She’s the hottest face on the modelling scene and has set off a buzz a forest fire actually, in the global fash-world, with ramp shows in New York and Australia.
Splashed in the world newspapers as the face to watch out for, she has been signed on by Manhattan’s elite modelling agency IMG. She avoids interviews like dental plaque.. but hang on..
Monikangana Dutta aka Moni fetches up for a coffee conversation with Rochelle Pinto...
You stated a long time ago in an interview that you wanted to break into the international scene. Have your dreams come true?
Wow, it does feel that way because I hadn’t planned on modelling. When you’re a kid, you want to be a scientist, a pilot, Miss India.
You just mentioned Miss India, why didn’t you ever try that out?
I just thought for a day and then got over it. I guess it was just a flight of fancy.
In a year when Indian models are the flavour of fashion, is it boom time?
I had no clue how big this was. I heard there was an interview with me on a prestigious website, and that I was also featured in the New York Times. And I had actually been reluctant to give the interview.
I’d say it was just another job. But the show itself was dramatic. She had a jungle theme, I was dressed in minimal make-up and crazy hair. There was something unusual about it..what can I say? Yeah, there were no saris!
Diana Penty has commented that she felt much older than the other girls in the shows abroad. Did you feel the same way?
It doesn’t matter how old you are.. It has to do with your brain and how fast you work. Girls who start in their teens achieve fame when they’re 22. I can handle it because that’s the way I’ve been raised.
What are your strengths as a model?
(Laughs) All of me. My strength is that I’m a very nice person. I think when you have a clean aura, it shows on your face.
So the stories of Monikangana being temperamental aren’t true?
Yes, I am temperamental. I do lose my cool when journalists ask me stupid questions. It upsets me when I read an article and it has been completely manipulated.
What’s your take on fashion journalists.
They just want masala. They don’t bother about fashion probably because they have no knowledge. Everyone says the fashion industry is growing, but I just think it’s going from bad to worse.
Is there any difference between the way models are treated in India and abroad?
Anything outside India is a better experience. I’m Indian and I love my country, but there’s no respect for the fashion industry.
What do you have to say to those who believe that models are little more than pretty faces?
To be successful, you have to be intelligent. Talent comes only with education and people should respect that. I also think that directors should stop making movies on the love life of models. That’s disgusting.
You’re obviously not a fan of Bollywood..
Well, I’m getting good offers from Bollywood but I’m not even thinking about that right now. I’ll just go with the flow.
There have always been grouses about colour prejudice. Have you ever felt any undercurrents?
Come on, we’re in 2009. I’ve never felt anything of the sort. I have always been welcomed wherever I’ve gone.
Internationally, models have expanded their brand to other spheres. Anything on the cards?
See, those are the models who have beauty and brains. I am already assisting someone with interior design.. I plan to get into it at some point.
Nothing is known about your romantic life..anyone special we need to know about?
I’ve purposely kept this out of the media. I don’t like to make a mess of my private life.
Okay for the hopefuls, at least tell us what you look for in a man?
Simplicity! I’ve never romanced any guy from the industry. The guys I like are all very different.
How would you define a supermodel?
I think it’s a chance to show the world that you’re different, project your intelligence and personality. But there is extreme pressure to keep going.
Do you feel that models have become role models?
I think people have always looked up to models. For me, what’s in my heart and mind is in my mouth. A lot of people can’t handle that. They only have this image of what models are like.
And what is that?
Tantrums and more tantrums. They think that models are full of drama.