India has long been lauded as a land of vibrancy, noted for its colors, chaos, food and culture. Now establishing itself as a country with not only a huge population but also a booming tech industry and burgeoning middle class, the Indian consumer has become increasingly more coveted by luxury fashion companies. But to have your finger on the pulse of anywhere you’ve got to find out what’s going on in youth culture—and we’ve got you covered. Below, promising models at the heart of India’s youthquake shed some light on their homeland.

Photography by Kay Sukumar for MODELS.com – Styling by Divya Saini (assisted by Akshita Rai and Nida Shaikh)
Hair & Makeup by Gianluca Casu and Nisha Gulati

Suzanne Nayana Baker, 20

Agency: Anima Creative Management (Mumbai)
Where are you from? Guwahati, Assam
Instagram: @suzannenayana

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? I believe in respecting people and animals as they are manifestations of the divine.

Your favourite word or phrase? My mother tongue is a language called Grau Dima and my favorite phrase is “Eili thaubih!” which means “So yummy” and I always say that to my mother who is an awesome cook.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: My mother comes from a place called Haflong and it is a hill station in Assam… it is a sight for sore eyes and the people are awesome.

What do you think India does best? I think India is a kind of a think tank and that’s what Indians do best… They are thinkers. India is also very culturally accepting which I think is very fantastic.


Agency: Anima Creative Management (Mumbai)
Where are you from? Dombivli, Mumbai
Instagram: @pratikshettyyy

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? My skin colour.

Your favourite word or phrase? “Amma” which means Mother.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: I’ve recently been to temples in Ladakh and it’s so amazing.

What do you think India does best? Celebrating the festivals.


Scarlet Raphael, 18

Agency: Feat. Artists
Where are you from? From Kerela, born and brought up in Mumbai
Instagram: @scarlet.raphael

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? A South Indian who loves coconut.

Your favourite word or phrase? ‘Ayio’ which is used instead of ‘oh no’ and ‘Poda’ which means ‘get lost’

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? Indian jewelry with casual clothing.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: Treks in Sanjay Gandhi National Park.


Aanandita Rajawat, 22

Agency: Faze Management
Where are you from? I grew up with an Army  background and lived in most of the Indian states so I don’t think of any place as my hometown but my roots are from Rajasthan.
Instagram: @aananditarajawat

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? I dip my biscuits in Masala chai (tea) and eat them. Also, my full name: Kunwarani Aanandita Singh Rajawat. It’s pretty Indian.

Your favourite word or phrase? ‘Jugaad’/‘Jugaard’ which literally means a hack or a temporary solution but in a creative way. I also use the word ‘arrey’ quite often which is basically an exclamation before any sentence in a very informal way.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: Northeast India for sure. It’s a hidden gem with some of the most beautiful terrain and culture I’ve ever seen.


Nitish Simha, 22

Agency: Feat. Artists
Where are you from? Bangalore
Instagram: @nitish.simha

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? I have this habit of saving wrapping papers as part of my memories whenever I receive a present.

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? Sling bags for men.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: Halebidu, Karnataka.

What do you think India does best? Indian culture is vast in nature and the way its festivals are celebrated in different regions is very much interesting.


Prathiksha Shetty, 22

Agency: Faze Management
Where are you from? Bangalore
Instagram: @prathiksha_shetty

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? Since I’m South Indian, I can’t go a day without having rice in at least one of my meals.

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? I’m seeing a lot of organza back in the trends here in India currently. I personally love it!

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: The local Indian breakfast places here in south India! And the street food in the northern parts! I’m a foodie and I’d totally recommend this.

What do you think India does best? Cultural diversity is and always will remain the best part of India.


Agency: Feat. Artists
Where are you from? Guwahati, Assam
Instagram: @kangkanrabha

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? The most Indian thing about me is crossing the streets without any fear. Just kidding. Follow traffic rules, kids. Always.

Your favourite word or phrase? My favourite phrase has got to be ‘hoi de,’ which translates to ‘Yeah right. Sure.’ It’s a mood.

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? I think fashion now has moved beyond clothing and apparel. I see people covered in tattoos, piercings, crazy haircuts and colours and they look AMAZING.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: Northeast India is a hidden jewel. A melting pot of different cultures, traditions and nature. Although the awesome travellers and the government are doing their best to introduce it to the world through tourism and social media posts, there is a lot of it that is still unexplored.

What do you think India does best? Okay. I will let you in on a national secret. This is an inside joke on how we Indians are exceptionally good at Jugaad. Somehow, things work out. You know what they say, necessity is the mother of invention.


Vamika Nidhi, 23

Agency: Faze Management
Where are you from? Dhanbad, Jharkhand
Instagram: @vichitravanar96

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? I need to have a coconut oil hair massage once a week.

Your favourite word or phrase? ‘Are yaaar’, whenever I get exhausted or annoyed. It’s literally translated as “hey” (arre) “mate” (yaar). However, it can have many meanings depending on the intonation.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: Double root bridge in Cherapunji in Shilling (Meghalaya).

What do you think India does best? Adapt and adjust.


Namrata Tripathi, 24

Agency: Anima Creative Management (Mumbai)
Where are you from? Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh
Instagram: @tripathi_namrata

Your favourite word or phrase? ‘Jahan chah, wahan rah’. Which means ‘where there is a will, there is a way’.

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? Gorakhpur is nothing like these big metropolitan cities. So the people there generally pick things up from the latest movies they watch or maybe the advertisements they see. I think Indo-western looks (wearing typically Indian jewellery like jhumkas on a western outfit) are quite in trend these days, especially in my hometown.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: I live in a big joint family and when I tell this to people outside India, there is always a similar reaction to it. How do you people do it? What about the privacy? And so many other stuff like that. I wish people who visit India may get the chance to see the beauty of living in a big joint family and how nice it can be to have three generations under one roof.

What do you think India does best? India is all about colours, cultures, and festivals. I think the enthusiasm with which so many different cultures and its festivities are celebrated in India, nobody can beat us in that. We are quite extravagant when it comes to celebrations. Also, there is a sort of order in the chaos which I find unique about India. You have to be the part of chaos to perceive this order.


Akshara Balakrishna, 22

Agency: Faze Management
Where are you from? Bangalore, Karnataka
Instagram: @aksharabalakrishnaa

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? I don’t feel completely satisfied with my food until I consume it with my hand.

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? The rapid growth of Sustainable Fashion and the importance given to organic clothing and dyeing processes.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: Chickmanglur is a hill station in Karnataka. It is known for coffee plantations and the beautiful weather, especially during August-December. It’s a must-visit when people come to South India.

What do you think India does best? Teaching values and staying rooted to the culture.


Shruti Venkatesh, 21

Agency: Feat. Artists
Where are you from? Mumbai
Instagram: @shrutivenkatesh_

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? I love street food!

Your favourite word or phrase? ‘Viritiṟaṉ’ meaning resilience (in Tamil)

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: All the amazing non-touristy parts of Goa. Get away from North Goa and instead explore quaint Goan villages. For example, Raia is a hidden treasure.


Aradhana Buragohain, 27

Agency: Faze Management
Where are you from? Dibrugarh, Assam
Instagram: @aradhanaburagohain_official

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? My love for rice and dishes made from rice.

Your favourite word or phrase? ‘Apun bhalei jogot bhal’ (if you are good, the world will be good to you)

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? Now K-pop influence and also Indian prints into contemporary silhouettes.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: The double-decker living root bridge in Cherrapunji, Shillong, Meghalaya.

What do you think India does best? Food, it’s varied and holds an identity of its own. It speaks for the people of the region.


Chakshu Sharma, 24

Agency: Elite Paris ()
Where are you from? Brought up in Pune, born and roots from Punjab.
Instagram: @chakshushwarma

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? My simplicity. I’m more about my roots and sustaining myself and being one with my environment as opposed to extravagance and luxury.

Your favourite word or phrase? Bindass! It’s colloquial Hindi from Maharashtra. It means being uninhibited and just going with the flow!

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: Agumbe, a sleepy village and rainforest research station in one of the oldest forests in the world (the Western Ghats). It’s bursting at the seams with life. Very wild, truly non-touristy

What do you think India does best? Originality. India in its truest sense doesn’t strive to be like anywhere else. It is purely itself. The diversity in food, languages, geography, culture, beauty, smells, sounds and the fact that all these differences unite to make one unified country blows my mind. Another thing I love is the extreme conditions of co-existence don’t weigh down on the people, there is a resilient optimism in everybody. The taste of laughter is in the air :)


Anugraha Natarajan, 21

Agency: Feat. Artists
Where are you from? Chennai
Instagram: @anugrahanatarajan

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? I learnt Carnatic music for 6 years like any typical South Indian.

Your favourite word or phrase? Thoduvanam in Tamil translates “to touch the sky” in English. The word refers to the horizon. I think that’s beautiful.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: An abandoned town called Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu. It once had a semi-natural bridge that connected India to Sri Lanka which is pretty cool.

What do you think India does best? Food! Especially down South. Everything is so flavourful and you’ll find a lot of variety even when it comes to vegetarian food.


Sheryl Bennett, 19

Agency: Anima Creative Management (Mumbai)
Where are you from? Visakhapatnam
Instagram: @sheryl_bennett99

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? Like most people in India, I have a vibrant wardrobe.

Your favourite word or phrase? I say “Aiyoo” a lot. It’s meant to be a reaction. The way you say it matters, it could mean sympathy/exasperation or like an “oops” moment. It could mean so many things just by the tone of it. It’s a South Indian thing!

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? Major trends reach India very late and in the small cities sometimes they don’t. The last time I went to my hometown Visakhapatnam I noticed almost 70% of the men there were wearing checked shirts.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: I had studied in Jodhpur for a year. It is a very popular place for tourists, but something tourists don’t do is go hiking on the rock hills in front of the Mehrangarh Fort or for that matter any rocky hill in Jodhpur. In the morning, it is a beautiful sight and worth going, you might even spot a few peacocks.


Soumya Shasi Kumar, 22

Agency: Faze Management
Where are you from? Bangalore, Karnataka
Instagram: @cho596

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? I would say eating with my hands even when there is cutlery available.

Your favourite word or phrase? ‘Oh pinne!’ It’s a sarcastic phrase which means to say ‘as if’ or ‘yeah right.’

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? Although my country is very versatile and open to quickly adapting new trends, street style fashion is something Indian’s seem to be pulling off really well, especially the youth of our country.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: Kumbalangi island in Kochi. Extremely serene offering the perfect balance of flora and fauna, not to forget the rich aquatic culture.

What do you think India does best? In my opinion: weddings. Celebrating the union of two people is one of the most fun-filled and emotional events you will get to see whilst also getting a first-hand experience at our tradition, heritage and culture.


TJ Gil, 22

Agency: Inega (Mumbai)
Where are you from? Gurgaon, Haryana
Instagram: @tjsinghdreamer

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? I am very spiritual and I believe in reincarnations.

Your favourite word or phrase? ‘Poshtik’ – it means nutritious.

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? From the last two years, I’ve been seeing a major shift in the fashion in my country, from the young Indian designers at fashion weeks to the local flea markets to college kids, everyone’s adapting this genderless, street fashion with oversized clothing. More and more people have started to embrace their own personal style and incorporate it into what’s out there in the market.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: Any small towns/cities in Rajasthan. Apart from the huge ancient forts and palaces and temples, you’ll find the most humble, beautiful people with a rich history.


Sushmita Pathak, 23

Agency: Faze Management
Where are you from? Tezpur, Assam
Instagram: @sushmita__pathak_

Your favourite word or phrase? ‘Deha’ – It’s an Assamese word and it means ‘my love’.

Local fashion trends are you’ve noticed lately? Indian street styling fashion trends have always been my favorite with some animal printed boots & bohemia vibes which always makes me feel confident.

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: I believe exploring the small villages across different states would be a great idea. Often, tourists end up visiting the most well known or historical places but that in a way hides the true essence of culture in rural areas.


Madhur Singh Chauhan, 25

Agency: Feat. Artists
Where are you from? Baraut, Uttar Prakesh. I live in Bombay.
Instagram: @madsssssssssx

What’s the most typically Indian thing about you? I’m religious. Also, I’m a proud North Indian and a proud Bombayite :)

Your favourite word or phrase? I have plenty! स्वावलंबि (self-dependent) / अति (extra) / जंगली (wild) / जानवर (animal) / कल करे सो आज कर, आज करे सो अब।पल मे परलय होय, बहुरी करोगे कब। (it literally reads: “do tomorrow’s work today, today’s work now, don’t lose your moment”) / जहां जन्म हरि भक्त कहाइ (means “wherever/however one is born they owe their devotion to that”) / मात, पिता, भ्रात सब होय। संकट में पुछत नही कोय। (briefly translates to: “every man for himself”)

A non-touristy thing/place visitors to India should check out: There are a million in India. In Bombay, you defs need to walk through Aarey colony. Also, eat marinated roasted sweet potato if you’re lucky to see a hawker serving it.

What do you think India does best? BE BROWN :) #brownthings

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