2009, urged me to enter the contest. So, I went ahead and sent my pictures without expecting much. Luckily, the organisers liked what they saw and called me for a telephonic interview. Soon enough I was on a flight to Mumbai to undergo grooming for the beauty pageant.

How was the experience?

It was life-changing. One of the reasons why I decided to enter the contest was to build my self-confidence and I am more sure-footed now. I got to meet and interact with other women from different countries and backgrounds. The organisers and my fashion director, Adrita Khanna, helped me work on my personality. From the beginning, I tried to stay positive and be myself — I think that’s what helped me achieve the title.

Was it difficult balancing modelling and home?

Not really. I have always been a full-time working woman, so balancing work and family has been my way of life. Plus, my in-laws and husband were there to take care of my daughter, nine-year-old Aashna, whenever I wasn’t around.

How supportive was your family through it all?

As supportive as it gets. My in-laws had always thought I could be a model as they loved my smile and my husband, of course, has been my pillar of strength.

What is your personal style?

I don’t think it is necessary to keep up with the latest trends. Clothes that suit me are always my preferred choice. I like wearing cotton salwar-suits, Indo-western kurtis or tunics and peasant-style skirts that are long and flowy. On special occasions, I like wearing saris, especially silks and chiffons.

Any designer brands you like wearing?

Komal Sood’s designs look great on me. During the contest, she helped me plan my wardrobe. Of late, I have started liking Abhishek Dutta’s collection, especially his patchwork jackets and skirts. For ethnic wear I visit Monapali, their formal suits and saris are gorgeous. The brands that I shop from regularly are Guess for handbags and United Colors Of Benetton for clothes.

What kind of activities do you enjoy?

Dance has always fascinated me. When Saroj Khan was in Calcutta to conduct a dance workshop, I enrolled myself and it was such a great learning experience. I want to pursue this art. Otherwise, when I feel like pampering myself I usually visit a spa for a relaxing massage.

Do you think married women are on a par with the rest of the modelling world?

I think so. It’s about how well models can manage their time between work and family.

What’s next for you?

I will be preparing to represent India at Mrs International, which will be held in Chicago in July. I want to use this platform to help underprivileged children. Once the show is done I do intend going back to teaching, but I will be open to product endorsement offers.

Radhika Sen