New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Pouted face, size zero body, perfect gait with no trace of tiredness...behind that extraordinary creature on the runway during a fashion week is hard work and untold stress.
Here's the story of Alesia Raut who has been a fashion week model for 10 years and is also a single mother. She was among the more than 10 models participating in the just concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW).
'For every show, we have to change our clothes at least three times and we get just two minutes to do that,' Alesia Raut, 29, who is part-Indian and part-Russian, told IANS.
'It gets really stressful, people sitting in the Main Show Area (MSA) don't get to see what happens backstage. It's really hectic.'
She walked the ramp for designers like Manish Malhotra, Varun Bahl, Ritu Kumar, Arjun Saluja, Charu Parashar and Tarun Tahiliani in the WIFW. The participating models were aged 18-32 years.
Alesia said the preparation for a fashion week starts much in advance. 'I prepare my personal wardrobe 10 days in advance. So there is less stress,' she said.
'I try to wake up an hour early to complete my religious activities like chanting to keep cool. I try to get a peaceful, heavy breakfast with my model friends at the venue and take a power nap in between shows to maintain stamina,' she added.
Praising the organisers of WIFW, she said: 'There are more than 40 shows for five regular days, so time plays a big role in getting everything at place. Thankfully, WIFW is very organised with a good amount of money, so it's going smoothly.'
This Mumbai-based model has been in the business since 2001 and is a regular at the Lakme Fashion Week. A commerce graduate, she was spotted by choreographer Achala Sachdeva, who became her mentor.
Raut is a single mom who says she walked away from an abusive relationship and took custody of her four-year-old son Mark.
'It becomes hectic sometimes to get into the correct mood. But Mark always comes in my priority list and I can't say no to him. I make sure before I head out for the fashion week or any assignment that I say goodbye to Mark in his sleep.'
'I have to complete his requirement no matter how tired I am. It's always an amazing feeling to see a smile on his face,' she said.
Raut likes to be in this business because she can pick and choose her assignments.
'A fashion week can be termed as a very stressful exercise but we, as models, are fortunate to get an option to pick and choose our assignments; so we can take a day off if feeling very tired, and this somehow helps being rejuvenated,' she said.
'During my first fashion week in 2001, I was one of the new faces. At the end of the week our backstage person announced that among new models I was one of the fastest to change clothes. That really boosted me a lot and till date designers choose to give me the garments which takes a lot of time to change,' she said.
Apart from the bi-annual fashion weeks, the country also hosts umpteen independent fashion shows. So how does one keep the peace?
'When at work, I try to be myself throughout the day as this is the only solution to remain calm and relaxed,' she said.
'Also, I try to keep a line between my personal and professional life as this is the best way to avoid conflict,' Raut told IANS.
(Nivedita Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)