Friday, February 7, 2014

Exclusive Interview - Pritika Swarup

With diversity being a major drawcard for casting directors and designers throughout the Spring/Summer 2014 show season, exotic newcomer Pritika Swarup looks poised for a stunning debut at the Fall/Winter 2014 collections. Standing out in a room full of impossibly beautiful faces is no easy feat, however Swarup's sharp angular features and equally en-pointe black Alexander Wang outfit enabled her to cut through the haze of the 200+ models in attendance at the castings for Natalie Joos. Blessed with expressive crescent-shaped eyes, a strong brow line, and cheekbones to die for, Swarup is a photographer's dream. Recent editorial appearances for Love Magazine and Revista 192, in addition to being singled out by WWD as a promising newcomer, have placed the 176 cm eighteen year old ingenue on high alert for the impending Fall/Winter 2014 season.

Swarup's bi-racial Indian and British heritage lend her a distinctive look which is impossible to pigeonhole. On film Swarup displays startling versatility, morphing from sultry vixen to genuine wide-eyed innocent, all within a few clicks of the camera's lens. Watching Swarup in action as she presented her walk before casting director Natalie Joos with the precision of a panther stalking its prey, IMA was left in no doubt as to the significant arrival of a bonafide star in the making. Represented by Women Direct, Swarup's gradual exposure to the market has been guided with pin-point precision to elicit interest from key industry players such as Love Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Katie Grand. Swarup took a break from the freezing cold New York weather conditions in between castings to get IMA up to speed on her Fashion Week preparations, her wardrobe essentials, and her take on the fashion's multi-hued runways.

Pritika Swarup
Photographer - Victoria Shubayeva
Image courtesy of Women Direct

Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Hi Pritika, thank you for taking time out from your busy NYFW preparations to chat with IMA. What are your expectations going into your official debut season and do you enjoy being amidst the chaos of castings, fittings, show preparations?
Pritika Swarup (PS): I expected to be intrigued and amazed by every aspect of Fashion Week. It will be exhilarating to be a part of it especially the organised chaos.

IMA: As a brand new face at Women Direct, would you mind sharing your backstory with IMA?
PS: I just turned 18 and am from Virginia Beach. I am bi-racial, Indian and English. I was discovered in December 2012 by Daryl Washington at Disney World and moved shortly thereafter to New York to be closer to my trade.

IMA: Success in modelling is contingent on careful strategic planning, timing, and patience on the part of the model. How have Women Direct been guiding your career path and what do you value most about your working relationships with your agents?
PS: My agent at Women Direct, Victoria Shubayeva, has been instrumental in my development with exquisite care in the planning and branding of my name and image within the industry. I am grateful to the entire team at Women Direct for their tireless efforts in guiding my development. With many years of collective experience, Women Direct allows me the luxury of trusting them to select and choose what they perceive to be the most opportune situations for me. This combination of professional excellence along with personalised attention is invaluable. My agency's commitment to giving 100% to every model means a lot.

IMA: What did you learn from doing the rounds of castings during the Spring/Summer 2014 season and are you looking forward to the Fall/Winter 2014 shows?
PS: I experienced first-hand the rigours of Fashion Week and let me tell you, I will use all of those experiences to further prepare for the Fall/Winter 2014 shows. During this crazy time, I became so in tune with myself; I learned to really stay focused and no matter what the conditions were, to always be optimistic. I'm looking forward to the Fall/Winter 2014 show season and I already feel better prepared for it.

Revista 192 Magazine - December 2013
Photographer - Anna Wolf
Image courtesy of Women Direct

Love Magazine - S/S 2014
Photographer - Boo George
Image courtesy of Women Direct

WWD - September 2013
Photographer - Jason Kim
Source -

IMA: Recently you were profiled by WWD as a promising newcomer to look out for. Are you surprised by the media and industry attention given that there are so many new girls vying for industry exposure?
PS: It was a privilege and honour to be profiled by WWD as a promising new face. I feel fortunate and blessed that the media in the industry are focusing attention on me in a field where there are so many new faces.

IMA: Diversity has been a contentious issue in modelling for eons with much of the focus being on black and Asian models. The few models of South Asian descent that have attained international recognition include Yasmeen Ghauri, Ujjwalla Raut, Rohini Tinwari, Lakshmi Menon, and Sonia Dara. What do you feel are the key factors which have contributed to the poor representation on South Asian models in fashion?
PS: A better understanding of the significant value of the international market including that of the Asian market, should motivate designers and cosmetic companies to increase their representation by models of South Asian descent.

IMA: Diversity was embraced by many casting directors for the Spring/Summer 2014 collections with Givenchy featuring newcomers Egyptian/Moroccan Imaan Hammam and African-American/Filipino Sherita Dehon, and Burberry showcasing Indian beauty Neelam Johal. How does it feel to be part of this vibrant emerging group of multi-ethnic collective of newcomers who are reshaping modelling's landscape?
PS: I am extremely excited and pleased to see the expanded consciousness of designers such as Givenchy to include multi-ethnic casts. I look forward to being part of this as a multi-racial individual. It's an exciting time in the fashion industry where many designers are broadening their scope.

IMA: A model's sense of style plays a pivotal role at castings and even more so off-duty with the rise of street style photographers and bloggers. How would you describe your street style and which three designers best reflect your fashion aesthetic?
PS: Every person's style is unique to that individual and models are no exception. For me, my sense of style is eclectic with a combination of different designers, most notably Givenchy, Saint Laurent, and Alexander Wang. I like to mix and match accessories such as a bold black hat or my Christian Louboutin heels which I have a weakness for.

Pritika Swarup
Photographer - Victoria Shubayeva
Image courtesy of Women Direct

Photographer - Xi Sinsong
Image courtesy of Women Direct

IMA: How have you adjusted to the frenetic pace of life in New York since relocating from Virginia? What do you appreciate most about New York City, and where are your favourite hangouts?
PS: After living here for a couple of months, I've found NYC to be a better fit for my personality than Virginia. Although I love the peace and quiet of Virginia, NYC is more my speed. I especially enjoy the international lifestyle of the city with the huge diversity in people and restaurants. I have many favourite hangouts including Lavo, Tao, and the General. I love the vibe of these places and the food is always delicious!

IMA: What do you hope to achieve through modelling and do you have any specific long-term modelling goals. What career path would you have chosen if modelling hadn't intervened?
PS: Women Direct is committed to branding my image and name; I'd like to represent a brand such as Givenchy and one of my long-term goals is to be the face of one of the major cosmetics companies. Had modelling not intervened, I would have pursued law or business, though modelling is a business in its own right.

IMA: Beauty nowadays is only part of a model's total package, what qualities do you bring to the fore which you hope to add to your overall allure?
PS: I bring a unique energy, commitment, and really, true sincerity. That being said, I like to combine that with edginess, creativity, and a dash of spunk.

IMA: What aspects have you found most surprising about the modelling industry as a result of your experiences?
PS: I never expected to meet such a diverse group of individuals from photographers to make-up artists, stylists and other models. It's truly been one of my favourite parts of this journey so far.

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
PS: Everybody is unique and I'm no exception. My uniqueness is a combination of my bi-racial ethnicity by which many have categorised me as a "global child" and beyond the physical I feel that I differ from the typical mould of this serious industry. I'm a mix of energy, wit, enthusiasm, drive, sassiness, and I enjoy being my engaging eccentric self.

Pritika Swarup
Photographer - Dimitri Hyacinthe
Image courtesy of Women Direct

Special thanks to Victoria Shubayeva at Women Direct. For more information on Women Direct, please log onto

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