For model Natasha Ramachandran, this has been a month of many firsts. Not only did the 23-year-old make her maiden trip to the United States of America, she also tread the hallowed New York Fashion Week (NYFW) floorboards for the very first time. Presenting looks from the Fall-Winter 2014 collections of internationally renowned labels Zimmermann and Misha Nonoo, the model remembers it as being a “stress-free” experience. “It’s a very professional environment where everyone is focused on doing their job, since show schedules are timed and models are paid for on hourly basis. So, punctuality is a must. It’s a matter of four hours or so and you are done,” she says.
The shows may have been a breeze, but what preceded wasn’t quite a cakewalk. “The process involves pre-casting, call backs, final casting and individually allotted time slots for fittings for each designer, unlike in India where you are a pool model for the entire season after getting through the auditions,” says Ramachandran, who went for up to 15 castings on some days.
While her exotic good looks are thanks to her mixed lineage (her father is from Tamil Nadu and mother is a Bengali), they definitely seem to be helping Ramachandran on the international fashion circuit, keeping everyone guessing about her nationality.
An army kid, she had her first brush with glamour in 2007, when she won the May Queen pageant in Secunderabad. Soon after she started modelling “full-time” in August 2013, Ramachandran has made it to the cover of some of India’s top fashion glossies. Her elfin features and cropped hair have already set her apart from the regular roster of models back home. What has also brought her to the attention of editors and sundry bloggers is the National Institute of Fashion Technology graduate’s personal sense of style, a fact that may have helped her make the cut at NYFW too. “You need to pay very close attention to what you wear, right from the bag you carry, to the shoes you wear and how you present yourself, especially when you are going to meet clients for the very first time,” she says.
Even as the Indian fashion fraternity prepares for yet another seasonal showing, with Lakme Fashion Week and Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week scheduled to be held in March 2014, Ramachandran will be missing from the model pools. Her agency Anima Creative Management requires her to be stationed in New York to suss out further opportunities. Even as she battles moments of loneliness in a new city, adapts to the extreme cold and familiarises herself with the public transport system, she is upbeat. “It’s these experiences that help you understand yourself, how you handle circumstances and react to certain situations. It helps you grow as a person and defines your personality,” says Ramachandran.