Supermodel” is definitely not the first word that comes to my mind when Vipasha Agarwal walks in 20 minutes late, to meet me in the deserted Vie Deck & Lounge on Mumbai’s Juhu Beach, on a cloudy Saturday afternoon.
The lounge opens only after 4 p.m. and we have taken special permission (and ensured that the kitchen and bar is open as well) so that we can chat and shoot pictures without being disturbed.
Vipasha walks in wearing a flowing white dress, flashes a charming smile and skips over the wooden floorboard where the persistent Mumbai drizzle, aided by the stiff sea breeze, has created a puddle, before taking her seat.
She has no airs of being a “star” as you would expect one of India’s highest-paid models to have. She looks cute, but—well, how do I explain this—not quite like a “model.” Not someone who has graced the cover of half a dozen India’s leading fashion magazines. No way.
|“The ramp doesn’t pay that much. And I feel there’s too much negative energy sometimes. There is too much politics”|
She also doesn’t walk the ramp regularly any more, preferring to do only the grand finale at the Lakme Fashion Week or a few shows for friends Wendell Rodericks and Rakesh Agarwal.
“The ramp doesn’t pay that much. And I feel there’s too much negative energy sometimes. There is too much politics among the girls in the industry,” she says. She is also the face of Lakme, the cover girl for Elite and has done a series of campaigns for L’Oreal. “I enjoy shoots. You get to learn new things everytime,” she says.
The pictures have been clicked and the bags packed. We sweet-talk Vipasha into taking us to her 15th floor sea-facing apartment on Yari Road, to capture the IT girl in her den. Inside the aesthetically-furnished flat, Vishesh and I make some tea (Earl Grey, just in case you wondered) while Vipasha changes into a new dress, after being coaxed and cajoled by us as well as Vishesh to don something sexy. “I love whites. And I enjoy wearing backless dresses. Just shows off my sexiest part, I guess,” she laughs.
So, is that her sexiest asset? “Well, my face, too. What do you think,” she asks. Vishesh gives a knowing smile. But he won’t reveal any more! There were rumours she is Ram Gopal Varma’s muse, is she? “I haven’t even met him,” she laughs.
Seems like the sari magnate’s daughter is set to put her MBA degree to use after all. Are her parents ok with her live-in relationship? “They know about Vishesh,” is her short reply. It’s late evening and Vipasha is all set to head for Out of the Blue—a chic diner in the posh Bandra suburb—dressed in—you guessed it right—a black backless number.
Inside trackBorn: In Banaras, 1985
Educated: St John’s Mehrauli in Banaras; MBA from Amity University, Noida
First job: An ad shoot for Art Karat Jewellery
First pay: Rs 10,000
Current rate: Between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh per day for a shoot (approximately)
Passions: Loves chocolate cakes and chocolate shakes
Walked the ramp for: Ranna Gill, Satya Paul, Ritu Kumar, Tarun Tahiliani, Raghavendra Rathore, etc.
Biggest campaigns: Brand ambassador for Garnier, Lakme, Rosy Blue Diamonds, face of Seagrams, Tanishq, Monte Carlo, Oberoi, Titan, among others
She does like buying clothes; she tries three dresses before settling for the black one. The evenings aren’t always free for this 20-something femme, since shoots and shows are often lined up back-to-back.
|“I enjoy wearing backless dresses. Just shows off my sexiest part, I guess,” she laughs. So, is that her sexiest asset? “Well, my face, too. What do you think?”|
As she gorges on a sandwich and a chocolate shake, I ask her how she maintains her wafer-thin figure, so essential for a model. “I don’t go to the gym at all. I just walk every day. That’s about it. And yes, I love chocolate cakes and chocolate shakes,” she says. Not quite the answer you would expect from a superfit woman!
So, what else does she do with her money? “I am not so much of a brand person. Though, recently, when I was in Germany, I picked up a lot of stuff from Berlin and Dresden. I love dresses and accessories and D&G, Nautica and Chadwick’s are some of my favourites. I also love lamps and my house has lamps from everywhere—London and Paris to the ones I picked up from Linking Road in Mumbai,” she says.
“She is a small-town girl who has managed to create a niche for herself as a top model through sheer determination and hard work. Today, she is one of the most successful commercial models in the industry and a favourite of all photographers.”
“Vipasha can look so different in every campaign that, even after five years in the industry, there is never a dearth of new assignments. She is also the darling of fashion designers, having done campaigns for Tarun Tahiliani, Ritu Kumar, Rana Gill, and Rakesh Agarwal to name a few. She is one of the few Indian faces to have done international assignments,” she adds.
While Vipasha ponders her next move—whether to finally agree to sport a bikini and do a few more international campaigns (she rejected IMG’s offer last year since they wanted bikini shots)—one thing is clear: the petite girl from Banaras still calls the shots in the catty world of modelling in India.
With Inputs from Anumeha Chaturvedi