Secretly or openly, most of us have harboured a dream of becoming a model at least once in our lives. And, Ritika Ramtri is one renowned woman, whose guidance has long been transforming the person next door into beauty queen. A veteran beauty pageant trainer and the owner of ‘The Tiara’, a grooming school for models in Pune, she shares her journey and the fascinating world of modelling..
Your journey has been an intriguing one. Tell us about how it began..
I actually began my career as a school teacher. Then, I started working at Apex Institute as a Soft Skills Trainer in 1996 after getting trained by Tack Training (UK). And, my tryst with pageant coaching started accidently in 1997, when, I conducted a soft skills workshop at ‘The Holiday Inn’, where Sandip Soparrkar (a Bollywood choreographer now) happened to work. He, then approached me to train him for Grasim Mr India. Even after not knowing, how to go about it and what to expect, I still took on the task. We both grew and evolved as time went by. He went on to win the Young Turk pageant. That first milestone marked the beginning of my journey into the world of pageant coaching and I am eternally grateful to Sandip for starting me off.
You have trained many Miss India contestants. Who has been your personal favourite and why?
All the girls I have trained have been wonderful and have gone on to win pageants and prove their mettle. Neha Hinge, Zoya Afroz, Tanya Hope, Dipna Patel, Urvashi Rautela, Priyanka Khurana Goyal, Shilpa Bhagat, Vaishnavi Patwardhan, Ankita Thite, Shrreya Shah, Rajni Subba, Niharika Anand, Aishwarya Dhavale and Natasha Singh are some of the Miss/Mrs Indias and Miss Divas who have touched my heart in their own unique way.
What is the duration of your coaching and what all do the models learn?
I have 1 month, 15 days and 7 days pageant coaching programs. If a girl performs well, she can upgrade to a 3 months program. Pageant aspirants are paced through ramp walk training, confidence building, question handling, public speaking, camera facing, makeup lessons, photo shoots, pageant wardrobe building, diction, social graces, deportment, mock interviews and mock pageants to name a few modules.
Many aspirants are still confused about the right path to becoming a model. What would you suggest to them?
A beauty pageant is a credible and respectable way to making an inroad into the modeling world. It also equips you with the skills like ramp walk training, posing for photo shoots, social graces and deportment that are needed to make an impact in the industry.
What is the biggest myth about models?
The biggest myth is that they are bimbos. In fact, models and pageant girls in particular have to be smart and quick witted to be able to answer questions extemporaneously. Their knowledge of current events and the world has to be up to the mark. Leaving aside a few exceptions, successful models are versatile, intelligent and comfortable in their own skin.
Modelling is often considered as an unpredictable profession. How long can one’s modelling career actually last?
A model has a shelf life. If they maintain themselves, they can pull it off till they are 40. However, since modeling has a shorter span, I recommend to have a backup plan and a career in place. I never allow anyone to give up on academics
Do the Miss World and Miss Universe actually give away their crowns to the new winners or the crowns remain with them all their lives? Please unravel this mystery for our readers.
The Miss World crown (insured at over 2 Million pounds) is only used during the coronation night. You can tell it by its darker stones. For the duration of her reign, Miss World travels with a replica (cost 75,000 pounds when it was made in 1972, so must be worth nearly 5 times of that now). However, she does not get to keep the replica as it is also made with precious and semi-precious stones. The key difference is that the real Miss World crown is made with real diamonds and sapphires and the replica with tanzanite and natural crystals.
Miss Universe on the other hand, does not have a replica crown. Whenever you see her crown, it is the real one. The outgoing Miss Universe passes her crown to her successor like an heirloom.
What is your advise on improving one’s personality.
The key to improving your personality lies within us. Three things which can help are:
1. Have belief in yourself and your abilities. This will give you the confidence, which is much required in today’s competitive world.
2. Own your surroundings. Be at ease with yourself and be calm. A calm and happy persona is always appealing.
3. Be a positive thinker. See the glass as half full. Optimism will help you when nothing else will.