Gloria Tep talks Top Model and Her Mixed Heritage

In an exclusive Gupshup with DESIblitz, Gloria Tep opens up about being the runner up of India’s Next Top Model Season 1 and her mixed cultural upbringing.

Gloria Tep India's Next Top Model

"Tom Hiddleston is an absolute gentleman, with the right amount of charm."

Gloria Tep, in her own words, is ‘a simple middle-class girl born to two culturally diverse parents from Kerala and Nagaland’.

After a whirlwind journey in the first season of India’s Next Top Model in 2015, this simple girl has metamorphosed into a beautiful and confident model.

But the Psychology student dreams of making a difference beyond the fashion world.

DESIblitz catches up with Gloria to chat about everything from modelling, her mixed cultural outlook to why she adores Tom Hiddleston.

As a runner up in India’s Next Top Model Season 1, what does this achievement mean to you?

“Being part of INTM has been one of the best blessing in my life, I learned so many thing not only in terms of modelling but just generally about life as well through this journey.

“Professionally, it has set a bar higher than what I had before, that is to work harder and enjoy the little things in life.”

What is your most memorable INTM photoshoot or challenge?

“It was the underwater challenge. I was under great pressure after the first photoshoot which went haywire.

“I was the first one to perform the underwater challenge and it was thrilling but at the same time very difficult since the gravity kept pushing the body up.

“Nevertheless, the photographer Mr Colston Julian’s instructions and guidance was very clear and I could pull the photoshoot off well. I won the best picture so it was all worth it.”

Gloria Tep India's Next Top ModelMany still remember how you broke the rule at your first photoshoot. Do you see yourself as a rule breaker in life?

“Honestly regarding that incident, I felt it was too silly but I took responsibility for the careless mistake.

“A rule breaker in life, sure, I tend to do things a little differently from others. No one back in school or college who knew me would have ever thought I would take part in a reality modelling show, a lot of them thought I qualify to be a nun.”

How is modelling as a profession different to what you expected?

“Modelling as a profession is very different from what I expected. On set, we have different talents and personalities working together so as a model one has to be in tuned with the whole crew to pull off any shoot. It is good fun once you learn how to get along with the crew.

“Besides, it is so much more than looking good. One has to take very good care of the body, mind and soul to survive in this industry.”

Gloria Tep India's Next Top ModelWhat did you learn about yourself in your INTM journey?

“I learned that my value as an individual does not at all depend on me winning a reality TV show. Winning and losing is just part of life. But what matters the most is the experience I gathered from this journey, and what I make out of that experience.

“I also learned that I am so much more than what people assume of me, and I don’t need anyone’s approval on how I should be. What matters at the end of the day is my conscience and my intentions, if those two are on the right place I am sorted.”

How is life different after the show?

“Things have not changed much after the show, just that now when I go out people recognise me as Gloria Tep from INTM.

“A lot of them walk up to me and tell me they loved my work in the show. There is nothing more satisfying than that.”

You remain close friends with Season 1 winner Danielle Canute. What do you share in common?

Gloria Tep India's Next Top Model“Oh yes, Danielle is a darling she and I have a lot of things in common.

“First thing being we are both Jesus lovers, even in the model house, I remember we often use to pray together, encourage and motivate each other.

“We had this secret deal made between us right from the beginning of the competition that either of us should win the title since we were the only two souls who had no prior modelling experience. I was really happy for her when she won.”

Growing up in a culturally diverse family, how do you embrace your background?

“My mix cultural upbringing is my greatest blessing and strength.

“I am very proud of both my south Indian and Northeastern heritage and speak both the languages fluently. Since both are extremely different from each other culturally, I feel like am a chameleon.

“I can be thrown into any situation and I know I can adapt and get along with any kind of people. I am less complicated due to my mix upbringing and I feel that is my advantage.”

Gloria Tep India's Next Top ModelHow does your passion for Psychology and obtaining a Masters degree in the subject help navigate life?

“It has always helped me come to terms with my mixed identity, I was a confused kid back then. But taking up psychology has really helped me understand and fill in a lot of missing gaps in my life.

“Being aware of one’s emotions, personality traits, weakness and strengths is very important and psychology has always helped me, so every opportunity I get to work for any cause from my subject point of view, I take it up.

“Currently I am working with an NGO called Fourth Wave Foundation. They work in educating children with special needs and organise awareness campaigns for students on issues around sexual abuse, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and social media abuse.

“The psyche of a growing child is most tender and receptive. With proper education, care, love and guidance, I believe every child will grow to be responsible individuals.”

Tell us about your adorable pets!

Gloria Tep India's Next Top Model“I have a Lhasa Apso named Buddy which was a gift from my ex-boyfriend. I am his single mother now. The younger one is a Shih Tzu named Dollar.

“They are both very naughty and loving. Coming back home after a long day to see them eagerly waiting for me makes my life complete. They are both very smart and their soft cold licks convey their love for me!”

What is your favourite…

  • Food ~ Naga Food
  • Colour ~ White
  • Movie ~ Avatar
  • TV show ~ Game of Thrones
  • Book ~ Bible
  • Singer ~ Adele
  • Makeup brand ~ Bobbi Brown
  • Fashion designer ~ Alexander Wang
  • App ~ Instagram

As a huge Tom Hiddleston fan, what is his most attractive quality for you and which celebrity impression would you like to see from him?

“Tom Hiddleston is an absolute gentleman, with the right amount of charm, education, class and moves.

“The fact that he promotes and work for women rights is very sexy! And his extended language skills. Imagine that personality talking to you in French, I could listen to him all day.

“His impression of Chris Evans is really adorable! I would love to see him do Taylor Swift.”

What do you wish you were better at?

“Honestly I believe am still evolving everyday, but I pray I grow to be an excellent artist, which will help me voice out and work for mental health awareness.

“I know it sounds kind of confusing but I have a picture in my mind, traced and ready.”

Gloria Tep India's Next Top ModelWhat is your life motto?

“Love, respect, don’t judge. Be kind.”

What advice would you give to the contestants of INTM Season 2?

“Be yourself, have fun and don’t take the critics too seriously, they don’t define your future, you do.

“Above all remain true to your roots, know your limits and strengths and use those for your advantage.

“Take good care equally of your mental, spiritual and physical health. At the end of the day when the lights go down, you should be happy.”

A charming girl with an infectiously positive attitude, Gloria Tep sees life as a canvas on which her talents and ambitions can burst into a wonderful splash of colours.

And the life she paints will, without a doubt, be nothing less than extraordinary.

Scarlett is an avid writer and pianist. Originally from Hong Kong, egg tart is her cure for homesickness. She loves music and film, enjoys travelling and watching sports. Her motto is “Take a leap, chase your dream, eat more cream.”

Images courtesy of Gloria Tep's Instagram, Sindhur Reddy and India's Next Top Model Official Facebook

Stylist: Aarya Maria Mathai. Art Director: Sanya Jain. Make up: Sahana Bairampalli.