Kareena Kapoor flaunts her ultra slim image, bringing back the size zero debate. Sangeetha Devi Dundoo reports…

Aishwarya Rai and Bipasha Basu were extra cautious of what they ate and followed rigorous workouts to look bikini-friendly in Dhoom 2. Priyanka Chopra shed a few kilos with power yoga for Don. Now, it’s Kareena Kapoor who’s taking the fitness and diet mantra to new levels for her bikini sequence in Yash Raj’s next film, Tashan. She’s worked against the ‘healthy’ genes of the Kapoor kaandhan and is flaunting her ‘size zero’ figure with a waistline of just 23 inches.

Size zero, a phenomenon associated with ramp models in Europe, is suddenly creating a buzz in India, thanks to Kareena. Size zero or not, there has always been pressure on models to look ultra slim for the ramp. Miss India contestants and models go on no-oil, low-fat diets a few weeks ahead of a fashion week or the pageant. From spending more time in the gym to increasing the intake of salads and juices, different models reach their fitness targets differently. There are also a few who turn to steroids and smoking to kill appetite and live on a total salad diet before featuring in a swimsuit round.

“Indian women look best when they are curvy. Size zero doesn’t suit the Indian body type,” says Hyderabad model Kavya Bali who modelled for the Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week last season. Now a contestant for the Miss India crown, she adheres to regular workouts and a balanced diet. “I don’t skip meals. I also enjoy dancing, which keeps me fit. Models don’t need to follow crash diets before the fashion week. A no-oil diet will do,” she says.

Model-turned-actor Rahul Dev, who walked the ramp for the opening show of the just concluded Lakme Fashion Week for JJ Vallaya, says models have to work harder to stay fit. “Each year designers decide the look they want to showcase and models have to work accordingly. Designers feel their clothes are showcased better on models who are tall and have a lean frame. You need to know your body, know how to get fit and go about it without harming yourselves.”

Model Sharon Aamir says the fall of clothes is better on slimmer models. “Models are merely clothes hangers, period. A good face and a fit body are all that designers look at, not your intelligence. Once you enter the business, you need to take care of your vital stats. It’s a job requirement.”

Meeting the job requirement includes regular fitness routines and shunning extra carbs and fats. “A lot of models know how to stay fit the healthy way, for example Yana Gupta. She is well-informed and doesn’t resort to extreme methods. A few models are desperate to lose weight quickly and are at a risk of spoiling their health in the long run. You can be a model for 10 to 15 years; you need to stay healthy to live your life long after that phase,” says Rahul Dev.

Some facts

  • Size zero, commonly used to refer to people with very low body mass index, refers to a clothing size in U.S. brands.
  • A woman with waist size 23 inches, hip size 32 inches and bust around 31 inches would qualify to be called size zero.
  • Crash diets to achieve size zero can have repercussions on your health -- from heart attacks to renal failures.
  • Uruguay model Luisel Ramos sparked off the debate on size zero. Soon after stepping down from the ramp after a fashion show in 2006, she was found dead following a heart attack. International fashion shows then stayed away from models with BMIs less
  • than 18, an unhealthy number as per the guidelines of World Health Organisation.
  • In India, though a number of models fit into the slender category, many have been successful without having to be reed thin. Sisters Tapur and Tupur, modelturned- actors Koena Mitra and Katrina Kaif fit the bill.