Meet Balenciaga’s First Indian Model


Balenciaga is only in its second season under Demna Gvasalia, but that’s proven more than enough time for the Georgian designer to make his mark. His unorthodox approach has touched everything from the house’s ads to its leather goods—and it’s led to some interesting casting choices for his runway shows. More often than not, Demna favors unusual looking personalities over classically pretty models and he’s not afraid to send his scouts to far-flung destinations in order to track down his vision of what’s beautiful.

That’s precisely how his team found Radhika Nair in India only a few months ago. The twenty-five-year-old was already working as a model slash photographer in her hometown of Mumbai, but recently inked a contract with Ford Models and was booked as an exclusive in the Spring 2017 show. She’s the first Indian model to walk for Balenciaga and if Demna loves her enough to fly her halfway around the world, you can be sure that we’ll be seeing Radhika around:

Tell us about how you became interested in modeling?

“My friends in Mumbai set me up with some small-time model agents who helped place newcomers in little adverts. I was still in college at the time and it wasn’t a serious at all, but I thought I’d give it go.”

When did you get your first big break in India?

“I booked my first big modeling job in 2012. It was for Bunglow 8 and I thought it was amazing!”

How did you come to be cast for Balenciaga

“The Balenciaga team held castings in India and said that they wanted to meet me, so I went to see them. After that, everything followed pretty quickly and I was booked for the show.”

What does it mean to you to be the house’s first Indian model?

“I didn’t know that I was at the time, but I guess I’ve made the folks back home proud. I feel really lucky.”

What was it like to walk in an international show for first time?

“The show was a breeze. Before it, I was just chatting with everyone and trying to get to know some of the other models and the hair and makeup artists. The Balenciaga team is full of such special people. After it all wrapped, I felt relieved and celebrated with a glass of champagne. It was a good day!”

Did you have any pre-show nerves?

“Every time I felt anxious, I would concentrate on my breathing. I find that it really helps to calm me. The shoes I had to wear were a little scary, but it was a matter of luck with them so I just resolved to give it my best. It was just me and the runway when it was showtime. I didn’t notice the audience at all.”

What is the best modeling advice you’ve been given?

“You’ve got nothing to prove.”

What do you do to stay in shape for your job?

“I wish I did more, but mainly I just take care to eat good food. I drop weight really quickly, so eating is what really drives my days. I eat all the meals, all the time, and they are all big! In terms of exercise, I just started to practice yoga.”

Favorite beauty trick?

“I love putting lip balm on my eyelids.”

What would people be most surprised to know about you?

“I once had a cat that abandoned me.”

What’s next?

“I don’t want to torture myself with worry about the future, so I’m trying to just take one day at a time. I am in Paris right now, but I think that New York will happen soon and I cannot wait. I want to film everything I see. I think that the next chapter of my life is going to be one hell of a ride!”


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