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What it takes to be a Lakme Model?
Allahabad-based Vartila Kaul, 23 who previously featured in the fourth season of MTV's reality show Splitsvilla is a graduate in Business Administration from Delhi University.

From her five-year experience in the entertainment and glamour industry, she's realised that it takes a lot more than just good looks and passion to survive in the industry.

"Money plays a huge role. To be a good model requires you to invest a certain amount of money every month on grooming -- your gym fees, your salon visits, the clothes you wear, the accessories, the make-up. I spend a minimum of Rs 15,000 to 20,000 every month to keep myself fit and healthy. Not everyone is able to afford that kind of money. So, some of them opt out and look for alternate employment," says Kaul who also played a small role in the Hindi film Dehraadun Diary.

Age can be a deterrent too, says Neev Marcel.

"In the process of gaining more and more experience, you'll take up lesser-known projects and probably age out. By the time you even realise this, new models will take your place," she warns.

"The key is to start early and do as many projects when you are at the peak of your career," Marcel advises.

Image: An aspiring model rests her n*ked feet before her turn arrives at the Lakme auditions in Mumbai.
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani