I interviewed a lovely young ramp model some time ago. Tina works out of Mumbai. She is an unassuming, refreshingly mature person whose views on beauty left me both impressed and inspired. I asked her questions that I felt really mattered. I would suggest you take time to reflect on them when you have a few moments to yourself.
Here’s our interaction:
Q: How much time and money do you spend on your appearance? How do you nurture your inner life?
Tina: I spend very little on outer beauty. Long ago, a dermatologist told me that products were unnecessary, even toxic. Her advice, ‘use visors if you’re on a bike, and pull up the windows when you’re in a car to keep environmental damage away,’ made a lot of sense to me, and I have followed it ever since. I use a purely home-made mix of gram flour and turmeric, and use minimal make-up. The inner life is taken care of fabulously well by my strong network of family and a set of positive-minded friends with whom I am always laughing, and enjoy the silliest and smallest of things like going to a mall—even if we buy nothing more than Johnson’s Baby Powder and a bag of vegetables!
Q: What do you think has, or hasn’t, happened in your life because of your physical appearance?
Tina: I am happy with the way I look. I am getting good work. I have done about 100 print ads, a couple of films. But I never fail to keep my perspective sane. A few years ago, I developed a throat infection and was taking steam inhalation, when the steaming pot slipped and scalded my entire thigh and leg. I have third degree burns in these areas that will never heal. And yet, I have been lucky… thanks to make-up, these are covered up beautifully, and I even made it to a major beauty contest. Now, I see the accident as a kind of lucky charm… it was after that that I moved to Mumbai and my career really took off.
Q: Do you believe that life, in general, is easier for those who are physically attractive?
Tina: Well, I guess people do, in general, treat you with more respect if you look good, because it indicates that you care about yourself. Taking care of your figure and maintaining a glow on your skin takes genuine effort, and pays off in the long run if you do it the right way. And professionally, it’s an ethos that you bring to the table.
NOTE: The photo accompanying this article is a stock photo.