Small town girls make it big

Navneet Kaur Dhillon from Patiala, Sobhita Dhulipala

Navneet Kaur Dhillon from Patiala, Sobhita Dhulipala

When Navneet Kaur Dhillon, Sobhita Dhulipala and Zoya Afroz stood tall posing for the cameras, one thing bound them together — the girls who battled it out to the top three positions at the Pond’s Femina Miss India 2013 recently all rose to fame from small towns.
Navneet from Patiala, Sobhita from Visakhapatnam, Zoya from Lucknow are the latest examples of girls from tier-2 cities making it big in the fashion world while Harleen Kaur from Binnaguri in West Bengal and Shilpa Singh from Samastipur in Bihar have taken centre stage in the fashion capitals of the country like Delhi and Mumbai.
The fashion industry swears by the talent pool in small towns of the country and affirms that the fashion world is bustling with the young energy coming from tier-2 cities. “I have seen about 50 per cent increase in models coming from smaller town in the last three years. The biggest reason for the change has been the increasing awareness among youth in these cities. With media reaching the smallest of towns, many aspiring models are heading to big cities like Delhi and Mumbai to make a mark,” says Meyhar Bhasin who runs Meyhar Bhasin Academy to groom aspiring models.
Fashion choreographer Shy Kalra gives the example of supermodel Dipannita Sharma who not just managed to become one of the most sought-after supermodels but also acted in several movies, including Ladies Versus Ricky Bahl. “She stared modelling as soon as she came to Delhi to study in IP College and soon she made it big. Not just models but many fashion choreographers, designers and makeup artistes are also coming up from tier-2 cities,” says Shy.
However, behind the dazzling smiles and inspiring success stories are long months and sometimes years of struggle that young models from these cities have to brave. Laxmi Rana from Dehradun says that it took her about two years before she could feel confident about handling a big city like Delhi. “As far as work was concerned, I was lucky to have a good start. But handling the culture and aggression of metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai was the real tough task for me. It was a challenge to adjust in the city and now after years of work I can finally say that Delhi is my second home,” says Laxmi. She has walked for many famous designers and says that being from a small town like Dehradun has helped her stay grounded. Laxmi insists that she has a long way to go. And many other models like her also have a lot many opportunities waiting for them, says fashion co-ordinator and choreographer Liza Verma, adding that all they need is a little bit of push.
“Aspiring models from small cities are fashionable and smart. But the only thing they lack is confidence. Also, many of them are very innocent and end up wasting a lot of time without realising who are the right people they should be meeting,” says Liza.
In the end, Shy adds, “Small town girls have good skin because of less pollution and a good lifestyle. But most importantly, they have the zeal to make it big.”

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