Priya Emmanuel, former Miss World and Universe, Malaysia, features in Kingfisher Calendar 2013
Priya Emmanuel is the newest model to add an extra dose of sizzle to the Kingfisher Calendar. This year’s calendar will feature the 5 ‘9-tall half-Irish, half-Indian beauty who traces her Indian roots to Kerala. Fashion photographer Atul Kasbekar, who has visualised and shot Kingfisher Calendar 2013, says Priya is “quite easily one of the best swimsuit bodies” he has ever photographed. She was holidaying in India when he spotted her.
This year’s calendar features five other models—Elena Fernandes, Salome Polaki, Kyra Dutt, Kanishtha Dhankar and Nevena Pejatovik. The models have been styled by Nupur Mehta Puri and make up is by Kapil Bhalla. The picturesque landscape of South Africa forms the setting for Atul’s photographs.
Priya is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is former Miss World and Universe, Malaysia.
Excerpts from an e-mail interview with Priya Emmanuel.
How would you describe your experience working for the Kingfisher calendar?
Imagine the most scenic and beautiful locations in Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa. That is where I was. Spectacular horizons, stunning beaches, amazing wild life and game reserves. The backdrop for the KFC (Kingfisher Calendar) shoot was to die for and I was totally immersed in each shot. I really think Atul did a fabulous job capturing all this beauty in the photographs. The hair, make-up and styling teams as well as the cameramen were so much fun and we had great times on and off camera. Does this even sound like “work”? I’m a lucky girl!
Atul Kasbekar himself described you as one of the best swimsuit models he has ever photographed. Your thoughts on that.
I am extremely flattered and honoured. Atul has shot so many women for KFC over the years and countless other models. So for him to even count me as one of the best bodies… Wow!
How and when did you get into modelling?
I was a 14-year-old high school student out on a Friday night with friends when I was stopped by an agent. She asked whether I wanted to be a model and I quickly said “No”. I was a little bit of a tomboy in high school. She managed to convince me to do one fashion show in a shopping mall. One led to another and before I knew it I was a ‘model’. Today I am an MC, TV and travel show host and also run a charity that I co-founded called the Refugee Education Centre.
What do you like about India?
My great-grandfather was born in Kerala. But I had never been to the sub continent until last year. The very moment I stepped out of the airport, I got good vibes about India. It is everything and more than I imagined. I absolutely love the vibrant cultures, the colours and the food. With every city I visit I'm captivated by its uniqueness and character. And there is so much more to explore.
In India, most models see films as a logical progression of in their careers. Have you received offers from films?
I have actually done a few cameos in Malaysian movies and I am seriously looking into heading down this path when the time is right and with the right project. Over the past few years, I was host on a live ladies talk show called Bella and I've also hosted the most recent Destination Weddings.
How challenging is modelling as a career?
Modelling has a very short shelf life and at some point every model must think about progression if they still want a career, very few models will make it big and earn big bucks and often work can be very uncertain and inconsistent. Because work is based purely on one's looks the pressures to look a specific way are tremendous and many young models fall victim to the downfalls of the industry. On the other hand, modelling offers a young woman a wealth of enriching experiences, great friends and memories to last a lifetime.
You are a supermodel and have won coveted titles such as Miss Universe Malaysia 2011 and Miss Malaysia World 2007. What would be your advice to all the young girls who dream of becoming a supermodel?
If you are not brave enough to dream then you will never achieve anything. I believe in going after dreams and I would encourage every young girl to do the same but remember the modelling/fashion industry is based on “looks” so the aspiring model must be realistic about her physical attributes. She must possess a quiet confidence, be determined, have a moral compass and keep her feet firmly on the ground and remember nobody likes mean girls.
What are your future projects?
I am very excited about 2013. I'm going to be working out of Mumbai and looking forward to all the possibilities.