"Dabboo Ratnani had such a tough time being stringent with the girls!"
Danielle Canute is the sensational winner of the first season of India’s Next Top Model (INTM).
With close to none professional modelling experience, the leggy beauty has displayed a natural flair throughout the reality competition TV show.
She has fought against all odds, including being at the Bottom Two twice, to win the title desired by young girls up and down the country.
In an exclusive interview with DESIblitz, the 19-year-old reminisces her Top Model adventure and looks forward to launching her web series!
Have you always wanted to be a model and why?
“I’ve always been fascinated with the fashion industry. Modelling is something that just came to me.”
What did you do before India’s Next Top Model?
“Before INTM, I had never modelled professionally. Everything on the show was my first time and that’s what made the experience even more thrilling and very challenging.”
Why did you decide to audition for the show?
“I would never have had the courage to audition for something so big on my own. It was when supermodel Alesia Raut scouted me and gave me my first audition which turned my life around.”
You exuded a quiet confidence throughout the show and eventually won the competition. How did you do that?
“That was a new found confidence that got me through a lot on the show. Winning came as a surprise to me.”
What was going through your mind when you ended up in Bottom Two twice?
“It was such an important time in the competition when I knew I couldn’t mess up, and getting in the bottom two that one time was enough for me to pick myself up and give it my all!”
Tell us something we don’t know about the judges!
“Lisa Haydon always manages to comfort you with her advice and has the ability to make you realise where your strengths truly lie.
“Dabboo Ratnani is the sweetest and had such a tough time being stringent with the girls.
“Anusha has this electrifying energy that lights up everyone around always!
“Mr. Gaba knows what the industry demands and does nothing less to help his girls achieve the best.”
What was it like sharing a house with other contestants for so many weeks?
“It was the first time I ever lived alone and being the only child I was so new to sharing space with other people.
“It was the best part about the show, the girls really helped de-stress.
“From imitations to late night conversations with a little bit of drama, the Top Model house has seen it all.
“We were equally lazy. But a bunch of girl getting ready at the same time? We all know no one is ever going to be on time!”
What does winning INTM mean to you personally and professionally?
“Personally, I learned that nothing good comes out if you perpetually put yourself down, you’ve got to admit that you can do amazing things.
“Professionally, a newbie can make their mark among experienced people if done right.”
What did you learn about yourself in the show?
“That you yourself are the strongest person in your life! Doing the impossible really exists.”
How is life different after INTM? What is a typical day in your life?
“My life hasn’t changed much, I’m very grounded when it comes to who I am and what I do.
“I’m currently studying in St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. So my day includes going to college, sometimes rushing to a shoot right after!”
What have you been doing in the fashion/modelling world?
“I’m currently signed up with Bling Entertainment Solutions and working on my own web series with MTV India called The Style Files.”
How is the reality of being a model different to what you expected?
“It’s a lot more difficult than I imagined. Models out there work so hard! It really is all about your confidence that gives you that extra edge.”
You are obviously a talented model. What do you wish you were better at?
“I really wish I was better at cooking than I am at eating!”
Tell us a bit about your favourite things in life!
“I cannot resist any food with a little extra spice. My favorite movie has got to be Pretty Woman.
“I love the colour Marsala, it really compliments my dusky skin tone, whether its makeup or clothes.
“Currently obsessing over NARS makeup. You’ve got to love every collection Elie Saab comes out with.”
Who is your role model?
“My parents of course.”
What is your life motto?
“This is something my dad has been telling me since I was a kid: Before you become anything you want to in your life? become a good human being.”
What do you want to achieve in the next 5 years?
“I’m taking everything that comes my way one at a time, who knows, maybe I’ll surprise myself again in my future endeavours.”
What would you say to the contestants of INTM Season 2?
“The criticisms and advice from the judges in your key to the competition. Don’t pay much heed to what anyone else has to say.”
Modelling is without a doubt a difficult industry to break into and one that is full of unexpected challenges.
And as we have seen in Danielle Canute’s journey, life as a model isn’t always easy breezy and winning certainly comes with a price.
But if her story has proven anything, a humble spirit and a lot of hard work is hardly a hefty price to pay for one’s dream career.