Why Ujjwala Raut is India's Most Successful Model

"Be exactly who you are, and people will appreciate you for it."

Her Wikipedia page describes her as India's most successful supermodel, and that's not an exaggeration.

Ujjwala was 17, the year was 1996, and she had just won the Femina Look of the Year award. But with a face like hers, she was clearly slated for even bigger exposure. In just six years, she broke into the Paris scene. Tom Ford spotted her, and had her walk for his Spring showcase. Almost instantly, she landed a spot on Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Oscar de la Renta, Missoni, and every other bigwig designer. Back home, she created just as much of a stir by walking for everybody who mattered, from Wendell Rodricks to Tarun Tahiliani—working the lehenga and the gown with equal panache.

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She recounts her Dolce & Gabbana campaign in 2004 as a turning point, but the eventual list is much longer—including Yves Saint-Laurent, Gap, H&M, and more! Not to mention a magazine-rack full of covers for every top Indian and international mag (Ujjwala is also first Indian girl to be on the cover of London's art and culture magazine, Tank)!

So, what does Ujjwala have to say to the next batch of India's upcoming models? "When I started out, you had to be Russian or Brazilian to make it in the industry. But I didn't let my ethnicity deter me. So my advice is: be exactly who you are, and people will appreciate you for it."

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