New Year special: The hottest fresh faces of 2018
The 16th edition of the Kingfisher Calendar was shot at the beaches of Croatia, by Atul Kasbekar. The calendar, which served as a launchpad for the likes of Lisa Haydon, Deepika Padukone, and Katrina Kaif, is broadening its selection base, to offer representation to aspiring models across the country, even from small towns. Notably, the calendar recently featured Ketholeno Kense, a rising star from the North East. This year, it also features four fresh faces: Priyanka Karunakaran, Mitali Rannorey, Priyanka Moodley, and Ishika Sharma.
Change in approach
Replying to our queries on the debate about skin colour, Rannorey says, “I’ve always stressed upon the fact that skin colour should not make a difference in any way.” She adds, “Considering how cosmopolitan the world is today, it is sad that racial discrimination still exists.” Priyanka Karunakaran has a personal experience to share, explaining how she is looking at things changing. “I am a part of a new product (campaign) launched in the market that says every skin colour is beautiful, unlike brands that promote fairness creams and fair skin. This could not have been launched a few years back,” she affirms. “It simply means that there is a change in approach, and the audience is ready to accept this. It will take time for people to really change, but the process has begun. And I am truly loving it.” There’s a lot to look forward to, says Karunakaran. “The minute you accept different kinds of skin colour, you are broadening your vision. Trendsetters of clothes and make-up will have so much more to play, and showcase with,” she enthuses. “For instance, bronze tone make-up looks stunning on dark-skinned girls, while pearl glowy make-up looks amazing on fair or wheatish complexion.”
Eat and feel healthy
Priyanka Moodley too flatly rejects the aspect of skin colour defining beauty. “In the last few years, I have seen an increase in appreciation for darker skin tones. It is important for society to broaden their minds, and perceptions, away from the thought that fair skin is the most beautiful and most accepted, and begin to appreciate and accept that every other skin tone is just as beautiful,” she says. “The fact that I don’t see something as beautiful doesn’t mean that it lacks beauty,” explains Moodley. “Society has redefined our definition of beauty by teaching us that certain looks are more beautiful than others, and this has become so ingrained in our consciousness that often it’s easy to miss the beauty in someone whose looks don’t match the societal ‘ideal’. I believe natural beauty is most appealing, and we, as a society, need to develop the true gift of recognising and appreciating beauty in all forms, to lead a more enriched and fulfilled life.” Karunakaran adds, “There are so many rules and norms held up as universal for beauty. Whether it’s skin colour or size ratio, girls are often under pressure to fit into a mould. If you ask me, healthy skin is beautiful. Think healthy. Eat healthy and feel healthy — that’s my idea of beauty. Every single shade of skin is beautiful.” Rannorey echoes, “It really doesn’t, and shouldn’t make any difference. It’s what you are born with. It’s another God-gifted feature, like your eyes and nose. Fairness is not beauty. The happiness of loving your own skin is beauty. So embrace it. Be proud of what you are blessed with. That confidence is beauty.” Much of the difference in approach begins at the Kingfisher shoots, which were styled this year by Allia El Rufai, with make-up by Kapil Bhalla, and hairstyling by Franco Vallelonga. “Yes, the calendar is of beautiful girls in beautiful locations, but not once were we asked to look sexy. They want models with character,” says Karunakaran. All the models are in favour of engaging in further discussion on the subjects of skin colour, and racial identity. “It’s about time that a hue and cry is made,” urges Karunakaran. “The whole thought process has to change, and the media is a platform that has immense strength in shaping society.” Rannorey agrees that it’s about time that certain standards change in the industry. “The colour of skin should not define an individual, but only the strength of character,” she says. Priyanka offers a message for aspiring models: “Create your own definition of beauty. Wear it like it’s your badge of honour. Whether it’s your stretch marks — which we all have — or a wide-toothed smile, own it! It’s yours! Only yours. Nobody can wear it like you, and that’s your gift.” She throws in a personal note: “I myself am dark-skinned, with heavy thighs and a unibrow. I love all of me, and that’s the only way I’d be.” Calendar available only by special order.
Fashion, fitness and a feel good factor
CR Fashion Book, an American glamour magazine edited by Carine Roitfeld, is positioned as “fashion’s foremost bible of inspiration — a platform for groundbreaking styling, and fearless photography”. For their first ever photo calendar, shot by Steven Klein and styled by Carine, the hosts roped in the likes of Gigi Hadid, Grace Elizabeth, Joan Smalls, Hailey Clauson, Paris Jackson, Hoyeon Jung, Binx Walton, Eniko Mihalik, Hannah Ferguson, Joelle Lombardi, Danielle Herrington, Halima Aden, and Candice Swanepoel — each offering a take on their ideas of power, diversity, and deriving inspiration. Created in collaboration with TechnoGym, the calendar finds the models raising steam in the confines of a modern gym, also passing on a message for fitness, and making a New Year resolution. In a note about the calendar, Carine speaks for championing “diversity of both race and body type”. The calendar’s casting includes both iconic supermodels and fresh faces in a modern representation of beauty and body, he notes. “It’s about the multiplicity of woman in the year 2018.” All proceeds from the calendar will be in aid of the Special Olympics. $200
The British Love magazine’s Advent calendar, in its seventh year, is releasing provocative and empowering videos for every day through the month of December 2017. The celebrity calendar features Hollywood A-listers in various stages of workout — all linked to the theme, “Stay strong”, and shot by the British photographer Phil Poynter. The calendar features Romee Strijd and Alexis Ren lifting weights, Teyana Taylor and Hailey Baldwin in a boxing ring, a ravishing Alessandra Ambrosio on a motorcycle, Irina Shayk as a smokin’ cowgirl with flowers in her gun holsters, Kate Upton showing her tennis skills, and Bella Hadid with a sledge-hammer and a massive tire. There’s Stella Maxwell on a cycle, Winnie Harlow performing stretches, Jasmine Sanders doing some sit-ups, Barbara Palvin dancing around a pole, Gigi Hadid throwing a few freestyle kicks and punches, Taylor Hill turning gymnast, Doutzen Kroes with a skipping rope, Madison Beer doing pull-ups, and Rita Ora channeling her inner busy bumblebee. Also, you have Slick Woods in a rebellious ballet outtake, Kendall Jenner in sweats turning on her best Rocky Balboa, Ashley Graham on a sled pull, and a luscious Emily Ratajkowski sloshing about in spaghetti strewn on a table. The series hosted a Muppets Christmas earlier this week, with Miss Piggy decked in Miu Miu clothing, joined by Rita Ora, and actress Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars, Game of Thrones), and an entire cast of supermodels including Poppy Delevingne, Doutzen Kroes, Barbara Palvin and Hailey Baldwin. The makers of the calendar say that it “celebrates womanhood, sexuality, and empowerment”, also encouraging people to stay fit, healthy and strong. Expected end of January 2018.
Kyaari by 21 Fools
The Mumbai-based company 21 Fools is offering a unique calendar — one that disappears below a thin layer of soil, and grows into 12 different plants every month, by the end of the year. It’s called, ‘Kyaari — a calendar that grows into a garden’. The secret is in the materials, as the calendar is handcrafted out of ‘beej-kapas’ (seed paper) and reclaimed wood. Entirely made from pre-consumed waste, and embedded with seeds, ‘beej-kapas’ is a kind of paper that grows into a plant when sowed in the soil, explain the makers. The designs capture local elements across the country — from Kolkata to Delhi to Himachal, all the while making a case for sustainability and natural creation. The wooden frames around the photos have stories of their own, offers Divyansha Asopa, Founder of 21 Fools, explaining that they travelled to Rajasthan to source the wood from cupboards, and vintage furniture. The ‘beej-kapas’ paper, on the other hand, can be sown into the soil, instead of being thrown away or discarded — and it will grow into a plant. Thus, “Each ‘beej-kapas’ paper gives back to the environment,” says Divyansha. `1,199, deliveries in early-January 2018
Akshayaa Selvaraj, an architect and artist based in Chennai, is offering a one-of-a-kind Storybook Calendar, released by her personal design brand, Akshayaa, which also offers colouring heritage postcards, and wall art clay dolls, among other fun, creative products. The purpose of her calendar is to promote self-love, and realise the therapeutic power of storytelling, says Akshayaa, who extends the theme ‘Natchathira Kaadu’ (Forest of Stars), which she explored for the Inktober series of illustrations-based challenges. “This Storybook Calendar is a small catalyst, and mindful creative therapy, to bring out the stories inside every soul, and priceless dreams to share.” Besides allowing one to mark important dates and reminders, Akshayaa’s designs serve to get people to connect with their inner child, and to pen their own story by diving into the world of stars, the moon, and nature — on every month’s page of the calendar. “You can adorn the book with ideas, doodles, colours, or cut and use the glow paint provided to shine those stars and reminders!” enthuses Akshayaa. The calendar kit also includes a mini art easel, a bookmark, and sticker. `780 excluding shipping
Celebrating gender, colour and the natural world
For its 19th edition, the Sahodaran calendar plays on the element of flowers, and is themed, ‘Flora 2018’. With each month’s theme revolving around a particular flower, the calendar features only locally available blossoms, represented with a sketch, and name. Featuring 13 young men from across India (the last model appears on the credits page), the calendar was shot in lush settings in Kerala, at the Athirapally forest, Menon’s home in Irinjalakuda, and Munroe island in Kollam, by the photographer Kabilan. “For this calendar, we used male models who aren’t from the industry,” explains Sunil Menon, the fashion designer and activist who co-founded Sahodaran, a sexual health organisation. “The models are all from a fitness or athletic background,” he says, explaining that all the people involved in the project worked free of cost, and all the proceeds will go to the group. Sahodaran’s first fundraiser calendar was released in 2010, to raise funds for HIV projects for the sexual minorities community. Over the years, the calendar has featured themes from resort wear, elements of nature, yoga, and heritage jewellery to sports, apart from a spotlight on the traditional headgear used in Kerala’s theyyam rituals, and one shoot in Hampi, inspired by the grandeur of the Vijayanagara Empire. Established in 1998, the group Sahodaran has been actively working for the welfare of the LGBT community, providing support and services at the grass-root level, and conducting various projects to create awareness regarding issues of sexual health and sexual minorities, apart from fundraising activities for HIV/AIDS prevention work in South India. When it comes to the matter of breaking stereotypes, Sunil points out that many of the barriers to do with gender and sexuality are being steadily, and gradually overcome in the West. Although, the success stories are still few and far between. “Supermodels like Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek, Iman and most recently, actress Lupita Nyong’o, have fantastic personalities,” points out Sunil. “But as you can see — you can count them on your fingers.” As one of the oldest HIV/AIDS prevention programmes of its kind, a community-owned and managed project, specifically working with gay and transgender males, Sahodaran also takes pride in producing the country’s only all-male calendar. For its 2018 edition, Sunil roped in a handful of up-and-coming male models from Ajmer, Chattisgarh, and Delhi as well. “Dark-skinned guys have the most beautiful bodies, and everything shows better on them,” he affirms. `1,200.
A Keralite, born and brought up in Mumbai, she trained as an actor at the New York film academy. A fitness freak who does martial arts and kick boxing, she’s also a classical dancer (bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi), and a member of Shaimak Davar’s dance group. She has modelled for Farookh Chotia, Suresh Natarajan, Vikram Bawa, Jatin Kampani, Colston Julian, Arjun Mark, Prasad Naik, and Tejal Patni. She acted in the play, “Where did I leave my Purdha”, by Lilette Dubey, and also received acclaim for her role as Parnika in the TVF web series, Bisht Please.
A Marathi, born and raised in Bengaluru, Mitali is based in Mumbai, and has walked the ramp for Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Manish Malhotra, Wendell Rodricks, Sabyasachi and Anamika Khanna. Mitali is a known face at London, Florida, Dubai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo fashion weeks. She was featured among the “Most desirable women of Bangalore” in 2014 & 2015.
Born and brought up in Cape Town, South Africa, Priyanka moved to India about three years ago. She has been a part of most of the elite fashion weeks, and walked the ramp for Anamika Khanna, Manish Malhotra, Vikram Phadnis and Rebecca Deewan. She has also worked in a number of TV commercials.
A British Indian from London, Ishika has worked on reputed campaigns and projects for several well-known Indian and international brands related to the design and beauty industries. She has also been featured in many well-known lifestyle and glamour publications, and is a known face on the fashion circuit.