The most beautiful post graduate in Finance or the wisest model? Hard to tell with Vijaya Dey, who diversified from finace into modeling and acting to follow the dream.
''Vijaya was a tomboyish, overweight, shy girl. I was always attracted towards modelling as models were empowered, confident and fit. I felt i had the look for modelling but didn't have the courage or knowledge to enter the profession, but with the support of my mother, I took a risk and pursued modelling after graduation from Symbiosis College, Pune. This was the best decision of my life and my family agrees. It has empowered me and changed the way I see myself. Today, I feel what makes me a good model is that I make an effort to maintain myself; I continually improve my skills [am a trained bharatnatyam dancer since twelve years], am professional in the workspace and embrace both success and failure.
Ace choreographers Shakir Shaikh and Lubna Adam and model Chahat Sabaji are people whose advice helped build my career but the best piece of advice I got was during Femina Miss India, where they told me, "Focus your energy on achieving your own goals, not someone else's." Since, I’ve been blessed with quality work. I firmly believe quality helps build reputation in any field. My most memorable moment is winning 'MTV Making The Cut' Season 2. I was among top five at Femina Miss India East and top ten at 'I Am She'. I've walked for fashion weeks and shot editorials for Femina, Elle and Vogue. But modeling has a limited shelf life so I plan to diversify to acting. I've worked in Bengali films 'Mrs Sen' and 'Teen Kanya' and short film 'In Transition'. And I've done ad films for Microsoft, UTV, Idea, PVR Cinema and Vivel. I have undertaken acting and theatre workshops and am learning filmmaking. I find it real interesting! From experience, I'd like to share advice with aspiring models — respect people, respect time and work with the right attitude; the rest can be learnt. And do not enter this profession too young! I wish the industry would raise the minimum age to eighteen as maturity is required to deal with the pressures of this profession!!
On a lighter note, people often ask if Fashion has influenced my personal style. Honestly, it's "whatever I am feeling" for the day. Most days it's just a tee with denim shorts and I tend to wear boots a lot. And I work hard on myself. I believe eighty per cent of a person's fitness is made in their own kitchen. I eat healthy; to beat the summer heat, I eat a lot of seasonal fruits and vegetables and keep myself hydrated. My workout includes power walking, body combat, yoga and functional training which can be easily done at home — considering the Pandemic. However, despite lockdown, social distancing and its repercussions on Fashion and films, I wouldn't consider an alternate career. The lockdown has taught me that it's time to get stability in my income as models work from pay cheque to pay cheque and when such a situation arises we spend our savings or ask family for help. Looking ahead, I intend to resolve this situation. I want to market and sell accessories through electronic channels. I am keen on it and it will also give me time to focus on my acting career. Cheers!"
— JASMEEN DUGAL