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Czarina of style

The model turned VJ talks about what gets her going


THINK BEAUTY, poise, elegance and brains. There's the beautiful copper brown hair, the flashing brown eyes, the colour of peat water and the warm dazzling smile. You'd be forgiven for not looking beyond. For not looking at the level headed, lissom lady of Punjabi-Bengali parentage who has hitched her wagon to a star and pursues her dream with single-minded purpose. Not unlike the Irish, which is also what she partly is. And not quite unlike her favourite song Dream a Little Dream of Me. Nafisa Joseph has style to match her obvious sensitivity and it's a besotting combination.

She has longed moved from the honey-toned baritone of her schooldays to the diva of style that she has become thanks to Star World. In between these two she has lived a lifetime with joie de vivre, living it to the fullest. At the Ramoji Film city's Sitara hotel, Nafisa revealed a little of how she did it all. On winning the Ms. India pageant at 18, she says, "At that age you can be taken in by the glamour of the whole thing but if you stay rooted, life is good. I won because of who I was and I think it was unfair to change now that it was all over. My family is my biggest support and that helps. In this profession you can get very lonely and their faith in me helped me remain myself."

So how is it she did not join the bandwagon of Ms. Indias who used the pageant as a launching pad for Bollywood? "I am a movie buff and there were offers but I don't think I can work that hard. Besides my way of being part of that world did not necessarily mean acting. MTV House Full was good enough but six years with that and I started feeling jaded. I am my best critic and what I saw of myself at one point wasn't really me. It was starting to become an effort."

So from hosting the hottest sound track and video clips of Hindi movies with sneak peeks at what's going to shake the box office, Nafisa turned to playing a glam detective in the desi version of Charlie's Angels, Cats. "Cats was fun but nothing as exciting came up later," she says.

Half a decade with a music channel and an accomplished singer and she has not thought of launching her own album. "The scene now is remixes, remixes and more remixes. I don't want to ride on the glory of someone else's music."

So when Style happened for Star World, she felt that was more her. "I love fashion but I'm not a victim. I am trendy yet conservative and definitely not a prude." You can catch a hint of glitter on the show that airs the latest on cuisine, makeovers, travel and career choices. "The designers I go ga-ga over are Tarun Tahiliani and Shahab Durazzi. I can't resist them especially since their styling and finish are so sleek. "

In the middle of playing the fashion connoisseur, Nafisa has found time to launch her own T.V. programming unit, Two's Entertainment. "I have now taken my career to a different level. There is a lot of competition in this sector but I work best under pressure. "

And there is still time for those fervent campaigns for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and PFA (People for Animals). "I'm working at raising money for sterilisation of stray dogs in Bangalore. If only people could spare Rs. 300 for a kit it would go a long way," says the animal lover who has hordes of pets. So who is the real Nafisa? "Oh! I am shy, really, though MTV and the Ms. India pageant help me get over it to an extent. And I am a family person, we're really close, they bring out the best in me."

Shy she may be but definitely not a wallflower. Children at the hotel run up and down the corridor ringing her doorbell while excited older siblings ask for autographs. With a smile, the slender as willow lass takes it all in her boot clad stride.

DEEPA ALEXANDER

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