Year of the Indian beauties

Year of the Indian beauties

It has been quite a year for the Indian community in Singapore. Indian beauty has been celebrated locally, with the winners of two prestigious pageants and a modelling competition being Indians.

In August, 23-year-old Rathi Menon was crowned Miss Universe Singapore 2014. The following month saw the coronation of Miss Dalreena Poonam Gill, 20, as Miss World Singapore 2014. In October, the title of The New Paper New Face 2014 went to 15-year-old Diya Prabhakar.

Such a trifecta is unprecedented in a country as multiracial as Singapore.

BALLERINA BEAUTY

At 15, Diya Prabhakar has already racked up quite a resume: She has done eight years of ballet and completed the intermediate stage, has two years of modelling experience, and is now the winner of The New Paper New Face 2014.

She is also taking her O levels this year.

In an interview with tabla!, she admitted that it does get overwhelming at times. Her secret? Keeping a schedule and prioritising her work.

She tries to finish up her schoolwork whenever she has time, since castings often crop up at the last minute.

In Singapore's exam-oriented society, Diya is taking an unconventional route in modelling while studying.

Her parents, Mr A. Prabhakar, a 48-year-old director of a restaurant, and Mrs Asha Prabhakar, a 46-year-old housewife, have had their judgment called into question.

While they appreciate the concern, "as parents, we want to support Diya no matter what she chooses to do. We make our decisions based on what makes her happy and what is good for her", Mrs Prabhakar said.

For the most part, their friends are very supportive, and share their pride in what Diya has achieved in the industry at such a young age.

While it was industry insiders who encouraged her to take part in the competition, it was with her parents' support that she knew she could manage both the competition and her studies, especially since this is her O-level year.

Her parents regularly ferry her back and forth between school, photo shoots and modelling sessions, and her mother accompanied her during rehearsals for the competition.

Diya's big break came during a family vacation to Bangalore two years ago. She was at a fashion show at a mall when Indian fashion guru Prasad Bidapa spotted her.

He called her to his office the next day so he could see her walk - the day after that she was modelling on stage.

With her experience in modelling and in competitions, she found that The New Paper New Face competition was very different from being on the runway.

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