Shanaya Tuli’s journey from studying BSC in Botany to climbing the glamour ladder is as interesting as it can get! She has her head firmly planted on her shoulders; success has taught her important lessons but it hasn’t changed who she is at the core. She credits that quality to her upbringing.
Shanaya’s tryst with modelling happened while she was doing her BSC in Botany from Delhi University. “A couple of people had come to the college and were scouting for girls who might be interested in entering a beauty pageant. They asked me if I wanted to participate in the contest and I said yes. I ended up winning the contest. There was a ten day training period; I was crowned by Rohit Bal, Satya Paul and Ranna Gill. Honestly that’s when I sort of felt that this could be something I would want to take up. I was into acting and did theatre and plays while in school but never imagined I’d do it professionally,” says Shanaya Tuli who is a big fan of Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway. Shanaya has been a part of some amazing projects and have some gems under her belt as far as work goes.
Shanaya’s life changed overnight after winning the contest. She became the cover girl for Savvy and was featured in many magazines. “I shifted to Bombay and started doing a lot of fashion events and worked with top designers including Vikram Phadnis, Rohit Bal, Priyadarshini Rao, Payal Jain and Reena Dhaka to name a few. “It was a big moment for me and I did a lot of fashion editorials for Femina, Fashion & Glamour and worked with really good designers,” she reminisces adding that this was completely different from her initial plan. “I wanted pursue MSC in Environmental Sciences and had quit Bio Tech Engineering six months after joining,” she says.
Her parents, who are now completely supportive of her career, were apprehensive when she showed interest in the showbiz industry. “My parents are very broad minded have always been supportive but initially they had no idea where this idea of modelling came to me from. They were stumped because I had never displayed any sort of interest in it. My upbringing was totally different. Initially they were really very frightened because they had no clue about modelling; particularly my father who wasn’t too happy. But they came to one contest in Lonavla. There were girls who had come down from Bombay and the event was hosted by Magna. When I won this contest they were the ones who stood up and clapped for me,” she giggles.
If you think that her working with all the top designers’ right after winning the contest is a big deal, there’s more! She did her first ever commercial with Shahrukh Khan and claims that this has been one of the most enriching and learning experiences for her. “The first ad I did was for Videocon AC with Shahrukh and that is a memory that will stay with me forever. It was fabulous working with him; he is very sweet, humble, and patient. The experience has been very special to me,” she reflects.
Another celebrity she worked with was Abhishek Bachchan in the Idea Cellular commercial. “Amit Sharma was the director and he was fabulous to work with. That ad happened after I moved to Bombay. It was one of my initial projects. I learnt a lot of technicalities that are involved while shooting. For instance where to stand, how to face the camera, that the camera catches even the slightest movements and that I have to be very careful with expressions. But honestly, I wasn’t scared at all that I was going to shoot with Abhishek. He was humble, down to earth and patient. There were no tantrums, no arrogance, no superficial airs,” she says.
Shanaya Tuli’s mantra to beat stress is dancing and playing the piano. “I really enjoy dancing. I have been learning jazz for the past year and a half. I have also been learning to play the piano which is an instant stress buster; music is the best thing for stress,” she states.
Showbiz is also an industry filled with insecurities and Shanaya has a solution to beat that as well. “The best way to deal with them is taking it in your stride. It helps. I’m always open to constructive criticism. I know the difference between constructive criticism and people just saying stuff about you because I follow my intuition. Somebody once told me I need to be sharper when I make a turn while walking the ramp. I know it is true because I felt the same thing. I had watched a few videos of me and knew it was right,” explains Shanaya.
Shanaya Tuli has come a long way from being a girl who would switch TV channels when she saw a sanitary napkin commercial to actually acting in one. “The Whisper campaign is currently on air. As a kid I used to be reserved and closed up and when a sanitary napkin ad came up on TV, I’d instinctively change the channel. I had a much protected childhood but that changed after coming to Bombay. I became independent, more confident and proud of being a woman. I am a feminist and there’s nothing wrong with talking about things associated with being a woman openly,” she signs off.
Enjoy some of the famous ad videos of Shanaya Tuli.
Videocon AC TVC with SRK:
KFC Value ad:
LOT MOBILES with Allu Arjun:
Bajaj CFL bulbs:
IDEA with Abhishek Bachan:
Layerr Deo with Parineeti Chopra: