Hailing from Jaipur, Naina Khan has scaled heights. Prepping to graduate from Rajasthan University while giving wings to her dream of modelling, she is independent, intelligent and has a stellar portfolio including top- of- the- line shows, editorial and campaigns. In conversation with the millennial catwalk star who is harnessing her passion into her profession.
''My full name is Ifat Shaikh. I belong to a Muslim family, and at the time I chose to be a model after being finalist at Elite Model Look 2016, it was tough to explain my career choice to them. Today, however, my family is completely supportive of my career'' she says, eyes shining with pride. ''I then shifted base from Jaipur to Delhi to pursue my dreams. It wasn't easy because I don't have beautiful Indian features and not everyone accepted me. But I didn't let anything deter me and worked hard.''
What makes her a successful model today, I ask? ''I guess it is my body structure — I workout at the gym every day! Other than that, my own experience, the company of positive people, and rejection of course, has made a wise model. I learnt a lot. Yes, I have shot for the best Indian and International magazines but my most memorable experience was walking for Rohit Bal at the age of seventeen!! That is my fondest memory; I was really young and it was a huge deal! Now, I only have one dream — to work with an International talent agency overseas and walk for Dior…'' Whoa!
''Work hard, be patient, and most important, be confident'' is her mantra. ''Everyone asks if I have a back-up plan or alternative career but I love modelling and I don't want to distract myself with anything else!! My backup, however, is opening an antique shop someday as my father is an antique collector. I have been exposed to antiques since childhood and I will surely harness this knowledge someday..'' Well, I do hope disarmingly honest, beautiful young girl realises her dream of carving a niche on the International Fashion map. Something tells me that day isn't too far!
— JASMEEN DUGAL