Being a Navy kid, I kept shuttling between Delhi, Kochi and Bombay – changing schools, adapting to new landscapes, making new friends. Through my school years, having grown up with boys, sports and athletics have been my favourite pastimes. My artistic outlets were through literature and writing – the love for which culminated in a degree in English Literature from St. Xaviers College in Bombay.
How modeling happened to you? Did it bring the changes along?
My first brush with modeling for local brands in Cochin during my school days, but I never took it seriously until designer James Ferreira spotted me when friends and I were filming for a project in Khotachiwadi, and suggested that I should consider modeling seriously. I then entered the Kochi International Fashion week, which then led to participation in the Hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar girl 2012, and there has been no looking back since.
Actually, modeling comes with many pre-conceived notions – like models are anorexic; they are paid less vis-à-vis their International counterparts; the industry predominantly works in cliques; and blah blah. What’s your take on it?
They say there is no smoke without fire; but said that, people love to stereotype. The world of modeling is especially subject to it because one has to live their life in such a public eye. While I can speak for others, from my personal experience, never has anyone commented on physical characteristics as a deterrent. In my experience, if the model fits the role, she will be taken for it. The rest depends on the work attitude and ethic one maintains on the professional front. As for payment, it works like it does in any part of the world, the better your work, and the more you are known for it, the better position one is in to command a higher pay scale. At the end of the day, it is your work that speaks volumes.
How was your experience at Kingfisher Calendar Girl Hunt? Any biases?
The hunt has been an eye opener for me. It gave me a taste of the real world of modeling and whetted my appetite. Being mentored by supermodels Milind Soman and Ujjwala Raut, I could not have asked for a better platform. It was a fun experience, especially the kind of tasks we were made to perform to give a good photo. Since then, I have not climbed any branches or spider-webs to pose, but one can always hope.
How is Mariette as a person? What does she like to do when not modeling?
Entering this industry after completing my education, I feel, has given me a better perspective on how to approach situation, and how to handle them while maintaining my dignity. I am a fun person, always ready to try new things. Am super excited with the endless possibility that the modeling world presents, and hopefully, will get to fulfill my dream of travelling to every single country in the world at least once.
While I am not modeling, I love to travel and explore new places, else reading and writing is my relaxant. When I do have the time and energy, a game of basketball is always fun.
What is beauty for you?
Confidence, and the ability to be humble in the face of any situation. Humility is underrated in our generation.
How do you see nudity in fashion world? Is it meant to raise the hackles only? Or, is it creatively expressive?
As clichéd as it may sound, I think if dealt with in an aesthetic manner, it is art. We need to move past our regressive sensibilities and look beyond the flesh to see what the photographer or the artist is attempting to convey through his model. As an audience, there is a certain amount of education and open-mindedness needed to understand the art form that is presented.
Which designers have you worked with? Whom do you find appealing your aesthetic senses most?
I have worked with Indian designers such as James Ferreira, Jattin Kochchar, Archana
Kochchar, Delna Poonawalla among others. I love James Ferreira’s cuts and colours for an evening out and Delna Poonawalla’s outfits for a lovely casual day out.
Which other projects have you graced with your presence? Any specific one you reveled most?
I have had the privilege to work with the brands I have, but the fun ones were Coca Cola
India’s 2012 print ad campaign, the ad campaign for Arola – J.W. Marriott – Juhu’s restaurant, and for TVC – the most fun by far was when I played the fisherwoman in the first ever TVC for the Bombay Times, entitled “Born Glamorous”
Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
Many dreams and so many paths and possibilities outlines themselves for me at this juncture, but as a person, I see myself being well travelled, experienced in the world of modeling, and hopefully having stepped into the world of film as well – not just in India but internationally as well.
What’s your beauty and fitness regime?
I drink lots of water and eat as much green veggies as I can in a day. I also almost never miss a meal. I also love my meat and have it for at least one meal a day. To keep fit, I run outdoors, and do a bit of yoga at home. I am averse to gyms and have not been able to step into one as yet. I would love to learn a form of marital arts sometime.
What is your idea of an ideal date?
An ideal date is one where I am pleasantly surprised, both by the company and what we do for the date. It would be great to do something different from just dinner and a movie.
What’s your style statement?
Clean and classic. I tend to go for more structured looks, though mostly, I am a shorts, tee and sneakers kind of girl.
Food you like to gorge on: Fruits and sandwiches
What makes you laugh out loud: Funny people
When do you feel sexy: When I am dressed to impress
The man you find irresistible: Hugh Jackman
The woman whom you look up to: My mother
Music you love to listen: Anything except electronic and trance (no discotheque type
Book you have got zeroed in recently: Alternating between J.K. Rowling’s Casual
Vacancy, Tom Robbins : Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates and Devdutt Patnaik’s “Jaya: an illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata”
Perfect Holiday Destination: Thailand was beautiful, but I hope to hit South America
soon. Never go to the same place twice if I can help it.
The photographer you appreciate: I have been very lucky to work with some great names in the business, whose aesthetic sense teaches me a lot about myself, and helps me grow as a model. I hope to be able to continue working with the best in the industry.