When two top fashion choreographers Anu Ahuja and Lubna Adam unanimously name Saloni Khanna as a model to watch, there has to be a reason why the gorgeous 5’ 9”, 60 kgs, 34”-26”- 36” scores a Perfect 10.
“Saloni is a beautiful girl with a lovely bone structure so a photographers dream. Her face lends itself to an Indian sensibility and yet can look very exotic and occidental. Most importantly, she can emote – that’s so very important for a model as a beautiful face is not enough to be successful. She’s also courteous, professional and disciplined,” observes Anu Ahuja.
Adds Lubna Adam: “She is beautiful, great skin, tall, composed, no tantrums or bad attitude, photogenic, walks well and has all the potential for a star.”
So who is Saloni Khanna and why is the fashion world in love with her? A true blue typical South Delhiite with an engineering degree in electronics and instrumentation from ITM University Gurugram, Saloni had a normal job at Tata Consultancy Services when in 2016 a Delhi agency, Purple Thoughts, spotted her and introduced her to a world she was oblivious to that changed her life.
“My inner voice screamed – DO IT! And so I did. I believe that things that belong to you have a way of finding you and then keeping them or letting them go is something you take a call on. Modelling was like that. I never considered it a career option because I was too busy following what I thought was my path and sometimes when you least expect it, things take a turn for the better. Glad it happened.”
Now based in Mumbai with Inega agency, Saloni reflects that had she not started modelling she would have still been working with an MNC. “But I know now that it would have been extremely mundane and I would have eventually quit.”
The Fabindia campaign in 2016 was the start of her ladder of success followed by numerous fashion weeks, shows all over India, along with print campaigns for Sunsilk, OLX, Airtel, Tata Cliq, Fair and Handsome that catapulted her into the limelight.
Saloni sees advantages and disadvantages in being a model. “They vary as you progress in the field. Your advantages at one point tend to become your disadvantage later and vice versa. The constant need to evolve is driving as well as taxing sometimes. People are always looking for new faces and new talents so I feel you have to constantly re-invent yourself. Nothing is easy. It’s a constant struggle of wanting more and then balancing your needs with what you are able to achieve. I was lucky that I was ‘found’ by the agency but everything after that was hard work and the need to excel. Also, when you fall in love with what you do, things become slightly easier.”
Since 2016, she has worked with numerous photographers and choreographers. “I have been fortunate to have been associated with the right people at the right time. I have worked with all the top choreographers in our country and some extremely known and talented photographers.”
So will Bollywood be the next step? “I have never been a planner. Each day as it comes. I believe that there is so much talent out there and I would first like to work on my craft (acting per se) before I think of throwing myself to the mercy of film making in our country. And the process of working on self has begun.”
A simple Indian beauty, Saloni loves dal chawal and home-cooked food, relaxes with music, dancing, singing and playing an instrument, considers herself an ambivert, loves wearing a midi skirt with nice shirts and feels the best thing about being on the ramp is, “All eyes on you! The attention and the feeling that comes with it.” Keeping fit means constantly moving, sleeping and eating right.
She has many favourite designers but loves Manish Malhotra not just for his clothes but also for the person that he is. She adores model Lakshmi Rana “I can’t take my eyes off her.”
So will Saloni ever enter a beauty contest? “I never felt the need to. I am already doing the things that you do post the pageants, so it never crossed my mind.”
Beautiful, talented, intelligent, disciplined, there is no doubt that Saloni Khanna is all set to make 2019 her year as Ramp Queen.
Meher Castelino is one of India’s best known fashion journalists and commentators. Long before India was recognised as the home of style and beauty queens, Meher was crowned Miss India. Way, way back in 1964! She has also mentored many emerging divas, including a certain Aishwarya Rai. Meher writes in many Indian and international publications. For Xyngr, she stylegazes every Wednesday.