METRO PLUS

`I'm angry with her for doing this'

Nafisa Joseph: She had everything going for her.

Nafisa Joseph: She had everything going for her.  

"NAFISA WAS was all of 12 or 13 years when she did her first Wearhouse assignment with me. After she finished her schooling at 16, she had grown tall and quite beautiful, ready to model seriously. After a year, she said she was interested in participating in the Miss India competition, so we started grooming her. Nafisa was a very disciplined model, and was ready to put in a lot of work, do numerous shoots and basically, get a taste of what she was getting into. By the time she was 17, she was ready to take on the universe. She just creamed the show at Miss India and stunned people with her grace. Even after she started doing TV, she did a lot of work with me. Bangalore Habba was unfortunately her last show in this city.

"You have models, and then you have stars. Nafisa was what you call a star-celebrity-model. She could carry an entire show on her shoulders. What a professional girl she was! So sensible... and that is really why it's shocking that she took her life. It just doesn't go with her strong personality. There were no signs of any depression, any problems... she had always chatted with me when she was going through rough times. But this time, I had no clue. People say her marriage was cancelled. Had I known, I would've spoken to her... she was like a daughter to me... I am shattered. I can't imagine what her parents must be going through, losing a child as young as her.

"Nafisa was a very warm, friendly and clever girl, someone you could have a proper conversation with. She was well read and intelligent... a truly special person. I don't know why she had to do this.

`I'm angry with her for doing this'

"See, usually I don't like models being involved in relationships until their career takes off and they're professionally well settled. Imagine if you had a trainee who always had boyfriend problems — it would affect her work. I don't lay down the rules like a school principal, but the girls do listen to me.

Personal life

"For Nafisa, even after her career was rock steady, nothing seemed to work in her personal life. I think it had less to do with her choice of profession than with just bad luck, the poor girl... See, modelling is actually a woman's world. There are difficulties, but the pressure to succeed is equal for men and women. Women are on top and they're actually treated better than the male models. They're given better rooms and are fed well, while the men are left to sit around in the lobby and fend for themselves. In fashion, 90 per cent is women-oriented. So, in that sense, perhaps the men do have it easier. It does take a strong woman to handle the pressures, and Nafisa was that.

"If you ask me if she was discontented with her job or wanted to quit, I'd say I saw no signs of that. She had her own TV show, had a just bought a house in Mumbai, she was doing great ramp shows — these are not small achievements. She had everything anyone could dream of, except probably if she wanted to marry Prince William! She had everything going for her. She didn't have to kill herself. I'm very angry with her for doing this... "

As told to ROHINI MOHAN

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