Lakshmi, A Day In The Life

Lakshmi Menon / Ford Models

Kerala born modeling phenomenon, Lakshmi Menon, represents the best of what the industry has to offer. With her striking good looks and captivating stare, she has enlivened campaigns for Hermes and Givenchy, in addition to being a regular presence in editorials and on covers. Her bookings may be impressive, but it’s her personality that sets her apart from the pack. The moment one meets Lakshmi, they are struck by her intelligence and confidence: walking into the Ford offices at 9:45 on the Tuesday before fashion week, we couldn’t help but notice her enviable air of calm and engaging demeanor.

Perhaps it is her unique background that makes her so different from the modeling conventions: in a business full of teenage beauties, fresh from grade school, Lakshmi is a twenty-something, college-educated woman. Life experience colors her every move. With a degree in sociology (she eventually plans to continue onto her masters), a love of literature (she’s currently reading The Great Gatsby) and an enduring curiosity, Menon is among the most intellectual girls working right now. This season had the pleasure of following her for a day, as she traveled to and from castings and fittings, in preparation for what is sure to be an incredibly busy season.

What do you think are some misconceptions about modeling?

It’s a harsh business – you have to be emotionally, mentally and physically strong to survive it. It all looks very glamorous, but on the inside it’s not. You go from one casting to another – the glamour lasts exactly two minutes, which is when you’re on a runway. I feel I’m strong enough to handle it though. I understand that you can be the girl of the season one moment and then it’s all over. It’s a very fickle business.

How did you make the choice to start modeling after college?

I was 17 when I was first scouted. There were agencies offering to take me to Paris and I had just finished school and was about to start university. I was quite excited about the prospect of going to Paris, at 17 that all seems very glamorous. My mother said ‘this is a choice that you have to make, I’m not going to make this decision for you – if you decide to go to Paris and be a model, you may not ever go back to school. This is something that is going to take a long time – will you be prepared to go back to school after that?’ I thought about it and she was absolutely right.

I had the luxury of time as well, so I decided to go ahead and finish my university. I knew that at 21, I’d still be young enough to do it. You don’t have to be 15 or 13 to model and my mother never would have allowed for that anyway. Besides, you have to enjoy your childhood, take time to hang out with friends and play sports, be free from the stresses of work.

Developmental sociology is an interesting major choice, what made you choose that area of study?

I started out just studying sociology but then chose focus on just this one aspect. I come from a third world economy, so to speak and I was always interested in the developmental aspect of sociology, as in why aren’t things working the way they should be working. I studied that for three years and I wanted to pursue my masters, but I figure that I can still take time off later.

You’re a big reader – which authors are your favorites?

I enjoy reading essays – Bertrand Russell is a favorite. Right now I’m going back to some authors whose work I’d missed, I’m currently reading The Great Gatsby, which I’d always wanted to read yet somehow never got the chance to.

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  1. ohhhhhhhhhh myyyyyyyyyyyy goddddddddddddd she is perfect. that is beauty!

  2. She made the right choice finishing her studies first. And still she’s one of the best. Definitely a role model!

  3. That’s exactly why i love her so and why she’s my n^1 favourite
    Bx2 : Beauty&Brain!
    She’s just breathtaking, stunning, amazing, gorgeous and so on.. and i cant wait to see her on every single runway this season!

  4. I am curious if she is so proud of being in her 20’s why not be proud of her age and post her age rather than be vague about it? Nevertheless she is very intriguing, interesting and beautiful

  5. lakshmi is by far THE girl this season – her attitude and career are flawless! LAKSHMI + CHANEL + FLAVIA + KENDRA + the most amazing new girls …ford is rockin it

  6. Intellgience, Beauty, and Calm demanor relect her personlity. What make her soo interesting, look at two videos of her. Love her for who she is!!

    Definitely, I respect her for what she had done accomplished in the past like completed college and still do her thing. Now, she is great model for anyone who isn’t sure about which first to go to school or model business. No further, look at what Lakshmi did.

    Finally, I’m proud of her for begin be herself and learn as much as she can do while work and life in general. LOVE YOU, LAKSHMI MENON!!

  7. I remember the first time Lakshmi came to meet me. Right from her classes at seven in the morning. We had breakfast and spoke about Kerala and music and other things. Next day I shot her for a calendar. She did her own make up. i still have those pics somewhere with me. What struck me about her was her maturity and poise. She was very balanced.She was not desperate to be a model and modelling was not the only avenue available to her at that time. I think that was her first assignment ever (not sure, but definitely one of the first). I am really happy to see that she has gone places.
    To paraphrase Dylan ‘If you see her say hello, She might be in …. She’s a big girl now’

  8. It’s so nice to see that FORD NY is finally showing what they are capable of and the great new faces they can produce! I would always think FORD NY = Chanel Iman. Which sounds very ignorant but it’s true in my personal opinion. Now it seems they are really stepping up their game and they deserve some recognition! Hopefully FORD keeps this trend going because Lakshmi is a breath of fresh air !! I sense campaigns in the forseeable future for this one. $$$.

  9. Being the only model from India *really* working the international fashion circuit – Lakshmi’s literally 1 in 1,100 million!

  10. I like her a lot! Educated and very down-to-earth. :) finally, I’ve found someone who would rather finish uni before model AND who doesn’t wear designer clothing off-work. :)

  11. I love lakshmi, she’s such an inspiration to me! I first saw her running through tottenham court road station looking very exotic, stylish and beautiful and thought ‘damn, that girl must be a model!’

    Being half indian and also waiting till i finished university before starting modelling, it can sometimes be easy to see your ethnicity and your age as a barrier to success when compared with all these 17 year old blonde girls, but seeing someone like Lakshmi doing just as well, if not better than many of the others is inspiring to say the least and proof that the only barriers to one’s success are the limitations you place in your own head!

    And i love her accent too, it’s sexy!

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