Top Indian Female Models. India is known all over the world for its rich culture, traditions, and beauty. The dusky women are considered the most alluring and gorgeous people on the planet. The fashion industry of the country is also extremely well established with names like Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Tarun Tahiliani, and Ritu Beri, who are also known globally.
Since the creative aspect of female clothes is stronger and more diverse than male clothes, it’s no wonder that India churns out the most exquisitely crafted designer dresses for women every year hence, demanding the need for more female models than male models. In fact, the modeling industry is the only place where the gender pay gap is in favor of women. Female models earn much higher than male models, and India is no different. Furthermore, only a few of the top male models are as recognizable as the top female models. However, the Indian modeling scene is past the age of popularity and desirability in the sense that more and more models, female and male, have been known to leave the ramp in favor a career on television, soaps, and reality shows, etc., and the film industry because of the higher chance of fame, global recognition, earnings and expression of creativity besides.
Who Are the Best Female Models From India?
Top tier celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai, and Sushmita Sen all started their careers in the showbiz on ramps but moved on from it whether they enjoyed mild popularity or record-breaking success there.
Another reason is that nationally, and internationally recognized celebrities are used for endorsement and campaigns for prominent companies and even by fashion designers themselves, which sort of cancels the need for supermodels. This is why there is no serious supermodel scene in the Indian fashion industry anymore, though the country has produced some extremely well-known beautiful faces who have gone on to receive international fame and have walked the ramp for designers such as Vivienne Westwood.
The successful models who’ve remained in the field despite doing side projects in television and film are:
↓ 10 – Noyonika Chatterjee
Originally from Calcutta, Noyonika started her career at the tender age of 13. Initially, she did small projects as a hobby, but when she got into junior college, she started taking it seriously. Dubbed the ‘Naomi Campbell of India,’ the 5’11 dusky-skinned beauty broke stereotypes and quickly became a ramp favorite. She was incredibly popular in the 1990s and had been modeling for the past two decades. She took a short break from modeling after her marriage and the birth of her daughter. Have a look at these Top 10 Indian Male Models of 2021 Updated List.
Talking about the decline of the supermodel era in India, Noyonika told a news website:
“I don’t see the supermodel era coming back anytime soon. The designers are to be blamed because, at one point in India, we became bigger than the designers. It was about what Noyonika or what Madhu Sapre would wear. It was not about what the designers were showing. Like today, what’s becoming of the actresses. They feel actresses get more mileage for them, which we were not giving them. We were only giving mileage to ourselves, so they decided to make us clones of each other and just treat us (models) like hangers… Like you are supposed to be this measurement, and not have a personality of your own — with same make-up and same hair.”
↓ 9 – Sheetal Mallar
Sheetal Mallar is an Indian fashion model from Mumbai. Reaching at 5’10, the 44-year-old model started her career in 1994 at the age of 16. Her first shoot was for photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha. She went on to win Femina Look of the Year and the Elite Look of the Year the same year. Through Elite, she went to New York, Milan, and Paris and worked there for two years.
About the fashion Industry, Mallar says:
“I think it was better earlier when I started. There were fewer models and more work. The money was sufficient, and you could make a living out of being a model. These days, though the industry has grown in size, there are so many models that work doesn’t necessarily come by very easily. Also, with cricketers, film stars, and even television actors turning to modeling, there is very little work for models. Male models, for instance, hardly have any work today, and even the younger female models — especially the ones who come from abroad — are willing to work at very low rates. It is difficult to survive as a model in today’s times.”
She is now a contemporary Indian photographer. Her latest work can be seen at sheetalmallar.com.
↓ 8 – Nethra Raghuraman
Nethra Rahuraman was born into a Tamil speaking family. She started her career in 1997 and won Femina Magazine’s Look of the Year contest. Shortly after, she also transitioned into acting and won the Best Female Newcomer at the Star Screen Awards in 2000. She has also done reality shows since then.
Nethra is now 41 years old and has been married to a Singapore-based businessman, Kunal Guha, since 2011.
↓ 7 – Carol Gracias
The 39-year-old supermodel was born to a Goan Catholic family in Mumbai. She’s done film cameos, music videos as well as reality shows besides modeling as well. She is a past winner of coveted India’s L’Oréal/Elite Look of the Year title in 1998. In 2016, the then-pregnant 37 years old walked the ramp showcasing her baby bump. She ended up being the showstopper for Hyderabad-based designer Gaurang Shah and was hailed for ‘celebrating’ pregnancy. On the subject, Carol said:
“I have been doing his (Gaurang’s) shows for many years now, so this time, as usual, he called and asked if he could book me. I told him I was pregnant, and he still asked if I would walk for the show. So, I gave it a thought and realized that the clothes to be showcased are meant for all kinds of women. I thought if the designer would like me in his show, then why not? I really enjoyed the experience.”
↓ 6 – Archana Akhil Kumar
Archana Kumar hails from Bangalore. She is a former state-level basketball player and a field hockey player. She started modeling in 2008 alongside her studies, something her parents fully supported. She completed two years of modeling in Bangalore before moving to Mumbai in 2012. She attended Elite Look of the Year 2011 in Shanghai and was selected among the top 10 models of the world. She’s been featured in all the major magazines, including Vogue India, Elle India, Harper’s Bazaar, and Marie Claire.
She has a vibrant persona and is a self-described ‘fun-loving person.’ Regarding the ‘good, bad and ugly’ of the fashion world, Archana has said:
“It’s chaotic. It’s a lot of stress. That’s the bad thing I can say. But the good thing is at the end of the show, the amount of happiness one gains is the best feeling to get.”
↓ 5 – Ujjwala Raut
The now 40-year old Indian model was 17 years of age when she won Femina Look of the Year in 1996. She was also among the top fifteen in the 1996 Elite Model Look contest. She’s hailed as the most successful Indian supermodel overseas with runway credits including jobs for Yves Saint-Laurent, Roberto Cavalli, Hugo Boss, Cynthia Rowley, Diane von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabbana, Betsey Johnson, Gucci, Givenchy, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, and Emilio Pucci, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Don’t miss out on these Indian Celebrity Snapchats & 25 Indian Celebrity Snapchat Accounts to follow.
While talking about motherhood and interest in a Bollywood career, Ujjwala was quoted as saying:
‘I love the people and respect the industry, but I feel that most people want to try Bollywood because modeling doesn’t sustain for that long. Plus, I was a young mother, so finding time for auditions was difficult. Also, if I had pursued acting, I wouldn’t have been part of international runways. I strongly believe that you can’t have everything in life. To gain some, you need to lose some. And I never wanted to compromise on being a mother.’
↓ 4 – Nina Manuel
Her official biographical description as per her website states:
“Nina Manuel has dominated the Indian Fashion scene as a model and presenter for over a decade.
A household name among Mumbaikers and Indians around the globe, Nina was voted as one of the top 50 most stylish people in Elle Magazine (India) for 5 years consecutively and was also voted one of the 100 sexiest women in the world by both Maxim and FHM magazines. Considered amongst the top models, she has walked the ramp for all leading Indian fashion designers, including Manish Arora, Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, and Sabyasachi Mukherjee et al.
She has also graced the cover of numerous popular Indian publications, including Cosmopolitan, Elle, Femina, L’Officiel, Maxim, and FHM, etc.
As a presenter, her television career spanning six years includes ‘Nina at 9’, ‘Midnite Manuel and ‘After Hours’ – the internationally televised popular event-based entertainment & interview show. She was also a VJ on ‘Channel V’; the music channel for Star TV networks and celebrities across the globe have been interviewed by her.
Amongst her more recent projects, Nina hosted ‘The Light of India Awards’ in New York and was specially flown down to Mumbai to host some extraordinary events like the red carpet for the ‘GQ Men of the Year awards 2011’ and the launch party of ‘Range Rover Evoque.’
Expanding her horizons on a global scale, Nina now lives between New York and Mumbai exploring and managing several new ventures.
Her current endeavors are related to Design, Fashion and Events both in New York and Mumbai, the first of which sees her back in Mumbai to host the LFW TV.”
↓ 3 – Deepti Gujral
Deepti was born and brought up in Calcutta. She’s been working in the modeling industry for almost two decades. She’s also been a popular VJ for MTV India and Style Check and done commercials for brands such as Bombay Dyeing and Tanishq. Deepti has also done some acting, her most popular body of work includes Ishq Vishq (2003) and I, Me Aur Mein (2013).
Talking about her favorite thing regarding modeling, Deepti said:
“Modelling lets me travel the world! I meet several creative people from all walks of life. I have interesting conversations, explore the global fashion from around the world, and also learn more about myself in the process!”
↓ 2 – Candice Pinto
Candice Pinto is an Indian supermodel who garnered fame at the age of 19 when she won her first Beauty pageant at the Seventh Gladrags Mega Model contest held in March 2000. She became the first Indian to win Miss Tourism International in 2002. She’s been regularly seen in fashion shows and magazine covers since then.
She was born in Mumbai to a Catholic family. She holds a Masters’s degree in Economics. The 5’9 beauty had aspirations to become an animator, and she claims she might still pursue this dream someday. Regarding her modeling career, she says:
“I remember the first fashion show I did—I was walking the ramp with Madhu Sapre, Bipasha Basu, Helen Brodie, and all the big names. It was such a high to walk with the greats. Those were times when getting noticed was a task because everybody was as high as the other. One had to work hard to stand out.
As one progresses in the world of modeling, bad things happen as well. But I have decided not to focus on the negative changes. I try and make the best of any situation I am in. I think the reason I have lasted so long is that I truly love what I do.”
↓ 1 – Alesia Raut
Alesia Raut is a 35-year-old Indian model of Russian origin. She’s has modeled, acted, been an anchor, took part in reality TV, has done some music videos and is currently a fashion choreographer as she trains Femina Miss India and Miss India Universe pageants. She has a son named Mark from a failed marriage to a Russian Economist. She also has an official website alesiaraut.com.
She describes her philosophy of life as:
“You never fail until you give up; don’t seek aid, seek strength; don’t look for miracles, let your actions construct them for you; don’t pursue stories of other, unfold your own adventure!”