From Vogue India to the face of Cover FX Cosmetics to starring in David Guetta and Fall Out Boy music videos; this stunning multi-talent has us star struck. In this exclusive interview Riya Ray talks about the difficulties of being bullied as a child, model life in Mumbai and her favorite beauty brands…
Ethnicity: East Indian
Profession: Model, actress, TV presenter
Agencies: Wilhelmina Hawaii, Bareface Dubai, Exalt Agency, TFM Models
Milestones: Face of Cover FX Cosmetics, music videos with Fall Out Boy, Cher, David Guetta feat Niki Minaj
Current location: Mumbai, India
How did you become a model?
The dream of becoming a model goes back to the childhood imaginations, which seemed almost next to impossible, as I had absolutely no knowledge how to be one and most importantly whether I could be one. Facing the usual bullying growing up in a small town in India and being scrutinized for every move as a girl too, took a lot of confidence away. Even that faint dream became a mere fantasy. But things did change and traveling and seeing the world in a different aspect helped not only get the confidence back but also made me feel unaffected in a negative way due to rejections. I was in Mumbai, India on vacation and ended up staying there a bit longer than planned. While here, I did a test shoot with a photographer and loved the results and within a week I bagged by first big ad campaign, did lots of editorials, campaigns and TV commercials. I was represented in India initially by Elite model management. Once my book became stronger, I moved to Los Angeles, California where I was represented by SLU agency for sports modeling, BMG models for fashion, Daniel Hoff for commercials and House of Representatives for Theatrical and then there was no looking back.
What was your first big break in the industry?
I have shot for some great brands but an editorial in Vogue India was the most special and it is always going to be something that would remind me of how things can happen organically and when you least expect it in the fashion industry. The other milestone in my work was when I become the face of the cosmetic brand ‘COVER FX’.
What’s one of the most interesting shoots that you’ve done?
A commercial for Forever Mark diamonds shot by Tony Kay, director of one of my favorite films –‘American History X’. He shot the entire commercial using an IPhone 5.
Who’s your favorite photographer you’ve done a shoot with and why?
This is difficult because all of them are so uniquely talented and fabulous.
You are currently in Mumbai. How’s model life in Mumbai?
Yes I am back to where it all began. I love the energy of Mumbai. It not only makes you grow in your profession and face some hardships and challenges but also makes you a better human being. There is something magical about India. There is life in simple things. Work is diverse and there is a vast number of feature films, ad films and campaigns shot almost everyday. I absolutely love it here.
Could you describe your daily routine when you do castings?
I don’t follow a strict routine. I go with the flow depending on what I have planned for that particular day. I sleep well, eat healthy, meditate every single day, and do my homework before a casting and I make sure I go to my casting on time always. And whenever I get time I watch interesting documentary films or I indulge myself in my new pursuit of painting on canvases.
What’s your favorite outfit to wear to castings?
At the moment – crop top (usually black or white) and skinny jeans. But it all depends on the requirement of the casting/job.
Which five words would your friends use to describe you?
Positive, eclectic, persistent, weirdo and super dorky.
What is your favorite healthy snack?
I love mixed nuts/trail mix.
What is your all time favorite movie and why?
‘Amelie’- Everything about this film is spectacular – The cinematography, screenplay, music, the amazing performances by the actors and the lesson this movies teaches about love and kindness.
Which make-up brands are you using?
Benefit and CoverFX.
Do you have any advice for those who want to start modeling?
Build your book, get signed with the right agency/agencies, eat healthy, exercise and have a positive attitude.
What do you think MODELLIST-ID can do for the model community?
Modellist-ID can act as the bridge that connects together the elements of the fashion industry. Information is a crucial thing and the more clearer and precise it is, it’ll only help models, new and existing and the entire fashion community to build up their knowledge and sustain in this evolving and competitive business.
Do you have any model friend you would like to see presented on Modellist-ID?
The amazing Lauren Calaway. The most talented girl I know. She is a model, entrepreneur, blogger and a lovely soul.