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Glamour and goodwill

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Miss India Earth 2010, Nicole Faria is getting ready to participate in the grand finale of the Miss Earth Pageant to be held later this year in Vietnam

Nicole Faria wasn't even considering modelling. Bollywood was what she wanted. But what she is, instead, getting to do is represent India in the Miss Earth 2010 Pageant.

Although the leggy Bangalorean's training will start later this summer, she has already started reading up on environmental issues. Later, this year, she will head to Vietnam for the grand finale. The Miss Earth Pageant brings together “beauties for a cause”, to promote local and international environmental projects.

The 20-year-old model from Bangalore is an inspiration to many, who are waiting and watching to see whether she will clinch the title or not. Having started her modelling career at age 15, and being discovered by Prasad Bidappa, she continued her studies along with her modelling career. After completing higher secondary from Sophia High School and pre-university from Christ College, she did BA at Mount Carmel College.

For someone who had her sights set on Bollywood, she did not even consider modelling as an option. Stage fright made her dizzy. Only after she took up her first assignment did she discover the adrenaline rush that walking down the ramp gave her. “All I could see were cameras flashing at me. I felt like a diva,” she recalls.

More modelling assignments came her way, but her father was particular she did not discontinue her studies. So modelling and studies went hand in hand. During vacations she would take up modelling assignments and she has so far been featured on the cover of popular magazines. She has walked the ramp for Manish Malhotra, Rohit Bal and others. The Colombo Fashion Week was her first leap into the international fashion world, the Lakme India Fashion Week following shortly afterwards. Juggling studies and work, how did she prepare for the Miss India Earth Pageant and how different will it be this time? “Well, for one, I have to read up a lot on environmental issues and keep abreast of current issues. Besides, there will be regular visits to the gym before I set off to undergo more rigorous training later this summer,” she says.

A challenge

The training for Miss India Earth was challenging. Phones were confiscated, grinding schedules were imposed which packed in hours at the gym, spa treatments, ramp walking, training and grooming. We were fed bland porridge, carrot roti and brown rice, supplemented with dry fruits, protein drinks and lots of water. “I began fantasising about food and the trainers would get a kick teasing me about it. I would think about my favourite baked cheese cake, apart from , steak, burgers and sizzlers…,” she says, almost nostalgically. “But it was a fair bargain as the rigorous training transformed my personality. My face began to glow and I lost weight.” The strict diet, without an extra ounce of fat, was the most difficult part of the training for Nicole, who's a foodie. The training was, hence, a battle of mind over matter.

But doesn't the intensive training that precedes the pageant mar the individuality of the contestants and mechanically churn out those thin, tall and beautiful women? Nicole begs to differ: “The grooming takes you to a different level. It sets you apart from everyone else.”

Being a model one is, at times, vulnerable hence “it is imperative to stand up for your rights and have the right attitude. I've learnt kickboxing and am lucky that so far I've never been taken for a ride. My parents were always around and I was backed by an agency.” What lessons does she draw from the years spent in the industry? It is essential to be yourself, as glamour is transient. Overconfidence kills. Also, learn to make quick decisions rather than wait and make no decision at all”.

LISSA CHAZOT & SUCHITRA MUNDHRA

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