By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | December 27, 2020

Naomi Campbell is the name that comes immediately to mind when one sees Zarah Philip. It’s not only about the looks, but the complete package: walk, rhythm, confidence and aura. Even before she can take in the compliment, I tell her that closer home she reminds me of Sheetal Malhar and Madhu Sapre. At a loss for words, she reacts, almost inaudible, “Naomi is my favourite.”

A dynamite, this South Indian, living in the suburbs of Mumbai, India, is focussed on the path she has set out on. “I want to be a super model,” she says. There is no arrogance, but simple, plain confidence in the profession she has chosen and is working on.

Her ‘dare-to-bare’ photo shoots and the ease with which she metamorphoses into what the photographer wants her to be is proof of her confidence. Nothing vulgar, a piece of art is what the final result is.

Just 18, Zarah is juggling between her college studies and assignments. “Fair and lovely is not my game, and it should not be anyone’s,” says Zarah who, whilst growing up, was made fun of for her skin colour. Today, she stands tall, skin tone, curly hair et al. She recently participated in Miss Teen International 2019, was in top 5 and won the State title as Miss Teen Kerala 2019.

Opening Doorz to Zarah Philip, a model who is destined to go places.


When did you decide you wanted to step into modelling?

I remember since second grade I’ve always had a thing for modelling, I was 14 when I decided that this is something I really want to do. I kept requesting my parents to allow me to start early; they suggested that I finish school first. I didn’t know anything about this profession and how to start. My father found out about Cocoaberry Pageant and Model Training Academy through a friend and that’s when I met Alesia Raut and her sister Anjali Raut, did the course and that’s how my journey started.

So your parents kept up to their word, but were they really convinced about your conviction?

My mom has always been very supportive. She knew I was clear with what I wanted to do so I never really had to convince her. My dad was a little protective in the beginning but then he trusted my decisions and was supportive about it. I must say I’m blessed to have such understanding parents who have helped me to live my dream.

Zarah Philip International Class
“I didn’t mind trying ‘dare-to-bare’ and it actually turned out better that what I expected it to be,” says Zarah Philip.

You have just set foot into modelling and have immediately dared to bare… and with confidence… is there a game plan behind it?

Having a vision is more important than having a game plan. So my plan is to be the best of what I can be and I know I want to be a supermodel so I’m just going to take challenges as they come… with confidence.

Not all models can pull off ‘dare-to-bare’ shoots. Most end up looking like wannabes. Who encouraged you or was it your own decision?

Confidence is self taught. I realized that I should not be conscious about my skin tone or my curly hair and that’s when I started gaining in confidence which made me want to challenge myself and try new things. I didn’t mind trying ‘dare-to-bare’ and it actually turned out better than what I expected it to be.

Zarah Philip International Class
“As a kid, I was made fun of by other children because of my dark skin tone and curly hair,” says Zarah Philip.

Did you ever feel deterred because of your skin colour, fair and lovely is the game…

As a child, I never liked my skin colour and my curly hair; kids used to make fun of me because of my dark skin tone and that did affect my confidence but not my love for modelling. I don’t believe in changing my colour at all so fair and lovely is not my game and I don’t think it should be anyone’s. People should love their natural skin tone.

Any modelling assignments done so far?

This was my first year at the Lakme Fashion Week and it was amazing. I walked for Gazal Mishra and Deepa Goel and have also done a look book shoot for Jiviva by Jigvijay and Varshah. Besides that I have done a jewellery shoot for Couture India, two campaigns for Farah Khan Jewellery and Kohler India, apart from a lot many other assignments.

Pic Courtesy: @zarah._.philip/Instagram

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