by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Model Natasha Ramachandran Shares Her Skincare Secrets

BEAUBIT chats with Indian model Natasha Ramachandran on her career, diversity in the modelling scene, and the Indian skincare secrets passed down from her grandmother.

Tamilian-Bengali model Natasha Ramachandran has been enjoying her career-high ever since her modelling break in Mumbai for cosmetic brand Lakmé. Having spent time in Paris, Tokyo, Mumbai, and London, Natasha has cultivated a global identity and a distinctive personal style. The New York-based model has also walked in both New York and London Fashion Weeks, and modelled for brands like Moncler, Zimmermann, and Misha Nonoo.

Here, BEAUBIT sat down with Natasha to talk about her career, diversity in the modelling scene and pushing for representation in fashion, and the Indian skincare secrets passed down from the women in her family. 

What’s your story? When and how did you start modelling?

I was born and brought up in India. My dad was in the Indian Army, and because of that, we moved around every three years, so I lived all over the country. I did my bachelor degree in fashion design at the National Institute of Fashion Technology and my first break was when I was looking for a job after graduation. I auditioned for Lakmé’s Fashion Week in India, and while I was doing that, I was scouted by my modelling agency, Anima Creatives, whom I later signed with. That’s how it all began.

What are some of the biggest issues you had to deal with while modelling? Did being born a certain skin colour ever your affect work?

I started modelling at 22, later as compared to the norm, which is girls usually starting from the age of 16, 17. Modelling was never in the plans for me. It wasn’t what I thought I would do when I was growing up. It just happened by chance.

I would say that I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I had as an Indian model because, at that time, there weren’t as many Indian models on the international fashion scene. It wasn’t easy because the idea of Indian models or South Asian models abroad wasn’t common. After I moved to London and then New York, I realised that the number of castings that I would have as compared to a white model would be far fewer. I used to live in an apartment with other girls and they would have like, seven castings in a day and I would have two.

It wasn’t very encouraging and was a little disheartening. Today, I would say yes, things have changed for the better. There are more places and more acceptance for South Asian models. I’m happy about the fact that there has been more acknowledgement and acceptance of South Asian models, but it is still not enough; diversity shouldn’t just be a token model in a photoshoot. I do a lot of beauty shoots and I end up seeing models of different colours and ethnicities, probably because products like foundations need different skin-toned models. But when you open a Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue, when you see the advertisements, a lot of the models are white, with the exception of one or two Asian or black models. It’s pretty evident that there still is a lot more to be done.

What has been a career highlight for you so far?

Honestly, I can’t pinpoint one particular job. The fact that I got the opportunity to model internationally, to represent my country in the international industry, to be a part of Fashion Week, these are all career highlights. It’s difficult for Indian immigrants to come abroad, with all the passport and visa issues. To be here is something that I am very grateful for because I know a lot of other models wish for the opportunities that I have been given.

Our culture at large hasn’t always celebrated all skin colours. What advice would you give women who are insecure or unhappy about the way they look?

Don’t hold yourself to the standards that you see in fashion magazines or beauty platforms. Beautiful people on magazines, modelling clothes, advertising beauty brands—that is not the default, so don’t make that the norm of beauty. If you don’t look like that person on the cover of a magazine, that’s okay.

Take time to understand yourself—what you like, what you don’t like, what you’re comfortable and what you’re not comfortable in. Otherwise, you’ll spend so much of your time being unhappy and insecure in your own body. Spend more time on yourself; just understanding yourself and accepting yourself. You’ll have a happier state of mind.

What does diversity mean to you?

For me, it’s as simple as it gets. Diversity just means including everyone—people from all backgrounds, all races, all ethnicities from all parts of the world. People come from different backgrounds, regardless of culture, socio-economic and race, and we have so much to bring to the table if we come together. Involve everyone around, because everyone deserves an equal opportunity.

Let’s move on to beauty. What is a typical skincare routine for you?

Honestly, I have only taken my beauty routine seriously in the last couple of years. Before that, I was like one of those people who just didn’t care (laughs) but now I realise that okay, no, you’re getting older you need to be able to take care of yourself.

My typical skincare routine starts with a very mild cleanser because I have dry skin, so any cleanser that doesn’t strip my face of the natural oils. Then I tone the skin with either the Son & Park Beauty Water or Akar Skin’s Balance Toner. For serums or essences, I like The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, COSRX’s Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence and the Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum.

I’ll end up using a rich moisturiser, like the Weleda Skin Food, which I also love using in the winter. At night before I sleep, I’ll pat on a face oil, like The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil.

Are there any beauty tips from your culture you can share? 

Honestly, I grew up in a household where makeup and skincare weren’t very important. But my mother, she really believes in keeping her skin clean, and not using soap for the face. So, she doesn’t even use a foaming cleanser. She hasn’t used soap on her face for years and she looks pretty great for her age (laughs). If I’m not mistaken, I think she uses a mixture of yoghurt and ground flour to cleanse her face.

As for coconut oil, it’s a very Indian thing and an ancient ritual; we love oiling our hair with coconut oil because it provides a lot of hydration, which is probably why Indian women have really thick, healthy hair. Both my mom and grandma did it; my grandma always dabs a little bit of oil on her hair even after she washes it. I think because of her, I’ve started taking care of my hair more and applying hair masks.

“What I do is I mix yoghurt, egg, honey and coconut oil, and then apply it to my hair for about half an hour. Then I wash off my hair, take a little bit more of coconut oil and just dab it on my hair.”

I even use it in winters when my face and lips get too chapped; just dab some on where your skin is dry to moisturise. It’s really versatile and great.

Natasha’s Beauty Picks

Mamonde Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleanser, SGD24
Son & Park Beauty Water, SGD41
Akar Skin Balance Toner, SGD75
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, SGD9.50
COSRX’s Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, SGD36.25
Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum, SGD53
Weleda Skin Food, SGD23
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, SGD13.50

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