Speaking her mind

CALLING A SPADE A SHOVEL! Diandra Soares Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

CALLING A SPADE A SHOVEL! Diandra Soares Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.  


Twenty-two tattoos, a shaved head, dusky looks, a “you only live once attitude”, and a tongue that speaks the acerbic mind. Diandra Soares can be a mouthful

Diandra Soares created history, not once, but thrice, each time she shaved her head, starting way back in 1999. You don’t need to hide behind your hair, believes Diandra, a former Miss Bombay. She was in Bangalore last weekend at the pub Big Pitcher to anchor E’pique 2014, which showcased designer Nimirta Lalwani’s collection. Settling down for chat at the pub pre-show, Diana speaks her mind on enjoying being recognised as the bald model from India, how she’s a ManGo, her new line of desserts, and more.

Did you feel at any point in time when you were clean-shaven that you had lost your looks?

I have tried every look and every colour possible on my hair. I’ve a red that’s going out, and next I’ll be colouring it a turquoise-peacock blue. I’ve worn my hair short, long, curly, including animal-print hair colour! But bald is when I think I looked most stunning. Next comes my natural long curly south Indian kind of hair. I love it. I never ever wished that I should have straight hair.

What about going bald made you feel different?

The first time I shaved, it was in the middle of a show. The vain person in me at some point thought I’ll wear a wig till it grows back; I always had a wig in my bag. But it (shaving head) liberates you and makes you love yourself without hair. You’ll never have a bad hair day! You’re made to believe only blow-dried hair is good, or only straight hair is good… Who cares? It is only hair! You don’t need to hide behind a hairstyle. I’m in the 20 year of my modelling career; I started modelling when I was 15. It makes you secure, makes you understand that you are unique.

What was the reaction within the you own fashion fraternity to your bald look? and bold move? Did you lose work because of it?

The first time I did it, it really put me on the map. It was like ‘Oh My God!’ A lot of people got weird-ed out by it. But the second time around, the reactions were really positive. I got written about in The Huffington Post at a time when I didn’t know what it was. Apparently it was a big deal. And people on Los Angeles were asking Indian designers like Falguni and Shane Peacock, for whom I now design shoes, about me, ‘the bald model from India’. You feel energy when people stop in their way, when they make you a show opener or showstopper. But, there were people who said ‘she’s lost it’, ‘she has way too many tattoos’, ‘she has relationship problems’, ‘she spends too much time in Goa’, ‘she’s doing drugs’, ‘she’s becoming like Britney Spears’. My response to them was ‘If you think I’m becoming like Britney Spears, you haven’t seen anything yet…give me a hockey stick and I’ll show you.’

The second time around, I did lose some work. I did the TV series Fear Factor, and after that I did a few big appearances for a company that lost money. And then I went on a sabbatical.

When I shaved my head the third time around also I lost work. But I don’t give a damn about work. If I did, I would look like any other model today. You only live once.

Where does your south Indian connection come in?

My dad is from Mangalore and my mom is from Goa … I consider myself a ManGo!

You’ve been designing shoes, and are a professional make-up artist. Tell us more about this side of you.

Any creative thing is all I want to do. I do professional make-up – for ad films, brides, cricketers, bridezillas. I went down this serious road to do branded desserts and it’s called ‘2Di4’ — with the ‘Di’ coming from my name. I’m going to do a health food line with my trainer. I’ve styled for the Kingfisher calendar.

What happened with your stint in Bollywood?

I was supposed to do Boom and was this close to signing, when the role went to Katrina Kaif. But life threw me another curved ball when an agency from Paris came scouting for models from India and two of us were selected from across six cities. I did some songs (music videos). I was offered some movies. But I couldn’t deal with the fact that I had to take my mom for the shoots. I was 18 then and I couldn’t deal with the mentality where you’re expected to show your T&A and shake everything in front of the camera but in between shots you have to cover everything up with a shawl, even if it’s freaking hot! The director asked me if mummy ji is not coming to the set and I said, no, but my boyfriend will be visiting, and that didn’t go down too well. Having said all that, now things are different and there’s a new crop of directors who are changing ideas…I never say never.

On my sabbatical I realised I’m not done with the industry yet, and I’m not done with being in front of the camera. So I returned with renewed energy and a big break-up for my second innings. I got a great offer to do the TV series Life Mein Ek Baar, and it was all I wanted to do. There’s lots to come, lots to happen of the ramp. I paint. I would have been a fashion designer if I hadn’t become a model.

Errmm… how many tattoos do you have?

Hmmm… (counts in her mind) 22. Some are really tiny. This one’s still healing (she points to one on her thigh), some I cover with make-up if it needs to be done. Some tattoos were done in London, some in Goa and Bombay and some by a French artist.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 4:38:15 AM |

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