We’re forever waiting to get into conversations with women whose skin endures a lot and still comes out looking oh-so-great. Finally, our curiosity was pacified thanks to Arshia Ahuja – a 26-years-old model who has graced the covers of Vogue, ELLE, Grazia, Maxim, Marie Claire – you name it. She’s also walked the ramp for some of the country’s favourite designers.
Arshia’s modelling career took off when she was barely out of her teens – around the age of 17. Did she always want to be a model? “I wanted to be a vet. I was the student who scored straight As. But my mom said I should take it easy and enjoy a bit. Yeah, my parents are really chilled out in life!” she grins and continues, “The modeling bug bit me when I was in my 11thgrade. We didn’t know how to go about it, so my mom made me participate in the May Queen Ball when I was 16. Well, that was a disaster.” She barely made it through the first round of selections. But, another break came in, when a year later her father signed her up for a monthlong course at the Elite School of Modelling in Delhi, where she learnt public speaking, grooming, dancing and acting. By the time the course ended, she had bagged her first modeling contract.
She has a devil may care attitude about the whole glitz and glamour that comes with the job – a quality she’s maintained since before her modeling journey even began. Perhaps it’s necessary to make it in the industry which isn’t without its fair share of challenges. Arshia elaborates, “The worst is when people expect us to do free work. Models have rent to pay too, you know! We can’t live off freebies that designers want to barter in exchange for a look-book. It baffles me how some designers will pay everyone except the face of their collection!” She continues, “It is not an easy business. Models are constantly compared to each other and are told insensitive things like – ‘she has no neck’, ‘she’s too short’ (at 5’10”)! But, being at this job for almost a decade now, I’m immune to it. When it gets too much, I vent to my friends. Otherwise, I don’t dwell on it.”
What does a day in her life look like? “You know, it’s normal, just like any other job. I go to work, I come back when it’s over. Sometimes, we grab a drink after a show. It’s like office in fancy clothes, heels and makeup,” she shares. Speaking of makeup, we wonder aloud if the onslaught of cosmetics takes its toll on her skin. Arshia admits, “I don’t have amazing skin. It’s very reactive in nature. My skin breaks out immediately due to outdated products or unclean brushes. I have marks on my face. And there are brands that just don’t suit me!” So, what’s her skincare strategy? “I try to take my supplements as much as I can. I use Avene products for my skincare issues. I drink coconut water at least 3-4 times a week. I also make it a point to remove all the makeup thoroughly. I exfoliate my face twice a week and use sheet masks or mud packs at least once a week. I haven’t been eating sugar since the last 3 months now, so that’s helped my skin too.”
Among Arshia’s trusted skincare products are Avene Triacneal cream for acne (three times a week) and an Avene Sunscreen, along and makeup removers by Biotique and Garnier.
We’re so taken in by Arshia’s sass and confidence, we ask her what would her advice be to young girls with runway aspirations? “Don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy every bit of your journey,” pat comes her reply.