New Delhi: She made dusky look stylish on the Indian ramp and is still among the favourite models of the country's top-notch designers. Nayanika Chatterjee, who has been around for over two decades, says the country's models need a structured organisation to streamline remuneration and other issues.
"There is no organised structure for models and that is what I feel bad about," Nayanika told IANS when asked about her take on the current modelling industry.
Pay is a hassle.
"We are still fighting with unknown clients to get paid. There is no structure, there is no honesty, so I feel that aspect hasn't improved. By and large, we are still fighting for basic conditions and rights, and I feel that the absence of a model union is also the reason why we have no one to turn to," stressed the mother of a daughter, who's on the cusp of becoming a teen.
Nayanika, who has walked the runways for the country's best designers, says she even tried to form a model union but her efforts went in vain as junior models retorted that since they had to pay their bills, they would continue modelling even with a "bad deal".
Over the years, "nothing has changed at all", Nayanika lamented, adding: "Look at the way models are treated abroad, and see the conditions here. There is a huge difference. Look at (international supermodel) Naomi Campbell who has a personal stylist and a make-up team.
"You think Nayanika will get her personal make-up artist? I think people will turn and ask, 'Is she an actress?'"
Nayanika, who has worked with the likes of Madhu Sapre and Milind Soman and rides the ramp like fashion's own warrior princess, is a staple at fashion events across the country. She often opens and ends shows, and does so with a panache that several younger models lack.
However, she is surprised with the increasing influx of international models in the country.
"The influx of foreigners in the modelling industry is noteworthy. It has become an obsession with Indians. They (the designers) are making foreigners wear ghaghras too, and it doesn't make any sense to me.
"I can understand that even in New York, Milan and Paris, models are from all over the world, but what is the point of using foreigners for ethnic clothes?" she questioned.
But all's not negative about the modelling world as they don't have to rehearse for too long these days, said the tall, slim and fit Nayanika.
"Even though there are bad things in the industry, there is a lot of good things too and that's why I am still at it," she said, and asserted that she will only retire "the day I have to run around and ask someone for a job".
Married to former TV actor-cum-businessman Gurpreet Singh, she also runs the Nayanika Chaterjee Grooming Academy here where she imparts grooming tips to aspiring models.
"I teach modelling there. I have three workshops - one is specifically for people who want to do modelling. The other one is make-up workshop. The third one is a full grooming course, where I tell a person how to dress according to body type and various other factors," she said.