Nidhi Sunil was spotted while doing production work for a model hunt in Bangalore and was offered a place in the pageant; the winner would get a lucrative contract with Elite Model Management but though she did not win, her natural beauty and confidence set her apart so she was signed by the agency regardless — she wouldn't have it any other way!
''My idols are the 90's girls: Cindy Crawford; Linda Evangelistas; Christy Turlington; Kate Moss. I began modelling part-time but I took a year off after graduation to travel; indulge my passion for theatre ; volunteer at an NGO and explore what I wanted to do with my life and my time. In the latter half of that year, I moved to Mumbai to give modelling a proper shot—one thing led to another and here I am! I've honestly never been the kind of girl who wanted a desk job because of the security of a pay cheque at the end of the month. To be honest I'm glad I decided to follow my instinct because I'm yet to regret my decision'' she reveals candidly.
''There's a common misconception that a model begins doing campaigns, shows and editorials the moment she signs up with an agency. The truth is that apart from test shoots, the agency sets up the portfolio following which all you do initially is castings. Going to castings is an experience that simultaneously gives you perspective and puts you in your place; you realise you're just one in a sea of hundreds. It's where you begin to learn how to set yourself apart. Of course, your body is incredibly important; you need to stay within certain measurements in order to be a good clotheshorse. Having a photogenic face with good bone structure is a great plus. But honestly, after that, it is your personality; added virtues would be your ability to be unself-conscious in front of the camera, knowledge of your body type-structure and being able to project your individual persona and a sense of movement into an image'' are her nuggets of wisdom.
'Now let's dispel myths! Most models I meet are genetically thin. Of course you have to remember that models are also young girls so they have metabolism on their side. But most of my friends eat whatever they feel like and I'm yet to meet a model who starves herself! I used to be a competitive swimmer and was part of track and field teams at school — I've enjoy feeling fit and I absolutely love food. I hate working out at the gym—nothing bores me more. I try to keep myself fit by enrolling in a class that challenges me physically and I learn something new. Recently I joined mixed martial arts. The advantage of this is that your body doesn't become complacent because you're always challenging different muscle groups. The said, yoga has been a constant. I have been practicing it for a long time though with intermittent breaks when I'm traveling. Currently, avocado toast with poached eggs is my favourite health treat. I'm a savoury girl — it's my South Indian genes. I don't generally crave sweet things!
Another myth is cutthroat rivalry. I honestly don't have the time or energy to focus on this. I have a secure space in my own head when it comes to work and personal life; it helps that my close friends are not from this industry. So honestly I'm doing my thing, oblivious to negativity. On the whole, people have been positive towards me including my peers; so no complaints there! My focus is creativity. It's a personal thing — it's entirely up to the individual how creative they want to be with their life and time. It's obviously much more creatively satisfying to do personal work or shoot collaborative pictures or videos that are not paid gigs, because you get to push boundaries and explore your creative side by putting the whole thing together as opposed to just shooting what someone else makes you wear in the hair and make-up they choose. I feel this is an important part of the learning curve as a model and as a person — to be comfortable with who you are, with your body movement, educate yourself about hair and make up, styling, photography and lighting et al. In fact, the longer you work in fashion the more you learn. I think that's the case with any industry though. You're never the same person from the time you started off.''
Though the best advice Nidhi Sunil has received is not to make professional goals the centre of her existence, her professional career is set to soar. ''I'm currently in New York City because I have just signed up with Wilhelmina Models and going through the process of moving base. So my life is in a state of flux. I just finished shooting for a film which I'm not allowed to talk about until there's an official announcement in the press. Life is good!''
— JASMEEN DUGAL