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Meet the aspiring Kingfisher swimsuit hotties

Last updated on: October 20, 2010 12:06 IST

Image: Bruna Rodrigues, Reyna Leyva, Alina Ray, Pallavi Das and Radhika Sahay
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani Abhishek Mande
Five models who'd kill :-) to be featured on the Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar 2011.
The floor of a prominent South Mumbai gym has been cleared for five girls who are presently in the locker room.

They will take a few more minutes before their make up is done and they change into a pair of red hotpants and a sports bra with the name of the gym they are endorsing.

Outside, camerapersons wait for them, their video cameras ready to roll on the word go.

As the five gorgeous girls enter the gym, all eyes turn to them.

Three of them are Indian. The other two are from Brazil and Mexico.

As models hoping to make it to the Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar 2011, they are used to the attention they get.

They play to the gallery as the camera rolls, perform a series of floor exercises for the cameras and then take questions from the press.

Bruna Rodrigues, Reyna Leyva, Alina Ray, Pallavi Das and Radhika Sahay are some of the girls who made it past the auditions held recently and are part of the reality show Hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl that airs on the NDTV Good Times channel.

Last year, Himarsha Venkatsamy a spirited South African model of Indian origin, won the title.

Read Himarsha's interview here

On a bright weekday morning, we caught up with these five ladies who told us all about themselves and, more important, how they got those luscious bodies!

ALSO SEE: Video: Kingfisher hotties sweat it out in the gym

An IT engineer in London

Image: Alina Ray
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
Alina Ray pouts at you from those giant Dove shampoo billboards that you pass every morning on your way to work.

Before she faced the camera, Alina used to be a software engineer at Cisco, the computer networking major, in London.

You were a Cisco engineer. What made you come back?

I spent a part of my childhood in Orissa before going abroad.

Having lived outside of India for a while, I thought it would be nice to come home.

Life as an IT professional can be quite taxing and somewhat dry.

So when my contract with the company ended, I packed my bags and came back to India to see what it is like to be a modern Indian woman in India.

How did the transition from computer engineer to model happen?

It was quite accidental actually.

Dove was looking for women with no modelling background to be featured in their calendar last year.

I have large eyes and nice hair. So some of my stylist friends egged me on to participate in the auditions, where I got selected.

Later, I did a campaign with (the cosmetics and beauty company) L'Oreal.

When auditions for the Kingfisher swimsuit model hunt were announced, I applied online. I was one of the last people to be auditioned and was quite surprised to be selected!

I am still very nervous in front of the camera, but it's something new and it's fun.

Are you based out of Mumbai now?

Now that I am pursuing my career as a model, I am living in Mumbai. But I go to Orissa where my family stays quite often.

I completed a part of my studies in Orissa, which helps because now I can speak decent Hindi and am fluent in Oriya.

How did your family react to your decision to be a model?

I do come from a fairly conservative family, but my father, who is a psychiatrist, is fairly liberal, so it's cool.

I lost my mother when I was young. She wanted me to be a model.

Would you say you had a great bikini body before you got selected?

I was always genetically blessed. But I was always working out -- doing yoga, hitting the gym.

After I got selected as one of the prospective girls, the workout regime has been far more disciplined.

What is your diet like?

On most days I am vegetarian. I don't have meat at all.

Being from a coastal state I don't mind seafood once in a while. I avoid white rice and don't eat after 8.30 pm.

Usually I have three to four small meals which helps me keep away from junk food.

The future?

I can always go back to IT if things don't shape up very well. Otherwise, I take every day as it comes.

Right now I'm just having fun!

'I do have a good body'

Image: Pallavi Das
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
Pallavi Das came to Mumbai from Tezpur, Assam.

She joined friends studying in the city and did her graduation in sociology.

The idea was to complete her master's and chart out her future thereafter.

Modelling intervened and the 22 year old now pursues her master's via a correspondence course.

Did you always want to be a model?

When I came to Mumbai, it was because I wanted to complete my graduation.

While I was studying, friends, who were models, suggested I shoot some pictures and try my hand at modelling.

Your first swimsuit moment?

The thing with any bikini shoot is to have a photographer who can make the model feel comfortable.

My first bikini shoot was an independent one for my portfolio in Goa and it was easygoing.

The photographer was very nice. He told me if I was uncomfortable posing, I should just be natural. The photos turned out to be quite good, actually.

My first bikini moment before a video camera was when I walked before the judges on the (Kingfisher reality) show.

It wasn't very different because the judges made me feel comfortable.

Did you always have a bikini body?

I do have a good body, but I tend to put on weight when I stop working out. So I try not to skip the gym.

What kind of foods do you avoid?

I avoid (foods with) carbohydrates as far as possible. I'm high on proteins and fruits.

What has your experience with Hunt for Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2011 been like?

More than anything else, it has been a great learning experience.

Different photographers have been giving me tips on how to model, pose and things I should keep in mind to be successful.

How do you get those flat abs?

No carbs and regular workout!

And those toned legs?

Running and jogging on the treadmill!

The future?

I would like to continue being a model, work out, have a fit body and be part of more commercials and print campaigns.

'I enjoy bikini shoots'

Image: Reyna Leyva
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
Reyna Leyva was auditioning for the Lakme Fashion Week a few months ago when we met her.

Reyna was one of the four girls selected from the auditions and walked the ramp for a several designers.

The Mexican model spoke very little English. Her English has improved since, but she sometimes sounds like Barbara Mori, fast forward.

What was Lakme Fashion Week like?

It was great!

I walked for some 50 shows and walked the grand finale.

Your favourite designer?

(Without hesitation) I liked Manish Arora's clothes. They were really amazing.

I also like the music that was playing during his show.

Watch a video of the show

How did you hear about the Kingfisher hunt?

Himarsha (Venkatsamy, last year's winner) is a friend. She suggested I audition for Kingfisher. I was cast and selected!

What is the experience like?

It's not very easy at all. This is a lot of hard work.

I don't get time to eat or sleep well. We spend a lot of time shooting and working out.

But it's also a lot of fun. The team I work with is very nice.

Everyone takes care of me and understands me. I like it a lot.

The other assignments you're working on?

Right now, there's Kingfisher. Later, I will participate in the Bridal Week (that starts in the last week of October).

Did you do a lot of bikini shoots back home?

Yes! I have always had a great body and good skin.

I enjoy doing bikini shoots.

Are there any foods you avoid?

I don't have fried things at all. Once a week I have bread, but not more than that.

The future?

I love India. I am planning to stay here a while now!

'I've been a model since I was 14'

Image: Bruna Rodrigues
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
Bruna Rodrigues arrived in India a little over two months ago from Brazil.

She has been blazing the ramps and scorching the beaches since.

She walked the ramp for the Lakme Fashion Week and like Reyna Leyva, Bruna will take part in the upcoming Bridal Week.

What kind of assignments have you done so far?

I walked for a lot of designers at Lakme Fashion Week. Then I heard about Kingfisher from Himarsha (Venkatsamy, last year's winner).

She told me how I could send my pictures and what I could expect here.

How has it been so far?

I'm getting to know a lot of people. I'm becoming more confident and aware of what I need to do and what I don't.

Did you model before coming to India?

I've been a model since I was 14. Today I am 20. I've done fashion catalogues, commercials, magazine shoots and fashion shows.

Before Mumbai, I was modelling in New York.

How does Mumbai compare, especially after New York?

Every month there is a new festival and there's always something going on.

I plan to stick around till December. Maybe then I will go back to Brazil to be with my family for some time.

Your other assignments in India?

I will be walking for Manish (Arora) sometime next week. I will also be modelling at Bridal Week.

'I'm a bit of a nerd'

Image: Radhika Sahay
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
At 19, Radhika Sahay is one of the youngest contestants on the show.

Her father is a colonel in the Indian Army. Radhika studies law at the Government Law College in Mumbai.

So you've never modelled before?

Not ever! A friend sent some of my photographs without telling me. When I got a call (from Kingfisher), I was quite surprised.

I wasn't ready to go for the auditions, but the friend coaxed me into it.

In retrospect, things seemed to have worked out quite well.

Were you expecting to get selected for the television show?

No, but it was very flattering to be selected on such a big platform at my first attempt.

Initially, they weren't sure whether they wanted me.

I am not very tall and (photographer) Atul Kasbekar felt I was awkward before the camera.

So I was put on hold for a while, but at the end I was called in.

How has your family taken to the move?

I have very supportive parents who have promised to stand by me.

They are okay if I continue modelling by the side or maybe take it up after I complete my education.

Did you always have a bikini body?

I guess. Since my dad is in the army I have always been a fitness freak and led a disciplined life. Besides, I am genetically slim.

Your workout regime?

I do a lot of aerobics, circuit training and cardio.

Talwalkar's Gymnasium (one of the partners of the show),where I train with the other girls, has a nutritionist who keeps a watch on my food intake. It now involves a lot of proteins, grains, whole wheat and sprouts.

I've realised that it's not just about being slim, but also about staying fit and building your stamina.

What about law?

I definitely plan on completing my degree.

I'm a bit of a nerd. When I was in Kerala (to shoot a part of the television show) I had taken my books with me.

Studies will always be my first priority.

What kind of music do you listen to?

I had this phase when I was a total metal chick -- dressing in short skirts and stockings.

Now I am more into house, electronic and trance.

The future?

I am planning to take up modelling assignments on the side as I complete my law degree.

It's a good let out from the life of a lawyer where you are often sitting by the computer and drafting affidavits.

ALSO SEE: Video: Kingfisher hotties sweat it out in the gym