By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | August 26, 2019

Chiselled face, regal poise, articulate and sure of where she wants to go. This in short describes Maitri Chauhan, born in Dehradun and who has been brought up in Mumbai and is currently doing her fourth year (Textile Design) at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

Maitri, who has always been interested in the glamour field, won the Ahmedabad Times Fresh Face when she was in the second year of her college. That gave her the confidence to pursue her dream full throttle, while at the same time understanding and knowing that there can be no compromise where her education is concerned. Which is why she decided to give the Miss India Pageant this year a miss, as she was selected for a student exchange programme to Germany: “I was in a fix,” says the calm Maitri when questioned about her decision to skip the Miss India Pageant. “I spoke to a lot of people from the industry and they advised me that I was very young (19 years) and that I should focus on my studies this year. There is always the next year,” adds Maitri who is happy she made the decision as the trip to Germany opened her mind not only to Textile Designing but also to the field she is so fond of—modelling.

The winner of the December 2018 Batch of Cocoaberry, Talent and Academy, Maitri is glad with the exposure she got with Alesia and Anjali Raut. “I met a lot of people from the industry which helped in shaping my confidence as I could ask a lot of questions which only they could answer. I became a better version of myself after my stint at Cocoaberry: The way I talk, walk and reflect upon myself is my biggest takeaway from Cocoaberry,” says Maitri, who has chalked out her future plans.

Opening Doorz met up with Maitri after she got back from her six-month stint in Germany. Today was her first day in college after her German education trip.

Maitri Chauhan: From India to Germany
It has always been a dream for me to pursue Textile Designing at the NID, Ahmedabad,” says Maitri Chauhan.

I am Maitri Chauhan…

I’m currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Textile Design at the National Institute of Design. I’m quite fond of arts, dramatics, dancing, and reading and have also been a state level athlete. By nature, I’m very enterprising and a people’s person and I believe a lot of that comes from having travelled around the world as a kid with my father who is a captain in the Merchant Navy. I recently wrote a book (my research work) on a tribal community in Uttrakhand. I was the winner of Ahmedabad Times Fresh Face two years ago and was also crowned at Mumbai auditions of Campus Princess 2019.

Textile Designing, my passion…

It has always been a dream for me to pursue Textile Designing at the NID, Ahmedabad. This is India’s rank one design college. Textile Design can be very laborious and one has to persevere throughout. Some of the things textile designing include are weaving, dyeing, apparel, fabric construction, craft research and one of my favourites—print making. Currently, I’m working on my design project, which is based on Blind People’s Association, Ahmedabad, where I will space design to help aid the blind through their daily lives. 

Training at the Hof University, Germany…

I was recently selected to go on a six-month student exchange programme to Germany. I was at the Hof University of Applied Sciences from March to August, 2019. Besides learning a lot of new Textile Design techniques, software and machinery, I also experienced a very independent and liberating lifestyle as I was on my own. From cooking and grocery shopping to solo backpacking across Europe, I did it all. It was quite an adventure! I visited seven countries including Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia. I also got the opportunity to walk the ramp for various designers at a fashion show for the 25th Anniversary of Hochschule Hof, Germany. I feel they (Germany) are much more advanced with their newer technology and their focus on production. Having said that, I feel, India has a lot to offer as it has been the textile hub of the world. We are focussing on the handicraft and revival of old techniques and the lost art form. Their modern machinery cannot produce weaving as intricately as our handlooms and handicrafts. We have a rich culture and varied techniques. It takes months to complete one saree!

Miss India 2019, the dilemma…

Before I left for my exchange programme, I had won the Mumbai auditions of Campus Princess, a sub pageant of the Miss India organization. I was then supposed to go for the Miss India pageant but after a lot of contemplation and advice from some experienced people in the industry, I decided to apply next year as I was only 19 and still have time. After all, education should always be given the first priority. I now see myself much better prepared than I was before I left for Germany.

Maitri Chauhan: From India to Germany
“My life has always been about balancing my education and my dreams which I personally take on as a healthy challenge,” says Maitri Chauhan

Making her mark in the fashion industry…

I have done a few ramp shows and photo shoots and I have been getting other offers from designers, photographers, modelling and acting agencies which I wish to get into properly once my hostel life in Ahmedabad comes to an end in November, 2019. After that I will be working on my design graduation project internship for six months for which I soon plan on applying to various textile companies in Mumbai. Also, the nationals of Campus Princess 2019 happen soon, the winner of which gets a direct entry in Miss Diva (Miss India Universe). I am keenly looking forward to this. The Campus Princess is much more than a pageant to me, it is a support system and I’m truly glad to be a part of it. 

“I am Miss Universe!” The trigger…

I remember, way back when I was in Grade II, our teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. My hand shot up and I said, “Miss Universe.” I have never wanted anything more in my life than I’ve wanted this. My brief stints with beauty pageants between my education have opened up many doors for me. It has also given me ‘experience from the inside’ which has helped me eventually understand things better. I’ve also participated in a lot of theatre plays in my school days. Let’s see, where life takes me and what works best, but for now, all I can say is that I have worked very hard towards my lifelong dream and hopefully I’ll soon realize them. I do believe that all of us have the potential to do wonders and I’m in no way denying my capabilities to live up to my potential. My life has always been about balancing my education and my dreams which I personally take on as a healthy challenge, realizing how important both of them are to me. Miss India has definitely been a childhood dream!

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