Nafeesah Ahmed speaks to Nathy, winner of the KF Calendar Hunt 2012, who shares her experience on what it was like in this boot-camp-like reality show.
Katrina Kaif, Yaana Gupta, Deepika Padukone, Nargis Fakhri and Angela Jonsson are names of a few of those beautiful and definitely lucky girls who’ve graced the pages of the celebrated
Kingfisher calendar. The latest to join the bandwagon is Nathalia Pinheiro. This Brazilian-Indian model was crowned the winner on the show Hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2012, on NDTV Good Times. Nathalia, the bubbly 21-year-old, or Nathy, as she is fondly known to all, is riding high on the success of her win and describes it as the best moment of her life.
Nathy, a wild card entry into the competition where she had to battle it out with 14 other contestants, says, “It was a tough fight but over the course of the show I met such wonderful people — the entire crew, the judges and even the girls, to my surprise, were very nice. If it hadn’t been for their support, this win could have remained an impossible dream”
The mix of girls chosen to compete for the prestigious title was as varied as it could get. Nine weeks of challenging tasks, one tougher than the other, saw the contestants at their competitive best. It seemed the girls would stop at nothing to get closer to achieving their ultimate goal — a spot on the tenth edition of the much sought after calendar. It was ace photographer Atul Kasbekar who had conceptualised the calendar. But he attributes its iconic success over the years to Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman of the UB Group, for making it one of the biggest platforms for aspiring models today.
Atul says, “What began as the pursuit of artistic expression and some world class photography is now, to our delight, also a method to discover some of the best
models, some of whom have gone on to add a lot of value to the industry in India and in the process, do really well for themselves.” Speaking on the third season of the ‘hunt’ on television, he adds: “The reality show has today become a boot camp for the contestants and has helped them evolve as models.” He also mentions that regardless of winning, the show “opens up doors of opportunities for girls.”
Constantly referred to as ‘angels’ on the show, the contestants were put through gruelling tasks and challenging photographic assignments. Be it striking sultry poses on a bare-back camel, dangling from a giant cobweb crafted out of ropes, seducing funnyman Cyrus Broacha or getting dipped in a bathtub of chocolate to pose as a stunning trophy, “it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea,” as Ujjwala Raut, international model and one of the judges on the show, puts it. When asked if the show reminded her of her earlier modelling days, Ujjwala said, “We had no reality shows during our time and being on TV was nerve-wracking. We were not exposed to international magazines and brands like we are today, nor did we have anyone to mentor us.” Incidentally, Ujjwala, who was part of the inaugural edition of the Kingfisher calendar, feels that it is easier to learn the ropes of modelling as you mature and not have everything thrown at you at once.
But, despite the challenges, triumphs and disappointments involved, most of the contestants agree that the experience has been well worth it. In Nathy’s words, the show taught her to be “more patient” and “I learnt to handle stressful situations better.”
On the subject of her interaction with the three judges, she adds, “Ujjwala and Milind were kind enough to mentor and guide us, sharing lots of tips on our modelling tasks at hand. We all learnt so much from them.” She is all praise for Atul, for working with him is “a great learning experience,” as he manages to make you comfortable and brings out your best.
For someone who stepped into the world of modelling at the young age of 14, Nathy says, “Modelling happened because I wanted to be financially independent.” But, what was more impressive was that Nathy is a trained opera singer and was studying to be a lawyer before she came down to India. “I love talking and enjoy being in intelligent debates all the time.
Thus, law would have been the ideal profession for me,” she laughingly reveals. This Brazilian-Indian beauty was so enamoured by Bollywood and the glitz and glamour surrounding it that she decided to take up acting, dancing and diction classes, prior to her entry into the
Kingfisher calendar girl hunt. “I’ve never imagined myself being an actress, but ever since I have come to India, I have been amazed at how people respond to your work in films. The Kingfisher calendar is a platform through which people come to know you and want to know you. This is my biggest chance to show my work to the world. This is my time!”