New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) There may be little space for married actresses in Bollywood, but the modelling world in India is pleasantly dominated by names like Sonalika Sahay, Noyonika Chatterjee, Alesia Raut, Montu Tomar, Sapna Kumar and Laxmi Rana who are happily married and still ruling the roost.
These models are glad that the fashion world doesn't bother about their marital status, unlike other glamorous fields. Moreover, the freedom to pick and choose their assignments gives them the flexibility of devoting ample time to their families.
Fashion designers too have nothing to complain about married models, who may be in their early as well as late 30s but fit as a fiddle.
Noyonika has been in the industry for two decades, is married to former TV actor-cum-businessman Gurpreet Singh, has a nine-year-old daughter Nayantara - and is still among the hot favourites of the country's top-notch designers.
"My marital status hasn't affected my work at all. I still get assignments like before," Noyonika told IANS.
She took a brief break during and after her pregnancy, but says there's never been a lack of work for her.
"Staying away from work is my decision as I have to take care of my baby and family. However, one day a friend of mine called me and said 'Why don't you join back as you are still in shape?' So getting away from field was my decision and joining back was also my decision," said Noyonika, who will be seen at the forthcoming Delhi Couture Week next month.
"I think getting married and settling down has become a thing of the past. There are a lot of models who are mothers but they get as much work as anyone else. In fact, more than that. Our profession is a little different from others. In our case, we have the privilege to choose assignments according to our priorities," added the veteran.
Agrees Sonalika Sahay, another veteran, who is married to banker Kamal Mehta for almost nine years. But she believes "it is important to have the support of one's husband and in-laws for a balanced and happy life."
"I've been very fortunate to get support from my family, including my husband and in-laws. I think we are in a profession where your partner should understand your needs and trust you completely," she said.
Model Krishna Somani, mother of nine-month-old twins, added: "Life of married models depends more on family support. Sometimes we wake up at 4 a.m. to catch a flight or we reach home late in the night. So we require support to take care of our kids."
They also take good personal care to maintain their standing in the industry by way of a balanced diet and a regular workout regimen, which keeps them in shape.
Meanwhile, designers are more than welcome to have married models flaunt their creations on the ramp.
Varija Bajaj, who has worked closely with some of the veterans in the modelling world, said: "(Sometimes) Models decide to get married very late, but there is no truth in the fact that designers nowadays prefer fresh faces to married girls. Some of the top models today are married and I think these girls look great like ever."
"We pretty much welcome married models," added Bajaj.
Choreographer Shyamlee Kalra says there's never been any discrimination between single and married models.
"At work, all are treated equally on projects. I personally believe a married model has more responsibilities than an unmarried one. But there is no denying the fact that some of the married names are India's top models and no show is complete without them," she said.
(Nivedita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)