Sunday, October 1, 2023

“In this industry, there are people who will abuse you financially”, Vijaya Dey

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When you start to believe in yourself, the magic starts to happen. Meet Vijaya Dey, who believed in herself and went ahead to follow her dreams. Vijaya entered into modeling industry by participating in Femina Miss India. After her graduation, she took a risk and pursued modeling just after graduation. And today that risk has become the best decision she took in her life. She is the winner of MTV’s Reality show “Making The Cut” Season 2. Let us know more about this model.

Talking about her initial journey, Vijaya was shy, introverted, and overweight in the beginning. She never thought about being a professional model. But due to her hard work, she managed to participate in Femina Miss India and finish in the top 5.

In my initial days, most of my struggle was with losing weight and overcoming stage fear. It took me 2 years to the ideal body shape and build my confidence to apply for Femina Miss India.” 

Sharing her experience of Femina Miss India, Vijaya says,

“It was an amazing experience because a lot of hard work, practice, and training has gone into the process. After 3 rounds of audition in Kolkata, I was selected in Femina Miss India East. After 10 days of rigorous training by our mentors we had our subtitle rounds where I won the best body and perfect 10. In the main event I was the 3rd runner up. It was a great learning experience as the mentors and fellow participants were very helpful. I learnt a lot on how to make your way in this industry.

After a year Sushmita Sen started a new pageant I AM She Miss India Universe. I took part in it, I was in the top 10 and won the subtitle for best talent. Famous fashion choreographer Lubna Adams was the walking trainer in I AM SHE. She trained us well and my walk improved drastically. It helped me crack many auditions for fashion shows and fashion week”

Modeling career has helped Vijaya to grow as an individual and she has learned how to be patient. She has acquired self-confidence in herself being in the industry. When asked about what impact does modeling had on her life, Vijaya says

“I have learned that this industry demands confidence and is full of rejections and struggle. This makes you want to give up on your dream but be patient. With time these feelings stop affecting your pursuit of following your modeling career.”

While discussing rejections, she told that the fashion industry is full of rejections and at times it is a struggle to feel certain about your talent. Therefore, dedication and never losing hope always help in dealing with rejections in life. She says one should always remember what is unique about them and never compare oneself with others.

On asking about her good and bad experiences, Vijaya recalls her winning moment of the reality show “Making the Cut”. Also getting featured on top magazines in the same month was like achieving a milestone for her. A bad experience in her career was when she participated in a fashion show for the first time and the production people did not clear her dues. Elaborating she says,

In this industry, there are people who will abuse you financially. They will make your work but not pay. I had such an experience for a fashion week in Hyderabad. It was my first time working with them, I agreed as, many models were traveling from Mumbai.

In a fashion week, your fees are decided in advance but mostly payment is done days after the fashion week is over. Till now, only 20% of the payment is made. After some time they stopped responding to my texts and calls. We models could not take any action as they were from a different city.” 

Talking about the issue of the casting couch, Vijaya feels that it is now very common in the industry and usually models fall for such unethical work. Further, she says,

“Fortunately, I got guidance and work from really good and established people in this industry at an early stage of my career but I still do get undesirable messages on Facebook and Instagram “you look so hot, you can make so much more money in one day if you are ready to compromise’. Initially I used to get angry but with time you learn how to block and ignore.”

Vijaya has walked for many fashion weeks. Top magazines like Elle, Vogue, and Femina have featured her simultaneously in a month. Vijaya has now diversified her career into acting and has worked in Bengali films like ‘Mrs. Sen‘ and ‘Teen Kanya‘ also in a short film “In Transition”. Working in films Vijaya has been a learning, sharing that she says,

 “When I was first selected for a Bengali movie I was still thinking like a model, looking at the camera during shots and trying to open myself for the camera. Some call it “seducing the camera”  but acting is completely different you need to completely ignore and forget the existence of the camera, lights, and people around you.

I received a lot of directions from the director Agnidev Chatterjee and his crew. After a lot of training I started thinking like an actor. Models and actors may appear to have similar characteristics but actually are very different”

Everyone has fear of losing out on good opportunities, so does Vijaya. Explaining her fear of losing out on work due to her social media presence she says,

“The Insta model trend doesn’t work in everyone’s favor. There had been a huge increase of Instagram models in the past few years. Yes it has opened up many new doors for individuals who have a good following. But for me as a model with experience and good background of work has made things difficult. There is always a fear of losing out on good work as my Instagram presence is not big, which I am trying to overcome by being more active on these platforms and increase my followers”

Explaining how she says, focussed, and motivated towards her goals, Vijaya mentions,

“A person’s 50% fitness is made in their own kitchen and rest by working out. I stay fit by eating healthy, hydrating, and regular workouts. I keep changing my workout regime (body combat, yoga, functional training, weight training, spinning) it makes working out fun. And yes, having a cheat day in a week is a must keep your mind sane and happy.”

Vijaya’s advice to all aspiring models is to focus more on improving themselves with every experience.

 “Focus on achieving your own goals not someone else’s”

Read: Sona Goldar Raises Her Voice Against Body Shaming

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