Saturday, December 29, 2012

Exclusive Interview - Ninja Singh

At a time when designers and casting directors seem to be favouring models with distinctive features and a beauty bordering on aspirational, the timing could well be right for New Delhi native Ninja Singh to rise to the fore. Opportunities for models of colour, particularly those of Indian background, differ exponentially from those of their caucasian counterparts. When considering the number of Indian models who have achieved international recognition, only a handful spring to mind; Ujjwala Raut, Lakshmi Menon, Rohini Tinwari, Sonia Dara, Kelly Gale and Alyssah Ali. Twenty year old Singh could well be India's next big modelling export after placing second in the Ford Supermodel of the World competition in 2011 and relocating to New York where she is now represented by Marilyn Model Management. Towering at 179 cm, Singh's melancholic gaze and tempestuous pout are a lethal combination both on the runway and in print. Singh popped up on Inoubliable Model Army's radar a year ago when she debuted at the Fall/Winter 2012 collections, walking most notably for designers Juan Carlos Obando and Miguel Adrover. With the Fall/Winter 2013 collections looming, Inoubliable Model Army kicked back with Singh, and got the lowdown on the promising newcomer's über cool namesake, her modelling ambitions, and the importance of Plan B. 

Ninja Singh
Photographer -  Unknown
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Beauty & the Brains
Image courtesy of Ninja Singh

Inoubliable Model Army: Hi Ninja, that's a pretty unique and cool name! Is it your real name and how did it come about?
NS: Yes it is my my real name. It's funny how I was named Ninja, my maternal uncle was watching this movie called Ninja and then I was born the same hour, and you know the rest is history!

Inoubliable Model Army: Did you always harbour modelling ambitions growing up?
NS: I'm actually currently studying dentistry and have completed my first year, but yes I always wanted to be a model.

Inoubliable Model Army: Have you noticed a lack of diversity in modelling especially now that you are based in New York, and do you feel that things are improving for models of colour?
NS: There is a lack of Indian models for sure. Most of Indian models that are here in New York don't really look Indian and instead have the colouring of perhaps a Brazilian or Spanish girl. But what sets them apart is that they are Indian and it's making a difference. I'm sure every model of colour stands out differently because of the different culture she carries. As for me, it's important to be Indian but I have worked really hard to fit into the shoes of what's required to be here, and it's funny when no one believes when I tell them I am in fact Indian.

Inoubliable Model Army: You recently switched representation from Ford Model Management to Marilyn Models. What prompted this move and are you happy with this decision?
NS: Well yes, I am now with Marilyn Models and my book is currently being redeveloped with the view to introducing me as a new face at the Fall/Winter 2013 shows. There were a lot of differences between Ford and I as to how my career should go, so we came to the conclusion of settling apart. But undoubtedly Ford is amazing.

Ninja Singh
Image courtesy of Marilyn Models
Source - Ninja Singh

Ninja Singh
Marilyn Polaroids
Image courtesy of Marilyn Model Management

Inoubliable Model Army: You were noticeably absent from the Spring/Summer 2013 shows. Was this a conscious decision on your and your agent's part?
NS: I didn't do the last fashion week because of my exams... but I will be at the Fall/Winter 2013 shows in February and I'm sure you will be seeing me a lot!

Inoubliable Model Army: With so many new models being introduced to the market each show season, what factors do you feel are most vital to making a lasting impression at castings?
NS: It's about who you are as an individual. There might be a thousand girls who look pretty but the person who carries the wealth of that beauty with the brains she has, is the one to lead the crowd, and I know that I possess those qualities. I'm working really hard on myself! For the show season, you ought to look fantastic and fit, and yes, you should know that beauty, the right attitude and personal style are three important components which go hand in hand.

Inoubliable Model Army: For newcomers, modelling entails a great deal of rejection and criticism. How do you cope with this aspect of modelling?
NS: It's not only modelling, I think that every industry is the same in the beginning. So I'm prepared for this, working hard is my mantra for success and then everything else falls into place.

Inoubliable Model Army: What is the most valuable advice that you have been given with regards to modelling and the industry?
NS: Take it easy, it will happen...

Take it Easy
Photographer - Unknown
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Juan Carlos Obando - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Filippo Fior
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Miguel Adrover - Fall/Winter 2012
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
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Inoubliable Model Army: What do you like and dislike most about modelling?
NS: Modelling is not just about walking the runway. It's about having the spirit to get to the top and the desire to fulfil your ambitions fast. As we all know the time is limited and also tough with so many girls from all around the globe. You might get to the top by doing an exclusive but the ones who stay on top are those with the mindset to never stop competing with themselves and to also improve regularly.

Inoubliable Model Army: What do you hope to achieve throughout the course of your modelling career and do you have a Plan B incase modelling doesn't work out for you in the long-term?
NS: I will do all it takes to be number 1 and Plan B goes side by side. I will complete my education which I think is important for everyone. I'm gonna be Dr. Ninja Singh!

Inoubliable Model Army: Do you have any favourite models or role models?
NS: Well, I don't really aspire to be like anybody in particular. I think everyone says models like Naomi and Gisele have made their mark and I would like to achieve similar success. But I think that it's more important to focus on how you are individually because in the end when you make it, you should know that it happened because you were UNIQUE and people chose you for that. 

Inoubliable Model Army: What makes you "Inoubliable"(Unforgettable)?
NS: For starters, my name and then when you get to know me... you just never forget ;-)!

Dr. Ninja Singh
Image courtesy of Ninja Singh

Elle India - July 2012
Photographer - Tarun Vishwa
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Anjum Fakih, Ninja Singh & Tara Kurian
Marie Claire India - September 2011
Photographer - Unknown
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Elle India - July 2012
Photographer - Tarun Vishwa
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