A part Indian and part Sri Lankan, Fiona Thomas grew up in Australia loving animals, hitting beaches and hugging fashion. Urged by her mum she perfunctorily joined modeling to eventually fall for it exploring the whole new horizons, personally and worldly. The laid back footloose Fiona lives for the moment laughing wending her way indecisively but passionately.
The shutter candy, Fiona has had walked for the designers like Christopher Kane and Wayne Cooper. Now, recently having shot the Kingfisher Swimsuit Special 2011, Fiona is all set to scorch the dramatic, energetic, bollywood influenced Indian fashion. Here is Fiona Thomas in all her flesh, blood and soul.
Tell us briefly about your formative years and academics?
I grew up in sunny Perth, Australia as a bit of a tomboy and beach bum. After high school I went on to study commerce, majoring in Accounting & Business Law at University after deciding business was the direction I wanted my career to head in and ended up working as an accountant for 2.5 years before I was presented with the opportunity to model fulltime in India in 2010.
How you bumped into your first assignment? How it changed your life?
I had a model scout approach my mum about me modeling through a local agency when I was 19. My mum has always been on my back about trying modeling from a young age so I decided to join up to earn some extra cash on my days off and see how things went. It really lifted my confidence and forced me to come out of my shell because I was quite a shy teenager. It opened the doors to this whole other world that I never really knew existed.
What did you aspire to become as kid?
When I was younger I always wanted to become a veterinarian because of my love for animals but since I discovered my lack of love for the sight of blood that line of work became out of question.
How is it working for latest the Kingfisher Swimsuit Special 2011?
It was an amazing experience to be apart of the 2011 calendar and shoot with Atul Kasbekar. Mauritius was such a stunning location, the crew and the girls were so much fun to work with and be around so at times it hardly felt like work at all. It was an honour to be chosen for such a sought after assignment and the photos I’ve seen have turned out absolutely gorgeous.
Modeling comes with a short shelf life so where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?
It absolutely does and I think that’s where a lot of girls falter in not having something to fall back on in terms of career. I see a number of different options for me, I could either go back to working as an accountant, combine my love for fashion and business and start a fashion label or boutique or I may follow my love for animals and somehow work with something like animal rescue or animal adoption. It’s so hard to predict, I barely have an idea of what I’ll be doing in 6 months time these days so I just have to see what opportunities come up for me.
In this cut throat competitive industry being flooded by the girls around the world, what’s your success mantra?
I think it’s all about being true to your self and staying in a positive frame of mind. It is a very competitive industry so I try to not take things too personally. There are going to be jobs where I will be perfect for and others which I’m just not suited to so it’s a matter of coming to terms with this and not letting things get you down.
What’s your take on drug abuse and suicides which are so prevalent in the modeling industry?
I think these are serious problems that exist in all industries, but unfortunately for some reason the fashion industry has always been given a bad wrap in regards to it. I feel like it may be used as a coping mechanism for an industry that can be tough emotionally and physically, but its a problem that can be overcome. I think its important for people to know there is certainly better ways to deal with the stress and long hours. Having a strong support network whether it be friends and family is something that I think is important to keep life on track.
Which designers have you worked with nationally and internationally? Whom do you find appealing your aesthetic senses most?
I have worked with a number of different Indian designers through fashion weeks and individual projects. I have also worked with International designers such as Christopher Kane, Wayne Cooper, Ruth Tarvydas, Timothy Godbold, Kooey, Ae’lkemi and Pierucci. I’m a big fan of Manish Malhotra because he has an eye for what suits a woman’s body and looks sexy, glamorous and stylish all at the same time.
How is Indian Modeling Industry different than rest of the world? How has been your experience here?
The Indian modeling industry is fairly new when compared it to the rest of the world but it has come a long way in such a short span of time. It’s very distinct and is unlike any other that I’ve experienced and is run very differently. India has a certain spirit and energy about it and it comes across through its fashion. One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed is how Indian designers want models to walk, it’s a lot more energetic and dramatic, I think it has a touch of Bollywood influence which makes it very unique. I’ve loved the experience and after the initial adjustments it’s a very welcoming industry.
How is Fiona as a person? What does she like to do when not modeling?
I’m a relatively shy person when you first meet me but I’m warm, bubbly, always laughing and forever indecisive. If I’m not at work you can usually find me out shopping, by the pool or beach, with friends partying or hanging out at home with family and my cats.
Which is the most cherished moment in your modeling career?
I cherish a shoot I did at the Kumbh Mela in 2010 for L’Officiel. Apart from the stunning photos that were produced and simply being at the Ganges, it was more the opportunity to be in Haridwar at such a spiritual time and experience this with 10 million fellow Indians. It was a once in a life time opportunity and something I would never have had the privilege to experience if not for the line of work I’m in.
What’s your beauty and fitness regime?
I’m a self confessed product junky and am always trying new beauty products that hit the market but my routine always stays the same. My twice a day beauty regime is light exfoliation and cleanse to remove any makeup or impurities, followed by applying eye cream and moisturizer with SPF to keep skin supple and protected. To stay in shape I try to do at least half an hour of exercise a day whether its cardio on the treadmill, a walk or a swim. If things are too complicated there’s more chance you’ll just skip it altogether so the key is keeping things simple.
What is your idea of an ideal date?
Something relaxed, romantic that makes me feel special. I love a home cooked meal or something where I know the guy has really thought about what I would enjoy.
What’s your style statement?
I would describe my style as classic feminine chic. I like flowy, delicate, feminine clothes and I like to contrast these with an edgy pair of boots, sandals or accessories.
FAVORITE FOOD: I love mostly anything Italian, Chinese & North Indian
FAVORITE PERFUME: Its constantly changing but my current favorite is Thierry Mugler – Angel
FAVORITE LINGERIE BRAND: Victoria’s Secret
FAVORITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION: New York
FAVORITE MOVIE: Primal Fear
FAVORITE BOOK: Back on Track: Diary of a Street Kid by Margaret Clark
THING YOU ARE ADDICTED TO: Shopping
YOU ARE SCARED OF: Heights
MUSIC YOU LOVE TO LISTEN: It depends on my mood but generally R&B or House
THE MAN YOU FIND HOTTEST: Johnny Depp
FAVORITE SHOPPING DESTINATION: Vietnam
YOUR ROLE MODEL IN LIFE: My Parents
GUILTY PLEASURE: Jalebis.