Refreshingly older than most emerging faces on the modelling scene, 28-year-old. Bhumika was born in Karnal, India, and is a lesson in the power of conviction and determination. She grew up obsessed with watching models on the international television channel, StyleTV. 'I couldn't give up without trying,' she says about her decision to send pictures to a photographer as 'an experiment' after years of secretly practising by taking selfies on her phone.
While concerned that most of the models she'd admired on television seemed to have kicked off their careers in their teens, Bhumika is happy to have started later. 'I think I value things more because I didn't get them easily. I also finished my education, which is important to me and it's important in India. You have to be educated; there's an expectation to be a doctor, or an engineer, or a lawyer. University was the best time of my life – I studied business administration.' That footing has helped her manage life as a model in 2016. 'It helped because I started working when I was already a professional. I think if I'd started before I wouldn't have known how to behave.' She'd still love to do a masters degree; she tried when modelling in India, but had to postpone it when she began gaining success internationally. During the AW16 shows alone she walked for giants such as Chanel, Balmain and Dries Van Noten. She's also gone from fewer than 2,000 Instagram followers to nearly 18.9k in under a year.
Her culture remains central to how she handles and positions herself within today's industry and she has principals that she won't bend. 'I know my limits,' she says. 'I won't do anything that I'd be ashamed of.' Pivotal to this is a rule that she won't go topless or wear sheer clothing on the runway. 'It's something in India that is important – it's some- thing no Indian girl would do. It's my decision and it's to do with my culture. I do feel guilty for giving designers another thing to worry about when they're trying to put together their shows, but I still can't do it. People have been understanding.' She hopes to inspire other Indian girls and guide them into the industry. 'When I started, everything was so new that I didn't notice I was the only Indian girl. Backstage, all the other models from the same countries would be hanging out together and I started to notice. Back then, south Asia was untouched – now there are so many Indian models being introduced. I feel good, but then I felt sad that they weren't there when I was starting out!'
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