Guwahati, July 4 (IANS) The prestigious Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) hosted its first model audition for the northeast region here. Two Assamese aspiring models bagged the opportunity to walk on the LFW runway by defeating other 107 contestants from neighbouring states like Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
The city's Terra Mayaa Lounge was on Monday brimming with young northeast girls -- mostly in hot pants with sleeveless tops and simply excited to participate in the audition, judged by model Sonalika Sahay, Assamese actress Barsha Rani Bishaya, designer Atsu Sekhose, Jaspreet Chandok, Vice-President and Head-Fashion, IMG Reliance Limited and Purnima Lamba, Head of Innovation, Lakme.
"I travelled from Jorhat to try my luck here. Though I didn't make it to the final round, I am happy that I got a chance to walk in front of such popular names in the fashion industry. I am thinking of taking some modelling lessons in Mumbai," 22-year-old Sanchita Hazarika told IANS.
And then there were some who auditioned just to get a taste of something as big as LFW.
"I am just five feet and three inches tall. I knew that I didn't stand a chance, but I wanted to feel the whole ramp experience that too for LFW," said Arunachal Pradesh-based Nabam Hompu, who was accompanied by her cousin.
While some had particapted in local fashion events, there were others who were completely new in the field. No wonder why some struggled during striking a pose or walking in towering heels.
"The body language on ramp and confidence were what I was focusing on while selecting the models. Since I am with Lakme, I was also looking for someone with a strong face and expression. Some were graceful but little slow. Skinny girls were definitely not the criteria for selection as they won't be able to carry themselves in heavy garments," Lamba, who was overwhelmed with the turnout, told IANS.
Skinny wasn't their choice for sure, but girls on the heavier side also had to leave disappointed.
"Designers want models with a certain body structure. But we might be doing celebration of all body sizes at the fashion week. It's still in the works," said Chandok, who promised that there will be a lot of "firsts" when it comes to the fashion gala, held in Mumbai.
"We did the audition here as we wanted to reach out to areas where access is relatively difficult. Fantastic talent is available here. This is just the first step," he added.
They certainly found two fresh faces from the city who will walk the runway at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016, scheduled to take place between August 24-28 in Mumbai.
Jahnabi Deori, 24, was so happy when her name was announced that she even shed tears of joy.
"It was my dream. I even went for Mumbai auditions, but didn't get selected there. I would love to walk for designers like Manish Malhotra and Anita Dongre. I just love being on the ramp and do catwalk," she said.
Suzanne Nayanna Baker, 17, on the other hand, wants to complete her education first.
"I am glad that LFW came to Guwahati. It is the perfect platform for aspiring models like me. It gave us a great exposure. I want to complete my class 12 and then let's see what happens," said the teenager, who even won a local beauty pageant a few months back.
LFW is jointly organised by Lakme, an Indian cosmetics and beauty services brand, and IMG Reliance Pvt. Ltd., leaders in sports, fashion and entertainment marketing and management.
The audition was held in association with Northeast India Fashion and Design Council (FNDC).
"It also gave a platform to local designers like Payal Chadha and Mitrani Kakati whose creations were worn by the six shortlisted contestants. Initiatives like these are really helpful to us. There are so many talented northeast girls and designers so, big companies should tap it," said Medha Saikia, Founder and President, FNDC.
(The writer's trip is at the invitation of Lakme and IMG Reliance Pvt. Ltd. Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)