Looking out my window, the cold winter day has me longing for the sun, the warmth, and the beaches, and to add to it, the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2010 has arrived in my mailbox. Preparing to flip through swim suits that are still out of reach, I found myself unexpectedly brought closer to home. This year’s Sports Illustrated is decorated with the vibrant colors of Rajasthan…and Sonia Dara, a sophomore from Harvard College.
Dara was first discovered at an Actors, Models & Talent Competition (AMTC) event, at the age of 16, since then she has worked with Cosmo Girl, Seventeen, Neiman Marcus, and Vogue India.
Currently represented by Elite Model Management in New York City, Dara is balancing the demanding schedule of school and attempting to continue her modeling career. Like many South Asian parents, her mother, Poornima Dara requires that “before modeling comes good grades.” According to The Harvard Crimson, Poonam Dara said, “We’re the first set of South Asian parents to encourage their child to do modeling.” She continued, “We encouraged her because she showed us that she can multitask, modeling and getting a 4.0 GPA. If she weren’t able to multitask, we wouldn’t have encouraged her.”
Sonia Dara told the Harvard Crimson, “The biggest kicker is that it’s kind of an unorthodox career for an Indian.” Aware of the gossip that goes around, Dara added “many of my acquaintances back home wondered if I went into modeling because I was doing poorly in school”. Far from the truth, Dara reminisced about her time in New York, saying that “They’d call me ‘the AP kid’ because I was the only one taking AP’s and a lot of the other girls got their GEDs.” - MUNIA ISLAM