Exclusive interview and photoshoot with the winner of Vatika Miss Asiana 2014, Varisha Ramsoedh, also the cover girl for Asiana Wedding International!
Last year we launched Asiana’s inaugural Beauty Pageant Vatika Miss Asiana – our search for a new South Asian supermodel. 100s of young women from all over the world applied to be part of this prestigious contest and 50 were shortlisted and invited to compete in a tough audition process in London. The five-star Grand Royale Hotel hosted our auditions where the girls were put through their paces by our celebrity judging panel; hair stylist Dar, Bollywood actor and model Upen Patel, Anglo-Asian supermodel and finalist of Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model Anita Kaushik and Editor of the UK edition of Asiana Wedding Magazine, Anisha Vasani. 15 lucky girls were selected following the auditions who went through to a live catwalk Grand Finale held at the luxurious Montcalm Hotel Marble Arch Hotel. After three gruelling but glamorous rounds wearing outfits designed especially by Pakistani couturist Gul Jee and with hair and make-up provided by MUA Roshni Ladva and her team; the votes were cast by our judging panel who were joined by guests Bollywood actress Amy Jackson and CEO of BMA Models, Farid Haddad. Varisha Ramsoedh (23) from The Netherlands was crowned the winner of Vatika Miss Asiana. We caught up with her following her first Asiana photoshoot where we asked her what is was like to win, her experiences as a model so far and about her trip of a lifetime to Mauritius; one of her incredible prizes…
Congratulations on becoming Vatika Miss Asiana 2014, how did it feel when you heard your name being announced on the stage?
Thank you very much. I never expected to win, so I was very shocked when my name was announced. It felt amazing as it was like my work had paid off. Seeing the incredibly happy and proud faces of my parents made me even more happy and got me a little emotional. It also feels like a big accomplishment, because this experience will help me grow as a model and as a person.
You are currently studying, how will you juggle academia with your new modelling career?
I’m currently in my last year of International Business and Management Studies at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, which is in The Netherlands. Becoming Vatika Miss Asiana 2014 is a once in a lifetime experience, my teachers understand this and will be flexible with my attendance when I have photoshoots in the UK. They also like the international aspect of Asiana Magazine, because it matches my study. It’s not always easy to combine university with modelling, but it’s worth the hard work. You have to set priorities for yourself. Sometimes modelling needs a little bit more focus and sometimes university needs more. Finding a good balance between these two will make it possible to continue with both.
What do you like most about modelling?
The best part for me is the preparation followed by the actual shoot. Getting dressed up and having your hair and make-up done makes you feel so different compared to when you’re in your daily wear, it also fills you with confidence. I used to be insecure just like most other girls and I still am sometimes, but here I am now, on the cover of an international magazine that is sold in 23 countries. Who would ever have thought this would happen?
One of your prizes was a holiday to Mauritius – who did you take with you?
It was an easy choice to make – my mum! Neither of us had been to Mauritius before, but we both really loved it. The people were so friendly and we got the opportunity to do lots of memorable and fun activities like taking a guided tour at Rhumerie de Chamarel, touching lions, zebras and ostriches at Casela Nature & Leisure Park and going on a segway and seakart for the first time. We also met wonderful people like the Minister of Tourism and got to indulge in some delicious cuisine and of course, enjoy wonderful weather!
How was your stay at the five star Lux Le Morne resort?
It was the icing on the cake of the whole holiday. Lux Le Morne resort is so beautiful; it’s like heaven on earth. Our suite was so luxurious with an outside shower, inside shower and bathtub where you could even watch TV. We also had a private back garden with views out to the beach. The resort also has a beautiful swimming pool, hammocks to relax in, a spa, relaxing café where we ate delicious crépes and a restaurant and gym. My favourite aspect of the hotel without a doubt was the beach. It was simply paradise with its white sands and blue water; I couldn’t believe it was just a few metres from our room. I’ve travelled to 25 countries but I can honestly say this hotel is the best I’ve ever stayed at.
What did you think of Mauritian cuisine?
My mother and I were invited to eat at some really nice restaurants, but often we just wanted something simple and that’s how we discovered their incredible street food. The most popular street food in Mauritius is Dhal Puri. It’s wrapped in paper with a savoury filling and is very tasty. Another popular dish in Mauritius is Biryani but my favourite dish was Duck Pancake from Lux Le Morne’s Chinese buffet. I’d never had it before, but really liked it. I also loved the Indian Shrimp curry which I ate at Tamarina Golf, Spa and Beach Club, it was divine!
Pampering is at the heart of the Mauritian experience, we hear you got to experience that side too?
Yes, my mother and I had a wonderful 60-minute massage each and it was the perfect way to relax on the last day of our trip. It meant we got on the plane, nice and calm; the perfect way to be for a flight back to Europe!
Tell us about some of the highlights of your holiday in Mauritius.
There are so many, it’s so hard to choose. I guess the aspect that surprised me the most was that there is so much to do. Mauritius isn’t just a place for a beautiful beach holiday; there are so many activities. I’ll never forget our trip to Casela Nature & Leisure Park. I had so much fun going on a safari trip on a segway where I was able to feed and touch zebras, ostriches and emus. It was a very unique experience; but that wasn’t all. After the safari I went on a 400 meter zip line – it was scary but I loved it. Next time maybe I’ll do a fashion photoshoot on one! What were the Mauritian people that you met like? Mauritian people are very friendly. I never had a bad experience with anyone there. The Minister of Tourism, the marketing manager of Casela, the owner of Fun Adventure Seakart, the owner of Blue Safari Submarine, the hotel staff, our driver, the people we met from MTPA; everybody was so nice, helpful and friendly. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
What did you like most about Mauritius?
I loved the atmosphere in Mauritius. Everybody is always cheerful, friendly, smiling and having fun. The island itself radiates peace and tranquillity while the sound of the sea makes you feel so calm. Where I’m from in The Netherlands and in other places I’ve been to in Europe, the pace of life is so fast, everyone is rushing around. In Mauritius they appreciate life properly because they take things slower.
You look stunning on the cover!
Thank you! It was great to wear one of Gul Jee’s outfits as I fell in love with the three I wore at the Vatika Miss Asiana Grand Finale. His designs are very elegant and feminine. I also wore three outfits during the cover shoot day – they were so chic and glamorous and made me feel like a princess! It must have been great to work with Roshni again too? Absolutely. She is such a talented and creative make–up artist. As a model it’s important to be versatile with your looks and Roshni showed me new ways of styling myself. At home I usually opt for keeping my hair loose and straight and for parties I often go for curls but for the cover shoot it was totally different – I love how she made my hair so voluminous. I also enjoyed wearing smoky eyes, and was so surprised by the darker lip colour; it made me feel very sophisticated!
What’s it like being a cover star?
A dream come true! I never thought I would get this opportunity and I am so excited about it! I hope it’s the beginning of many more exciting assignments to come. Asiana is known for bringing out the best in Indian beauty and I’m so honoured to have worked with the team. The main reason why I entered the Vatika Miss Asiana pageant was because I wanted to take my modelling career to the next level. I’ve now been on a magazine cover and as the UK face of haircare brand Dabur Vatika I’ve also done some hair photoshoots - I have long hair so modelling for Dabur Vatika is perfect for me. Next I would love to model more Indian fashion and star in jewellery and skincare campaigns. I’ve come so far already, but I’m also just at the start of what I hope will be a long and successful career.
Varisha’s Mauritius Highlights:
Sea cart water, www.fun-adventure.mu
Lux Resorts and Hotels, www.luxresorts.com
JP Charters, www.blackriver-mauritius.com
Blue Safari, www.blue-safari.com
Rhumerie de Chamarel, www.rhumeriedechamarel.com
Chamarel Rerre Des 7 Couleurs, www.ile-maurice.fr
To find out more about holidaying in Mauritius visit the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, www.tourism-mauritius.mu
To know more about Miss Asiana, visit www.missasiana.co.uk
Photography by Swani Gulshan • Interview By Momtaz Begum-Hossain • Assisted By Zahra Suleman