Ujjwala Raut Pioneering Global Runways, Championing Workplace Wellness

From Mumbai to Milan: Ujjwala Raut, International Supermodel and Entrepreneur, reflects on her journey as a trailblazer in the Fashion Industry

Ujjwala Raut, an icon in the world of international modeling, shares her journey from the bustling streets of Mumbai to the glamorous runways of Paris and New York. In this exclusive interview, Raut delves into how her early life shaped her career, her role in transforming the global perception of Indian models, and her passionate advocacy for workplace wellness in the fashion industry.

Q1. Trailblazing Path: Could you reflect on your formative years in Mumbai and how they fostered the ambition that propelled you to international stardom in modeling?

Ujjwala Raut: Reflecting on my formative years in Mumbai, I reminisce about a life lived within the confines of a sheltered and protected environment. As the daughter of an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), my upbringing was deeply rooted in the values of discipline and respect within the strict Marathi household I called home. Born and raised in the heart of ‘Aamchi Mumbai, I was navigating life’s challenges with determination and resourcefulness.

Despite the sheltered environment, I was a fast learner, respectful, and adept at navigating social interactions, thanks to my upbringing. It was my oldest sister who first recognized my potential and encouraged me to pursue a path in modeling.

The realization that success wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter fueled my drive to pursue my dreams relentlessly. Surrounded by strong, independent men and women, and experiencing the trials of a strict upbringing, I learned the importance of hard work, resilience and perseverance.

My mantra has always been rooted in the belief that courage is the key to chasing one’s dreams. Through dedication and unwavering determination, I have embraced the challenges and opportunities that have propelled me to international stardom in the world of modeling.

Q2. Global Strides: As one of India’s first supermodels to make it big internationally, how do you feel you’ve influenced the perception of Indian models on the global stage?

Ujjwala Raut: Being among the first Indian models to grace the runways of esteemed brands like Hermes, Yves Saint Laurent, and Victoria’s Secret was both a privilege and a responsibility. It was an opportunity to challenge stereotypes and redefine the perception of Indian girls on the global stage.

Growing up in the heart of Mumbai and immersing myself in the rich tapestry of Indian culture instilled within me a deep sense of pride and identity. This authenticity became my cornerstone, resonating with audiences worldwide and contributing to the reshaping of beauty standards in the global fashion arena.

By showcasing the diversity and beauty of Indian girls on international platforms, I aimed to dismantle preconceived notions and showcase the multifaceted nature of Indian beauty. My journey has not only influenced the perception of Indian girls and boys but has also opened doors for aspiring individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue their dreams on a global platform.

Q3. Cultural Confluence: Having worked with both international and Indian designers, how do you perceive the interplay of diverse cultural aesthetics in fashion?

Ujjwala Raut: Drawing from my journey in the fashion industry, the interplay of cultural aesthetics is both captivating and concerning. Working alongside international and Indian designers has given me a firsthand view of this dynamic.

It’s undeniable that there’s beauty in the fusion of diverse cultural influences in fashion. However, what often gets overshadowed is the lack of appreciation for our cultural heritage within the Indian fashion landscape.

I’ve experienced firsthand the irony of being undervalued in my own country’s fashion industry because of my proficiency in Hindi over English. The preference for English as a mode of communication reflects a broader trend of prioritizing Western standards over our indigenous traditions. It’s disheartening to see how proficiency in English often becomes a measure of one’s worth in the industry, overshadowing talent and craftsmanship.

Furthermore, it’s frustrating to observe the industry’s tendency to fully appreciate talents only after they receive recognition from the international community. This aspect can be puzzling and disappointing as I believe India doesn’t and shouldn’t need validation from anywhere. What’s often overlooked is the significant influence that our culture has on the global fashion landscape. Western designers frequently draw inspiration from Indian motifs, textiles, and craftsmanship, yet we fail to credit our heritage until it’s validated by Western recognition. However, we must acknowledge and celebrate our heritage, artisans, and cultural contributions without waiting for external validation.

Moving forward, we must break free from this cycle of seeking external validation. We must take pride in our rich cultural heritage, language, and craftsmanship, unapologetically celebrating it on the global stage.

It’s time for the Indian fashion industry to recognize and respect its talent, irrespective of language or external validation. By embracing our identity and heritage wholeheartedly, we can pave the way for a more inclusive and culturally rich fashion landscape”

Q4. Industry Evolution: In your view, how has the Indian fashion industry evolved since you began your career, and what significant changes stand out?

Ujjwala Raut: The evolution of the Indian fashion industry since the inception of my career reflects a complex narrative of progress and challenges. While there have been notable advancements, significant issues persist that hinder the industry’s growth and recognition on the global stage.

One glaring concern is the disparity in treatment between Indian models and their international counterparts. Despite bringing talent and value to the table, Indian models often receive inadequate compensation compared to their foreign counterparts, highlighting a systemic issue of undervaluation within the industry.

Another troubling trend is the lack of autonomy for designers in selecting models for their shows. Instead of allowing designers to choose based on talent and suitability, there’s a tendency to rely on celebrity endorsements, undermining the recognition and opportunities available to Indian models.

Furthermore, the Indian fashion industry struggles with a lack of global recognition and visibility. While there are numerous talented designers in the country, only a select few receive international acclaim. This disparity is exacerbated by the dominance of a small group of influential individuals who control the industry’s narrative, limiting opportunities for emerging talent.

Moreover, the industry’s reliance on Bollywood celebrities further complicates matters, as it detracts from the recognition and support owed to indigenous models and designers. Despite the abundance of talent within the country, there’s a pervasive tendency to emulate Western trends rather than celebrate and showcase homegrown creativity.

Ultimately, the Indian fashion industry must address these systemic issues to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for all stakeholders. By recognizing and valuing the talent within our borders, we can elevate the industry on a global scale and showcase the richness and diversity of Indian fashion to the world.

Q5. Mentoring Role: Having judged and mentored on shows like MTV’s Supermodel of the Year and Kingfisher Calendar Hunt and India’s Next Top Model (Guest Judge), what do you believe are the key factors that define a successful modeling career in today’s era?

Ujjwala Raut: In today’s modeling landscape, success is defined by more than just physical appearance. While aesthetics undoubtedly play a role, professionalism, adaptability, and a strong work ethic are equally essential.

Reflecting on my own journey, winning the Look of the Year at 17 catapulted me into the international modeling scene, particularly in Paris. It was there that I learned invaluable lessons in respecting time, nurturing relationships with industry professionals such as photographers, designers, and artists, and understanding the pivotal role of an agent  in one’s career trajectory.

When it comes to mentoring on shows like MTV’s Supermodel of the Year and the Kingfisher Calendar Hunt, there’s a pre-selection process in place for the contestants. As a judge, my role is to work with the selected candidates rather than having the freedom to handpick from a wide array of aspiring models.

Ultimately, a successful modeling career hinges on a combination of factors, including dedication, professionalism, and the ability to adapt to the ever-evolving demands of the industry. By embodying these qualities, aspiring models can carve out their path to success in today’s competitive landscape
Q6. Entrepreneurial Ventures: Can you tell us more about your investment in Food Square and any other entrepreneurial pursuits you are passionate about?
Ujjwala Raut: As a mother to my daughter Ksha, I prioritize the quality of the food we consume. This commitment extends to my personal dietary choices as well. I firmly believe in the importance of good-quality food for overall well-being. That’s why when I came across the opportunity to invest in a gourmet food market offering the best culinary offerings from India and around the world, I was eager to get involved.
Investing in Food Square isn’t just a financial decision for me; it’s a reflection of my values and a commitment to supporting ventures that promote high-quality, healthy food options. From my upbringing in Mumbai to my journey to international fame as a supermodel, I’ve always believed in seizing opportunities that align with my values and future market trends.
In addition to Food Square, I have my eye on a few other investment opportunities that I’m passionate about. As I continue to grow and evolve in my career and personal life, I look forward to exploring new ventures that resonate with me and contribute positively to the community
Q7. Philanthropic Vision: Your philanthropic efforts, especially concerning women and children, are commendable. What future initiatives are you most excited about?
Growing up in a household of mainly girls, I’ve witnessed firsthand the strength and resilience of women. Contrary to the myth of women pulling each other down, I’ve experienced a culture of upliftment and support among women in the industry. It’s this spirit of empowerment that fuels my philanthropic efforts, particularly concerning women and children.
My philanthropic vision revolves around uplifting women and children, who are often marginalized in society. Coming from a proud Maratha background, I am particularly passionate about initiatives that empower women to recognize their inherent strength and capabilities. I believe that with a little support and encouragement, women can achieve incredible heights.
Similarly, my journey as a parent has deepened my appreciation for the needs and aspirations of children. My daughter has been my greatest inspiration, bringing out the best in me as a mother. Hence, I am drawn to initiatives that support children in realizing their dreams and aspirations.
One of the most rewarding moments for me is when my daughter proudly tells me, ‘Mom, you’re not just a top Supermodel, but you’re also the top Super Mom I could have ever asked for!’ Her words fill my heart with joy and reinforce my commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of women and children. I am excited about future initiatives that allow me to continue this journey of empowerment and upliftment.
Prittle Prattle News composed this article as an Interview.
Follow Us: Facebook Instagram | Twitter YouTube | LinkedIn 

Related Posts

1 of 222

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *