An engineer in biotechnology, model and actor Pooja Bhamrah has covered a lot of ground! Beautiful, elegant and humble, her appeal is cross-generational! Yet what is most attractive is that she doesn't embrace vanity despite spiralling success.
"I wanted to be 'Miss India' like any other teenage girl, and with so many people around me saying that I should give it a shot considering my height and looks, I became all the more gung-ho about it! But owing to my conservative Punjabi family, I was asked to concentrate on my studies, which like an obedient kid, I did! Having finished engineering in biotechnology and worked in a corporate for a while, it dawned on me that I wasn't cut out for this. So I took up various jobs not knowing what I wanted to make out of my life; was it BPO, tutoring high school students in biology or voice and accent training in an institute? All of this was to ensure I supported my family's finances. At this stage of life, 'Miss Queen of India' happened — a pan-India beauty pageant that takes place down South. After winning the title of the pageant, still unsure if I should take up modelling full time, amid preparing for MBA entrance examinations, I got my first ramp show with Storm Fashion!
I've always been of the opinion that nothing is permanent. Stability leads to stagnancy, most of the times. Also, with every show, I fell in love with modelling! I never had an idol since modelling happened by chance but I've always been fond of Jesse Randhawa. And almost a year into it, I decided to take my feet off from all the other boats I was sailing in, and take this one forward. No doubt there is immense competition in the market. Anyone can have a pretty face and good body. But the most under-rated trait is to be humble and thankful. It's the attitude and the interpersonal relationships that a model develops with people around that matters. A model can fit into the perfect face, body category but if he or she throws tantrums and isn't professional, the journey is short-lived and he or she will be replaced. It's professionalism with the dedication to consistently keep working on myself and deliver each time that has gotten me where I am today.
There is competition, tough one! But as far as rivalry is concerned, I haven't encountered it yet. Sometimes there is a lot of negative energy around, but I try and focus only on the good things in my life. That is important to retain my sanity in this industry where it's easy to let vices get the better of us! I'm lucky I have well-wishers who pep me up whenever I'm low. And every single piece of advice I've received has helped me evolve as an individual. I watch a lot of self help videos by Les Brown, Earl Nightingale, Norman Vincent Peale etc. My favourite is 'someone's opinion of you doesn't have to be your reality'. Don't give in to negativity. Instead, focus on being creative! There are many models, who after a few years, take a detour into honing makeup skills and pursuing it professionally, creative blogging, styling etc. It's possible to follow one's creative desires in any field. One just needs to find a proper outlet.
It cracks me up when I think how my approach to getting dressed has changed since I've been modelling! You'd know why if I were to show you my photographs from University days. My sense of dressing has evolved over all these years. I was always a T-shirt—military cargos girl. Simplicity and comfort is top priority. But yes, being in this profession, it is of utmost importance to keep our grooming and wardrobe in check. Plus, to do justice to the stunning garments that designers create, and cope up with stress levels during fashion weeks, it is essential for us to maintain our fitness level and be in shape. As per our own body type, we follow different intensities of workout. We all know about 'no pain, no sacrifice, no gain'. Undoubtedly, one needs to be away from fried food. I follow a workout regimen which is primarily functional training with Nadir Ali from Bodyholics. I diet as and when required though I have cheat days. But on most days I avoid fried food and confectionary! That said, I have a sweet tooth so staying away from anything that's sweet is a struggle!! To curb sweet cravings, I eat dates and dried figs. Also, oatmeal honey bread with peanut butter, I love. My favourite is Almond Milk by SVA. It's healthy, filling and caters to my sweet tooth!!
Coming back to my career, just like modelling, I had never thought I'd take up acting. But it all started when I got my first show 'Yeh Jawani Tara Riri' on Channel V. It was then I realized I enjoyed being in front of the camera and playing different characters. It's like living multiple lives. Now who doesn't want that? Also, acting workshops have been useful in terms of getting into the character. My first ever workshop was with Neeraj Kabi sir — 'Ship of Thesus' fame. And I recently finished another one with Dalip Sondhi and Chris Edmund who is Hugh Jackman's mentor. Then I was a part of a youth television show 'Swim Team.' It has been a smooth sail so far. But one needs to invest in one's craft and keep upgrading the skill set. Life has shown me the path and I just have to make sure I excel in it. As far as balancing fashion and acting is concerned, my love for both makes it easier for me to juggle the two.
There are quite a few assignments in the pipeline. Last year I started anchoring and have enjoyed this new role in sports, fashion and lifestyle. Having hosted Pro Kabaddi, Kabaddi World Cup and the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week, this year I'll be seeking out to expanding this new avenue. That's the adrenaline rush I look out for and it keeps me going."
— JASMEEN DUGAL