While on vacation to visit her grandparents in Bangalore two years ago, a chance opportunity led New Paper New Face 2014 winner Diya Prabhakar to kickstart her modelling career.
The 15-year-old Singaporean was attending a fashion show at a mall there when she was spotted by renowned Indian fashion choreographer Prasad Bidapa.
"He asked me to go to his office the next day to see how I walk. And the following day, I was up on stage modelling in the mall," recounts the 1.82m-tall Tampines Secondary School student.
Although Diya had no experience in modelling, she possessed a poise honed from years of ballet.
Together with her pretty wide eyes and chiselled features, it is easy to see why she has already chalked up an impressive resume in the last two years.
Represented by local modelling agency Looque, she has walked in around 10 high-profile shows. She modelled for Ashley Isham, Oscar De La Renta and Desigual at the Audi Fashion Festival 2014, as well as for Frederic Sai, Thomas Wee, Al & Alicia and Topshop during the Digital Fashion Week 2013.
Currently studying for her O levels this year, Diya juggles school and modelling by cutting back on her social life.
"I have to tell my friends I can't meet them because I will either be at castings or studying."
It also helps that her parents - a restaurant director and a housewife - ferry her around for shoots.
"I eat, change and put on make-up in the car," she says.
The models she looks up to?
"Coco Rocha because she really knows how to pose and is seldom pictured in revealing outfits. I'm conservative and don't like to show off too much of my body," she tells Urban.
"I also love Gisele Bundchen because she is gorgeous, has a successful career and a family. I want to be like her when I grow up."
8 THINGS IN HER BAG
1. MICHAEL KORS WALLET
My dad bought this for me as a birthday present last year. It was also a gift to mark my first year in modelling.
I catch up on my reading when I'm waiting in between shoots and castings on set. I'm currently reading J.D. Salinger's Catcher In The Rye.
3. M.A.C STROBE CREAM
The beauty adviser at the counter recommended that I apply this before I layer on my foundation to look better in pictures. And my skin does get a subtle glow and look more radiant on camera.
4. THE BODY SHOP ALL-IN-ONE BB CREAM
This is the easiest thing to put on before I go for castings. It moisturises my skin and I don't have to put powder on top.
5. NEUTROGENA DEEP CLEAN OIL-FREE MAKEUP REMOVER CLEANSING WIPES
I get breakouts if I leave make-up on my skin for too long. So I always remove it as soon as I can. I keep this in my bag because sometimes, I have to remove my make-up and go back to school after a casting.
6. BURT'S BEES REJUVENATING LIP BALM WITH ACAI BERRY
I like this because it gives my lips long-lasting moisture. I buy it in bulk online on Amazon.
7. PORTABLE CHARGER
At the shoots and shows, I have to be on set the whole day. I cannot live without my phone and this helps to keep it charged.
8. COACH PERFUME
My aunt gave this to me when she was visiting from the United States.
This article was first published on Oct 17, 2014.
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