• From the front line to the runway, Nikita Sahay’s extraordinary journey

    Nikita Sahay, a former Captain in the Indian Army was prompted to switch gears and pursue her love for modelling after reading Ayn Rand. Nikita, whose father was an Air Force officer and mother a teacher, had completed her graduation in English Literature from Delhi University. In her second year, she had cleared the Combined Defense Services Exams with an all India rank of 4. As a former NCC cadet, it was only a natural progression for her to join the army.

    Nikita Sahay, a former Captain in the Indian Army was prompted to switch gears and pursue her love for modelling after reading Ayn Rand.

    The now supermodel was also enamoured by the fashion industry since her childhood. But, imitating models on the television and strutting around in her living room only made her sisters find her tirade extremely funny. Hailing from a conservative Bihari family, in spite of offers in her college years, modelling was never a career option.

    Hailing from a conservative Bihari family, in spite of offers in her college years, modelling was never a career option for Nikita.

    She says, “While serving as a captain, I had started reading a lot of Ayn Rand’s books. That’s when I realised that my life is my life. Liberty and freedom to do what one wants come at a high cost but that’s what living is all about… She just made everything possible! I broke out of the ’education of obedience’ system with which I was brought up. I broke free, I decided to fly and pursue dreams which really were mine.”

    Nikita’s first audition was for Lakme Fashion Week and she came to know about the opportunity from their Facebook page as she had no other connection to the industry. And she was selected.

    Model Nikita Sahay

    Model Nikita Sahay

    “In October 2014, I started on this new journey. It was a tangentially different world. In the army, I was used to just doing my job and minding my own business, but here you need to be outgoing and a people’s person. I had to undergo complete transformation physically, and fortunately for me, people were patient and accepted and supported me! Even today, the biggest challenge I face is that of communication,” she informs.

    The fashion industry is also often held guilty for perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards, but in spite of external pressures, Nikita took her time to find her ground in the field.

    “I went to Paris as well, got an agency, changed my diet and I easily lost weight. But I did that when I felt I was ready for it and I wanted to.”

    “She adds, I worked very hard, due to my training in the army, carbohydrates had always been an important part of my diet. I heard comments like I was fuller than other models and that I have a certain bust size which would generally be a problem.. but they only strengthened my resolve to keep at it. I went to Paris as well, got an agency, changed my diet and I easily lost weight. But I did that when I felt I was ready for it and I wanted to.”

    Nikita loved walking the ramp in a beautiful gown for designer Saurabh Gt in the recent edition of Lakme Fashion Week.  For anyone aspiring to be a model, her advice is to prioritise on themselves and develop a thick skin. She says, “You are here because you are good and let no one ever make you forget that.”

    Read More By Amrita Paul