She has been the face of Musli, Pepsodent and she is every bit bold, classy and determined. Model/ Actor Jovita Mary Estibeiro breaks the ‘diva’ life down for us!
The first thing that came to your mind when you were announced the winner for Miss South India 2009?
The first thing that came to mind was “Do I have to walk up there? Did they just call my name?” I was in shock. I am from Bangalore. The pageant was held in Kerala and the second runner up was from Kerala. I thought she would get a lot more support and she’d win. I was expecting a more biased decision.
Your first ad and what you remember the most about it?
The first commercial that I did was right after the South India contest. This was again shot in Kerala and what I remember most about this ad is that I actually had to do it in four different languages. This was a Musli Power ad for old people for energy. My call time was 5am in the morning and I had to shoot with this old grandpapa. I had to shoot this in Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and English. I know Kannada because I studied it in school. I was raised speaking English. Telugu and Malayalam were difficult and they wanted me to say the whole dialogue without splitting it into parts. I had only a few hours to do this. It was a challenge but eventually I got it right.
What’s the best and the worst thing about being in the showbiz industry?
The best thing is if your mind is set on something, it makes you really strong as an individual. You have to multi task to be in this industry. I was 17 when I started and I had university. I have missed out on some of the most teenage years, friends because I was travelling and shooting. When I look back, I feel it made me a strong and a committed person.
The worst is that a lot of people fail to see talent. Sometimes these beauty pageants are rigged. When the girls have to represent internationally they weren’t chosen for their talent. People here want to achieve things quickly and they forget about building a solid base, so it breaks halfway through. When I went to Mumbai to make my modelling career, I met someone for work and he told me if you need to do movies you need patience and know that you may or may not make it or you need influential people in the industry. This kind of discourages people.
What’s your secret to success?
I think hard work really paid off. Not a lot of models talk about this but I have always been completely open about it. In 2013 I was invited to do a hotel launch. At the meeting, this guy starts saying that I need to sleep with someone to make it happen. I told him he may have other models doing this but not me. 20 years from now when I reach ultimate success, I don’t want to be looking back and saying this is why I am here. This is why I am not in the movies. There was a Tamil movie I got finalized for. When I flew down to sign the contract, they said I’d have to sleep with the producer at least once. Sometimes I directly ask them right at the beginning. The term they use is “compromise”. I know people who have done it, but it’s quick fame. Your dignity and hard work is what leads you to success. I want freshers to not give these guys what they want because they get used to it and expect it. After I left this meeting I was shaking. It makes a lasting impression on your mind. You question – Is this how they see models? As a piece of meat?
Name some of the brands you have been associated with?
A reality show called Truth Love Cash Season 1, Musli Power, Pepsodent Toothpaste, Indigo Nation, Bounce Hair Salon. Devji, a new jewelry brand in Bahrain is the most recent one.
What are your future plans?
I can do a lot more internationally as a model instead of investing time here [to get into movies]. I have tied up with agencies in Europe and got into one of the agencies in Amsterdam called Mods Amsterdam. I am leaving for my masters in London in September so I plan to work there. I feel Indians are more exotic there. It’s what’s happening the brands in India prefer Caucasian models. I’d rather put my time into becoming an international model. I have always wanted to model and it brings me such joy… you meet so many amazing people through this journey.
Jovita for Indigo Nation:
IAD wishes Jovita Estibeiro best for her future endeavors! You can follow her on Twitter.