If you have been of the opinion that models are just a good figure and a fine face, you are in for a surprise. Tinu Verghis, the ramp scorcher who had had a successful stint in modeling for more than ten years, has shown the world that the girl on the ramp is much more than a great pair of legs! She started modeling at the age of twenty one and left it at 34. With unconventional looks, and a professional attitude, Tinu, proved out to be one of the most successful models in her league.
Art installation by Tinu Verghis capita land Singapore
She left modeling at a time when she was at the peak of her career to follow her heart and fulfill her dreams. Today, she is settled in Singapore (since the last 3 years) and is pursuing her Bachelor’s in fine arts. She is Majoring in sculpture as well and is enjoying her life along with her boyfriend for last ten years, Quentin. Talking about him, she says “Loving him is easy and our kid Lucien is a good source of entertainment.”
Caught in an interview, here are some excerpts from her conversation with Kiran Chopra, One World News.
What is Tinu Verghis currently busy with?
Never busy enough!!! Just finished a light installation art project for CapitaLand in Singapore and did another installation for Singapore Tourism Board for an Art Walk. Life is good right now and I am enjoying college tremendously.
What and how did the break from modelling happen?
I decided that life was too short and felt the need to move on with my life. I got an opportunity to start studying again and dove into it head first. I have been happier ever since.
Tinu Verghis featuring in a fashion magazine
You have been a very successful model for a very long time, what was your driving force?
I drove everyone nuts. They just didn’t know what to do with me and my hyper activity. Sunil Sethi, President of FDCI, was always very kind to me even when I came up with crazy ideas like promoting Bamboo during Wills India fashion Week. He hit the ball back in my court. He said, if I could get the Bamboo ministry of India to support my cause, he will let me do the event at Wills. What I learned from that experience was that there is nothing I can’t do, if I really want it.
I have no experience in art, but I know art is the medium I want to use to critique the oppression of women and gender inequality in India. Going back to school and starting afresh in this medium has liberated me.
When you started modelling, the fashion industry in India was still evolving, what do you have to say about the industry today?
Its business all the way now. There is a fashion week happening in every nook and corner of India. It’s unreal.
Tell us something about the sculptures that you are making.
I have been getting myself involved in public installation art and performance art lately. Creating site specific installations has really pushed my limits. I am screaming HELP from the word go, because I don’t know where to start, how to start or whom to slap. There are a lot of good people around me who guide me. Milenko Prvacki, Senior Fellow at Lasalle, is one such person.
Is there a common connect between modelling and sculptures?
None whatsoever to me. The wrought iron sculptures that I do, are abstract forms.
What, according to you, should be the right career planning for models?
You should have an exit plan, even before you start. You need to see the big picture before you get into the glamor industry. You will meet a lot of interesting people, learn from them. Be kind to others and don’t be arrogant or shy to ask for help. You will meet a lot of cheapskates in this business. Don’t sell yourself for less than what you deserve. It’s okay to be penniless, some starvation is not going to kill anyone.
In a fashion coverage
Please suggest to the new entrants, things they should focus upon to sustain, survive and succeed in the modelling world.
Be on time. Be fit in body and mind. Stop watching TV. Have self respect. Be an individual. Spend your money well. Travel extensively and eat good food and drink good wine.
How would you guide the youngsters to deal with negativity in this field?
Keep negative people out of your life. Focus only on the good things in life. Read books and never go out of your way to please others.
Have you ever thought about training new models as a venture for yourself?
Yes I did. It’s shelved for now. Right now, I am only concentrating on my college, which I am enjoying immensely. Although, my experience in modeling has indeed given me the option of entering the field of grooming but it will take some more time before I venture into it.
Do you miss modelling?
I miss the energy and the booming music. The industry has its own share of sensibilities.
People think modelling is just about a good figure, how would you describe it?
Modeling is a mix of a fit body, sharp mind, ability to cope under stress, a great attitude and ability to carry any outfit with panache.
Do you think modelling can become a way to strengthen the status of women in our country?
No. Modelling sexually objectifies women.
What changes should we inculcate as compared to the westerners?
We are not the west. They have their stuff to deal with and we have ours. What we should do is to keep the work space for our girls/women safe so that they are not abused mentally or physically.
What makes Tinu Verghis happy?
Love, good food, good wine and a few good friends.
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