Lekha Prajapati, our cover girl this month, is a model and actor from Jaipur, Rajasthan. She is a perfect blend of pretty looks and positive attitude. Taking time out from her busy schedule, Lekha spoke to IAD to share her love for the glamorous ad world, a peek into her life, and her mantra for success. Here are some snippets from our interview.
What made you choose modeling and acting as a career?
Born and raised in Jaipur, I had a gala time modeling during my college days. Though I had plenty of modeling opportunities in the Pink City, the main action was in Delhi. So, I used to travel a lot to Delhi, do ramp walks, fashion shows, and shoot for some huge brands, campaigns and catalogs.
I think my commercial and pleasant girl-next-door looks favour me. Audience connect with my personality instantly. Many people say that there’s an instant connection when they see me on TV, YouTube or Instagram. That, besides my girliness, I’m very relatable and natural… ‘arey, yeh tho hum bi karte hein.’ This relatability and vibe is what helps me tick.
But the life of a model is quite short lived. New faces come up every day.
I realized soon that to have a steady and sustainable career, I will have to expand my horizons from modelling to acting. Then, my best friend, Bharati [Perwani] – a big and established name in the theatre scene, helped me connect with a theatre director, who gave me my break. I have done many plays in Jaipur.
Eventually, Mumbai called me!
How difficult was it moving from Jaipur to Mumbai to pursue your Bollywood dream?
It was not difficult – in terms of convincing my parents – but it was very hard finding work initially. I felt like a complete stranger. I had no contacts, nor was I aware of the casting process in Mumbai. It was a gradual learning – going through casting, auditions, getting shortlisted, discussing budgets, and finally being on the set. It’s a dream come true.
Which ad campaigns are you a part of (and brands you want to endorse)?
My journey in Mumbai began with shooting for Toyota campaign. It was produced by 27 Films – one of the biggest production houses in the city.
Soon, I saw myself working with directors like Amit Sharma sir (Badhai Ho), Ram Madhvani sir (Neerja) for Airtel, and Vasan Bala sir for Idea. From then on, I did a lot of ad films. Some of the most popular ones are: Tanishq, Fair & Handsome with Vidyut Jammwal, Amazon with Ali Fazal, Parachute Coconut Oil, Nikon Camera, LuvIt Chocolate, Coca-Cola, Streaks Hair Color and Prettysecrets.com.
To answer which brands I want to endorse – As I’m from Jaipur, I’d love to be the face of Rajasthan Tourism. Just like how Priyanka Chopra is the face of Assam tourism. And, yes, Lakme, if Kareena Kapoor allows that is! (laughs)
My next ad film, for a reputable Tea brand Suresh Triveni (director of Tumari Sulu), will be out very soon. Keep an eye.
Being a model is tough with all the tiring schedules, make-up, and lights. What pushes you to be in this field?
I love being on the set. Put me in front of a camera 24×7, and I’m more than happy. I’ve played the lead actor in almost all of my ad films. When you are the main girl, you’re the center of attraction. There are about 25 to 70 people on the set waiting for you to complete the shoot.
Unlike a 9-5, it’s a creative job. I need to play with my emotions and expressions. It’s therefore important to endure and enjoy what you’re doing. Agar muje maza nai aata, how could I deliver a compelling output!?
Your advice to aspiring models on building and exuding self-confidence?
Stay humble, keep improving yourself, and learn along the way. Even Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, the Shahenshah of Bollywood, is admired more for his humility.
You’re a graceful dancer. What’s your relationship with dance, and what are your other passions/ hobbies?
I’m a trained Kathak dancer. And I’m learning belly dancing these days. As for other hobbies, I love swimming, reading books, and yes, definitely, socializing.
It’s not easy being the ambassador for a lingerie brand in India. How did Pretty Secrets happen?
I feel great and proud to be the brand ambassador for Prettysecrets.com. I participated in Miss India, so it was not like I have never worn a bikini or I’d be uncomfortable with it.
This opportunity wasn’t easy, though. There was a huge audition in Bombay for the brand, with models from all the agencies, along with pretty international models. I wasn’t overwhelmed. If the brand had selected me from such talented pool of girls, they must’ve seen something in me that must’ve clicked.
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#Repost @prettysecrets with @get_repost ・・・ This is the last call for participation 💖 Have you participated in our #PSGoesToKempsCorner contest yet? If not do participate. It will give you a chance to find out our #pssweetheart @lekhaprajapati 's top picks from PS 💓 #redefinebasics #myprettysecrets
So, what’s your idea of competition? And your mantra to stay ahead of it?
Name one industry where there’s no competition? When it comes to working, am a selfish person; I take competition very positively. I’m always in the zone and with every new project I work on, I strive to improve and compete with no one but myself.
Don’t get me wrong; I do appreciate the work of other models. I know girls who do 10s of ads in one month. I’m always self-centered, so I don’t feel insecure or cringe. I’m happy doing the quality work, playing my part. And trust me, life’s a lot easier when you don’t compare yourself with others.
Please tell us about your family and their support.
My father is a senior journalist, and my mom is a homemaker. Both my parents are open-minded, so they never opposed me or stopped me from moving to Bombay or pursuing my dreams. My dad is immensely supportive. He never pushed me to do something I didn’t like. It was my choice always. I thank my parents for their constant encouragement.
Where can production houses, agencies, and fans reach you?
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Yepiee!!!!! Me on the Cover Page of @newwomanindia #AugustEdition✌️ #Repost @newwomanindia with @get_repost ・・・ The August issue is out! Have you grabbed your copy yet?😀 Model- @lekhaprajapati Hair and Makeup – @jeanclaudebiguineindia Outfit – Polka dot shirt from @ajiolife Styled by @akanksha_narang
Interview by Wajendhar R Kulkarni.