NINJA SINGH is not your regular international model. She is studying to be a dentist when not rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tom Ford and Alexander Wang. Plus, she lives with her parents in New York, and tries to keep a low profile at Columbia University.
“Most people have no idea I’m a model,” chuckles the 22-year-old, admitting that this will soon change when she signs up with a major skincare brand later this season. Having travelled extensively since she won the Indian chapter of Ford Supermodel of the Year contest back in 2011, Singh marks her attendance at the leading fashion shows in London, Paris and Milan.
Soon, she hopes to bring a reality series to Indian cities, that is similar to Naomi Campbell’s American show, The Face. Name games Singh, who jokes that friends call her ‘terrorist’ or Ninja Turtle/Hattori thanks to her name (which, incidentally, is from an uncle who has named his son ‘Pogo’), says she goes by the pseudonym Mahalakshmi at times as “the long Madrasi name” is strangely appealing.
That said, she is happy to be the only ‘ninja’ on the fashion circuit, and is often mistaken for a Brazilian in New York. Haute couture is a recent discovery, and Singh is refreshingly candid—“I didn’t know brands like Chanel or Karl Lagerfeld existed three years ago,” she begins.
She enjoys being a tomboy and prefers androgynous styles from Kenneth Cole, Zara and Urban Outfitters to any of the fancy brands at her disposal. “Everything awkward is edgy, and that is what I have learnt,” she chortles.
Food, travel and beauty Counting Morocco and national parks in Central America as her favourite destinations, the self-confessed foodie lists Tao as the place to go to in New York “for a food orgasm,” together with a dhaba at #29, Lexington Avenue for $7 meals.
She follows no special diet, but goes vegan right before the fashion weeks. As for beauty rituals, she swears off crazy ones like using honey bees or small fish to exfoliate the face (tried out by her fellow models) and banks on the classic mantra of “eating well, sleeping well and playing well.”