Brazilian model Bruna Bernandes -- who wants to become a cardiologist -- is in India to try her luck.
She's already worked with SRK and Salman and finds India safer than Brazil.
She loves India for its food and kind people. A Brazilian national, she finds India safer than her own country.
At 22, this beautiful young woman is here to take the Indian fashion world by storm.
She has not only modelled for various fashion magazines and brands, she has also shared screen space with Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan.
She is all set now to rule the runway at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive show -- scheduled August 24 to 28, 2016 -- with her alluring gait and beaming beauty.
Hailing from Nova Serrana in Brazil, model Bruna Bernandes catches up with Rediff.com's Tista Sengupta.
How did you get into modelling?
I started modelling at 15 in Brazil. After completing my schooling, I worked at a fashion retail outlet Seducao Novidades where I sold clothes and shoes.
While working, I decided to get into modelling. I visited Sao Paulo to kickstart my modelling career. Unfortunately, nothing happened.
My mom Ana Claudia Bernandes da Silva Melo -- who works as a director of a school -- sent several e-mails to various modelling agencies. Yet I failed to bag any assignment.
One day a famous scouter Cesar Hining spotted me in my city Nova Seranna. I enrolled myself with the BRM Model agency in Sao Paulo. I moved to Sao Paulo.
My first shoot was for a book for author Marcio Amaral. I don't remember how much I was paid, but I gave my first salary to my mother.
Gradually, I got to do more work. I did fashion shoots for brands like Desafio da Beleza, Livo eyewear, Showroom Casa Moda, Carrano, etc. I was also featured in photographers' Lucas Fonseca, Land Hugo and Marko Ganzaro's fashion books. I participated in fashion shows like Hering for you, Arezzo e Ana Capri and Daslu.
But the biggest break in my career happened at 19 when I got to shoot a look book for the brand Chico Rei.
How did Lakme Fashion Week happen?
I was already modelling in Brazil and came down to Mumbai in May last year to try my luck in modelling.
In Mumbai, I got associated with Mezora Talents and heard about Lakme Fashion Week.
I attended a show, but didn't take part in the auditions. All I can remember is that after watching the show, I wanted to become a part of this fashion week.
After living here for nine months, I took a break and left for Brazil. I came back this year to take part in the model auditions for the Winter/Festive show.
This is the first time I appeared for the Lakme auditions, and see I got selected!
Nine months in Mumbai -- what did you do?
I did fashion shoots for brands like Godrej, Snapdeal, Zivar jewellery, Myntra, Jabong, Vero Moda, Globus and Reliance. I even modelled for fashion catalogues for designers Dimple and Amrin and did a billboard shoot for Sanmohi designer studio.
Fashion magazines like Women's Era and Vogue and blogs like Who Wore What When have featured me in their fashion shoots.
I have also worked in two television commercials for brands VIP Frenchie and D'decor. In the D'decor shoot, I got a chance to work with the King of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan and his designer wife Gauri Khan.
I was taken by surprise when I got to shoot with Shah Rukh. I have watched My Name is Khan in Brazil and I loved it.
I was so shy that I couldn't talk to him much, but I got pictures with him. He's such a gentleman.
I worked in two music videos -- a Punjabi music video Battiyaan by Manpreet Dhami and Osama Bin Laden vs Saddam Hussein featuring Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat.
I got a background role in Sultan. I haven't seen any of Salman's movies, but I found him really sweet.
Working with Salman and Shah Rukh felt great. They have a lot of fan followers in Brazil.
During my stay here, I learnt English. It was difficult initially, but I never took classes. Thanks to frequent conversations with my friends and clients who helped me pick up the language quickly.
I also picked up Hindi... but I can only speak little. I have learnt things like aap kaise ho, mera naam Bruna hain, chalo chalo, thoda thoda.
How is it living in India?
I feel safer here than in Brazil. When I came to Mumbai, I was a bit scared. Fortunately, nothing wrong has happened to me yet.
People here are so friendly. India has such good energy around.
The place I hail from -- Nova Serrana -- has so much of drugs and the goons have guns. It's really badass.
In India, do you feel an edge over Indian models?
Honestly, I don't know. I have often heard people tell me that I look half Indian and half foreigner. (I) think that's good and works for me.
What was the biggest challenge you have come across?
I was very shy in my younger days. I hardly spoke to anyone.
It's only after I started to work at the fashion store in Brazil and became a model that I began to interact with people more often. I can now have a conversation with anyone I meet.
How are you preparing for Lakme Fashion Week?
Working out regularly is a must. I am mostly into aerobics.
I love Indian food. Whenever I have a heavy meal, I make sure I sweat it out at the gym for a little more time.
I like to run every day. When you run, you lose. And when you do weights training, you make yourself strong.
I have started to do yoga. I am planning to indulge in pilates too.
To keep myself relaxed, I pray to God. I am preparing myself well. I will try to give my best on the ramp.
Your beauty secrets
- I wash my face with water regularly. It helps the skin to breathe properly.
- When my skin is dry, I use a cream to moisturise it. For my hair, I use coconut oil. Sometimes, I use the oil on my body too.
- To keep my skin soft, I have a special treatment. It's a home-made remedy. I use a paste made of honey and sugar as a scrub on my face once in a week.
Your diet regime for the fashion week?
My diet now comprises more of salads and fruits.
How are international fashion shoots different from the ones here?
The only difference I have found is in the clothes. In Brazil, it's all Western and here it's a mix of Western and Indian.
Also, the make-up for fashion shoots are more on the lighter side in Brazil. It's quite subtle. But in India, it's all about heavy make-up.
Do you think Indian women go overboard with make-up?
I think women in Brazil do a lot of make-up when they go out. In India, women use it properly and they don't go overboard with it.
Which designers did you model for at the India Couture Week 2016?
I walked for Manav Gangwani, Anita Dongre, Manish Malhotra, Gaurav Gupta and Anamika Khanna. All of them were super good with their work.
You haven't completed your graduation. Do you plan to pursue further studies?
Of course I do. I want to take up medicine and become a cardiologist. But for now, I want to concentrate on modelling.
In a few years, I shall perhaps stop modelling and start studying.
Although I haven't decided a age when I shall do this, but after 24, if I don't become a popular model I shall go back to studying.
I know people look up to doctors and engineers. They think that modelling isn't a good profession. But they have never understood the job of a model. It's not easy at all.
We have to live far away from our families. We have to keep ourselves prepared for our job all the time.
We have sleepless nights. In fact, there are times I miss speaking to my family.
It was only after I became a model that I realised that this job takes so long to get done. And even then people think that it's easy just because it has a glamour quotient attached to it.
Indian designs -- do you like them?
I love wearing saris and lehengas. Saris make me look so sexy.
Your favourite designers
Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana.
Models you admire the most
Victoria's Secret angels Alessandra Ambrosio and Candice Swanepoel. They are just so HOT.
Your advice to aspiring models
Never lose hope. Keep trying.
The start might be difficult and complicated. It will be tough to get the chance that you have been looking. But when you get it, grab it and keep yourself focussed.