In complete contact!

Little did she realise when she wore contacts that they would be her first step to fame. That's Sohini, the Bausch and Lomb Face of the Year. In the city for a campaign, she chills out with Suresh Krishnamoorthy.

``EVER SINCE the age of eight I was used to glasses. But from eighth class, I was made conscious of them by everyone in the school who used to call me `Chish Mish.' There were days when I cried for hours."

``All that changed at 14 years of age when I put on my first pair of contacts. My first step into the wide open world, wearing contacts seemed to infuse a lot of confidence. People no longer called me `Chish Mish.' From then on there was no looking back,'' says 18 year-old Sohini who got into `Confidence, Contacts and You.'

This student of mass media at the National College, Mumbai, is excited at her title and the role that it demands. Under the spotlight, she is expected to promote the company. At the same time she is actively involved in campaigning the need for people to take better care of their eyes.

Do you know out of 100 people, 17 know they have a problem and 17 more are blissfully unaware that they have a problem with their eyes. "This is a serious problem and it is high time people were made aware of this fact," Sohini says, sounding quite unlike an 18-year-old gal.

How did she chance upon the campaign and how did her success come about? Initially the company called for applications nationwide, from those who wore contacts. Hundred girls were shortlisted and they attended workshops on fashion by Achala Sachdev, make-up by Kori Walia and style and etiquette by Xerxer Bathina.

After the workshops came an introductory and a casual round and then the one-liner. Sohini told the company's Managing Director, J.P. Singh, and Head of Marketing, Rajat Goel, "When you are a confident person you are in complete contact with yourself.'' It was perfect for the company's slogan and she hit the jackpot. Bingo, there she was. Sohini became Bausch and Lomb's Face of the Year.

Before Sohini, top models like Mehr Jessia, Pooja Batra and Rima Sen promoted Bausch and Lomb and contact lenses. Sohini is thrilled at being part of the celebrity line-up. The campaign involves visits to schools and colleges and talking to students on the need for eyecare.

By the way, what does eye care involve? "Drink lots of juices - of carrot, papaya, oranges, eat lots of leafy green vegetables," she raves. She pitches for more. Go to an opthalmologist every six months, keep your lenses clean. Splash your eyes with plain water three or four times a day. It cleans the eyes and keeps them cool. Sit 10 metres away from a television.

As if the learned advice is not enough, Sohini throws some more. "Follow the 20:20:20 technique," she breaks into a laugh. What's that? "No matter what you do in the day, take a break every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 metres away for 20 seconds."

Sounds easy, huh! But Sohini's game!

Photo: Mohd. Yousuf

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