Cute and confident are the words that come to mind when you look at her work. Having started commercial modelling while in school, she has more than 100 advertisements to her credit. Perhaps most recognized for her Himalaya Herbals campaign – whose billboards are all over the place – the cheerful Anandita Pagnis is more captivating than what meets the eye! Read on.
Anandita, what’s your definition of a model? Was Vivel Facewash your first commercial?
A model is someone who not only lends his/ her face but also brings credibility to a brand; someone audience can look up to and say ‘I want to be like him/ her so I will use this product’. It’s not all about having the perfect looks but also a certain vibe that people automatically connect to.
My first ad was for ‘Fiama Di Wills – Hannah Montana’ when I was in grade 10. Soon, I started getting more work and Vivel [with Adaa Khan] happened – probably it was my sixth ad. The commercial nonetheless got me my initial recognition as a model.
Six years as a model… what do you like the most about commercial modelling and why? What next … anchoring?
With ad modelling, it’s a new day, every day, which means it is a new script and a fresh performance every single time. The transformation really challenges you. There is always something new to learn on set, which is what I like the most. Also, I love being in front of the camera, and getting paid for it; I don’t think it gets better!
What’s next? I don’t know yet. I’m enjoying my journey and let’s see where it takes me. You’re right, anchoring does fascinate me. I want to host a travel show. I know it is a crazy hectic job, but it is something I definitely want to strike off my bucket list.
You say you love the camera. How much self-confidence does it take for a newcomer to model for a brand? What should one take care of before going for auditions?
I love the camera! In fact, many people say that I transform when the camera rolls on. Confidence is the key when modelling, because camera catches everything. Even the slightest hesitation will show. The first thing a newcomer needs is to do is shed his/ her inhibitions. Because, beyond that there is an entire world to explore, so much to learn and the best part – it’s fun. Self-confidence doesn’t come overnight. When I did my first ad, I remember, I was a clueless child on set. I’ve done more than a 100 ads since, and this experience has really upped my confidence.
Before going for auditions, one has to make sure they are well groomed. Their makeup and hair style can be minimal but they must look presentable. After that, let their confidence take over. When the camera comes on they must be in charge, take the stage, and go there knowing they will own it.
What would the first destination be if you are given a chance to travel for free? 🙂
Europe! Some place wandering and experiencing the rich art and culture, enjoying walking on the streets, and eating good food. I was very lucky to have got the opportunity to travel to Switzerland for a shoot. We shot at relatively remote locations that I would never have explored as a tourist. I am so grateful for the places my work takes me to. I love Thailand and I get to go there often!
How did you develop interest toward arts?
Art for me is a form of creative expression. When I’m having a rough day, I sit down with a brush and a canvas and let loose. I have been painting since childhood. I don’t know how I developed this particular interest but along the way, I have had mentors who have been very encouraging. So, my love for arts grew further.
What do you want to convey through your paintings? Do you have a degree in design?
My paintings have conveyed different things at different phases of my life. Each painting is a different journey because there’s so much around us to derive inspiration from. I enjoy exploring fresh themes and dabbling with new techniques. When something really inspires me, I usually create more work and make a series out of it. I don’t have formal training in design but I try to educate myself through the internet and books. However, a degree in arts is something I’ve always wanted to pursue. I think I’ll do it someday!
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I can’t pinpoint one single achievement. I’ve made a conscious decision to stick to doing only TVCs and print ads till now. Almost all my big projects have opened doors to better opportunities. The Oreo commercial with Ranbir Kapoor, and Himalaya Anti-Hair Fall shampoo campaigns got me a lot of recognition. Then, Tropicana Orange Juice and McDonald’s happened. My ads for Parle Kismi and 9 Apps are on air currently and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on them as well.
Who supports you the most in your endeavours? If parents – mom or dad?
Both, actually. One tends to see a lot of ups and downs in this industry. Emotional support goes a long way and my parents have been my pillars of strength. I discuss my work with both of them, but my mom is always in it with me, full time. I run most of my decisions by her. She would always accompany me on to the set when I was younger and she still comes sometimes.
How do you deal with creepy fans online?
I’ve kept my online presence minimal. It’s only recently that I’ve started posting my work. I don’t have a website or a Facebook page so I don’t really know how people have found me! Well, the best one can do is to ignore creepy fans. Having said that, I also get many encouraging fan mails – especially when an advert releases. I won’t lie, I quite enjoy that attention! [Signs off]
More of Anandita Pagnis paintings and photos on her Insta page.