Sheena Pradhan is a fashion model, nutritionist and a writer based out of New York City, United States. Sheena completed her studies in Nutrition and Food Science from Drexel University and in 2013 went on to form her company Nutritious Balance. At the age of 24 Sheena participated in her first beauty Pageant Miss New Jersey USA and in 2015 was crowned. Miss East Coast U.S. while perusing her career in modeling Sheena continues to work as a nutritionist and also regularly writes for various publications on subjects ranging from culture, fashion and lifestyle…
Profession: Model, Tv Host, Actress
Current location: New York, USA
Tell us a bit about how you started out as a model and what influenced you?
I always wanted to a model, but as a good Indian girl from a conservative family, I wasn’t allowed to go to a modeling school or compete in pageants, as I proposed to my parents back in high school. After I graduated college, I felt like I had lost time because I hadn’t pursued my deepest dreams. I felt like I hadn’t spent time living life for me. That was when I signed up for my first pageant, Miss New Jersey USA. I felt pretty lost and depressed when I signed up for my first pageant. It’s funny, I’m really thankful for the dark time that I went through when I was 23 because that was what motivated me to change my life around and start going after my dreams.
My dream as a kid was to work in fashion as a buyer. I tried working in fashion, but found that I didn’t love working for someone else in such a cutthroat industry. I have found my way back to the industry that I went to school for, nutrition. I run a nutrition company called Nutritious Balance, and an image consulting company called, Styled by Sheena. I am also expanding on my career as a model and performer by taking acting classes. I hope to work on some short films and to do some TV hosting in the near future.
What do you think is the most exciting thing about being a model?
Sheena: Not knowing where my next paycheck is coming from. It sounds stressful, but stress
is also a type of excitement. Models don’t make that much money, so every day is a fight to survive. I love the excitement of always striving to be my best and to land the next job that
comes my way.
Generally, what goes through your mind when you are modeling in front of the camera?
Thinking while you are in front of the camera is not a good thing. You want to look relaxed, and I usually look angry or pensive when I’m thinking, which isn’t usually what a photographer is going for. I try to be relaxed and convey emotion through my eyes and lips.
How would you describe your personal style?
Edgy, but classic, with feminine and sensual sensibilities. BCBG Max Azria is my all time favorite brand. As I do more TV hosting and film work, I’m gravitating towards wearing fitted suiting dresses and clothes with long lines that elongate my body. I love nude heels.
What’s the most bold fashion statement you have ever made?
I don’t know if I have one “most bold” fashion statement. I love wearing jumpsuits, dresses, and making my own accessories. I have some necklaces and purses that I created myself. I love combining vintage items with well-tailored clothes. I always try to be overdressed. If I’m the most dressed-up person at a party, I think that is a good thing.
Models that you look up to the most?
I love Twiggy, who was big in the 1960s. Her work is art. That’s something that I love about modeling, is that you get to make art through your own image.
Any favorite designers?
Max and Lubov Azria. They run BCBG Max Azria and have designers working for them. Lubov Azria is the creative director of the company, and I’ve loved their clothes since I was in high school. It is my go-to store. Besides BCBG Max Azria, I tend to shop at places like Century 21 where you can get great brands for cheap. I’ll combine good quality staple wardrobe pieces with basics. If I need some comfy tees and casual dresses, I go to H&M and Forever21. Most of my dressed up looks are BCBG Maz Azria. I love AG jeans for denim.
What’s your dream assignment?
Sheena: I want to be a Guess girl. I’ve always loved the aesthetic that Guess has in its commercial and print campaigns. It’s always more about the models than the clothes. Most fashion brands, naturally, try to shine the light on their clothes, not the models. That makes Guess a unique opportunity for models to show off their personalities and be a face of a brand, not just a model.
What do you think is the best thing about the New York modeling scene?
The thing I love about New York in general, not just about modeling, is that you can be anywhere at any time. If I have an audition downtown, I can make it downtown and then back to wherever I have work that day. I network everywhere I go. I meet people that are as hard working and willing to collaborate as I am. New York is a giant work space in that way. It’s a great place to start your career. I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to spend a large chunk of my 20s in New York City.
What’s do you enjoy doing the most when not working?
I’m fortunate that I’m finding ways to incorporate everything that I love into my career. I used to just model and compete in pageants for fun, now it’s a part of my career. I used to blog for fun, now it’s a part of my marketing strategy. I used to read novels for fun, lately I read business and finance books to help grow my businesses and personal brand.
Some things that I enjoy doing that I don’t blast to all of my social media accounts is ride my bike, swim, hike, travel, and of course spend time with my friends and family.
Any useful tips that you have picked up while modeling?
Modeling and more importantly, pageantry, has helped me come out of my shell. Modeling has become very natural to me, but when I was starting out, I was very shy. I was taught to be demure and conservative growing up, so being vulnerable and putting myself out there was challenging, but also very rewarding.
My new challenge is acting. In continuing to grow as a performer, acting is the logical next step. I’m comfortable as a model now and the only way to continue to push myself is to get on stage and in front of a camera and learn to play a character.
Acting requires a different type of vulnerability than modeling and pageants. Learning how to push myself to be vulnerable is the most challenging part. It’s scary, but that’s what I love and probably the biggest thing that I’ve learned from being in this industry.
Finally, tell us a bit about your plans for the future?
I’m taking some acting classes this winter and I want to act in film and TV. I’m not sure exactly what lies ahead further into the future. Perhaps I’m destined to be a TV food/nutrition gal, like Giada, or perhaps I will be the next Penelope Cruz. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into just being a food/nutrition TV personality, so I hope to keep the nutrition and food separate from my acting career. But I’m putting all of my energy into my acting career and my nutrition business separately and seeing where things go from here.
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