Adoring the Arts

You & I sat down with model-turned-actress and former Miss India Manasvi Mamgai. We chatted about work and life, including what she likes to do when she’s not modelling, dancing or acting!
How did you get into modelling?
I was just out of school when an agency spotted me. I was inclined towards glamour and the performing arts since childhood, so I thought of giving it a try. I’ve never looked back since.
How was the experience of winning five subtitles at Miss India 2010?
It was definitely a confidence booster.
Tell us about the journey.
I’m a Garhwali with roots in Uttaranchal, born in Delhi and raised in Chandigarh. My dad was in the construction business and my mother, a teacher. Mum has always been spiritual and was into Art of Living, through which she knew Rhea Pillai. Rhea once came to Chandigarh when I had finished school and said I should try modelling. She offered to introduce me to a few people if I came to Mumbai, and she got me to meet Atul Kasbekar and Reshma Shetty, who encouraged me further. I decided to try modelling and moved to Delhi, but I was just 16 then and work started pouring in. I’d always wanted to become Miss India. I filled up the entry form, auditioned through the normal process, and won it in 2010.
What about your experience at Miss World?
There were ups and downs during the pageant. While I was enthralled about representing my country on such a renowned global stage, I was also a bit upset about not returning victorious. But I cherish the experience as I travelled a lot, and met so many gorgeous and talented girls from every part of the world. It was a great learning experience.
From ramp to silver screen, how did the transition happen?
I think it was just destiny! I’ve wanted to pursue the performing arts ever since I was a child, and luckily everything fell into place after I won the Miss India title.
What was it like working alongside superstars Ajay Devgn and Prabhu Deva?
It was excellent! I learned so much about cinema and acting, and they were extremely humble and helpful.
Tell us about your love of dance.
I started dancing when I was three years old, and I’m trained in Bharatanatyam and belly dancing. Dance helps me de-stress and get my mind off everything that’s been bothering me.

Which assignment of yours has been the most memorable?
There are two memorable ones. One is when I got a chance to represent India at the Miss World pageant in China following the Miss India contest. The second was my first film, Action Jackson, in which I got to work with industry biggies like Ajay Devgn, Prabhu Deva and others.
What are your plans for the future?
I wish to act in a variety of challenging roles, and I want to be remembered as a good actor and human being.
Is Tollywood on the cards?
Yes, I would love to work in Tollywood. I’m hoping that something finalises soon.
What are you most comfortable wearing?
As a model, I’ve learned to be comfortable in everything I wear. My sense of style is highly dependent on my mood and the occasion.
What is your favourite travel destination?
I love the sea and beaches, so Fiji and Hawaii are my favourites so far.
Who is your role model?
I derive inspiration from a lot of people from various walks of life. I look up to Priyanka Chopra because her journey has been similar to mine, but she has come such a long way. I hope I can get there soon, too.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I were more disciplined.
What is your favourite pastime?
Watching movies, playing sports and travelling. I am a very active person, so I always like to be on the move. I don’t like wasting time.    

as told to Niharika