UNTIL February this year, the only taste of New York Fashion Week Nalinder Manoharan had ever experienced was through TV.
Like most of us, she could merely stare in awe at the beautiful designs and breathtaking models on the catwalk and only wonder what went on behind the scenes at the swanky event.
The former software engineer beat more than 1,000 applicants to take home the coveted prize of a RM10,000 cash sponsorship, an all-expenses paid trip to the New York Fashion Week, and other prizes.
Throughout her nine-day trip in New York, Nalinder, 27, attended several fashion shows including those that featured designers Erin Wasson, Custo Barcelona and Michael Angel.
”I had a big issue deciding what to pack for the fashion shows, there was a dress code for all of them — casual chic — it’s such a subjective phrase,” said Nalinder.
”I had no idea how New Yorkers dressed! So, I did a lot of research online and had to take into account the cold waether.”
Not only did Nalinder get the chance to experience fashion week in New York, she also managed to see what most people can only dream of — going backstage at the some of the shows.
”There were tons of people backstage shuffling about — models, journalists, cameramen, stylists, makeup artists and so on,” Nalinder shared.
Two days after Wasson’s show, Nalinder even went to a media briefing with the designer.
”She had a get-together to explain the concept of her line and why she went for the particular materials and colours. Later, Erin placed a rack of clothes from her line and her manager informed us that we get to pick one item off it. I spotted a multi-tiered denim short skirt and immediately made it mine,” she said grinning.
Nalinder also got the chance to meet Maybelline spokersperson Kemp Muhl during a visit to the company’s cosmetics lab in New Jersey.
On top of that, Nalinder managed to watch Muhl’s shoot for the company’s 2011 calendar.
”There were several different sets like a bedroom, kitchen and so on,” said Nalinder.
Upon returning from her trip, Nalinder had some time to reflect on what she would do with the RM10,000 cash prize. She will use the money to realise her dream of becoming a travel host on television.
”I’ve moved on from my IT-based job to my dream of becoming a travel host. I have also been trying my hand at writing, doing event management and hosting,” explained Nalinder.
She is currently attending auditions for hosting gigs, and has done a few interviews on Unseen TV (Australia’s first online entertainment video network) to gain experience.
”I didn’t know I would find the whole situation easy. I was nervous in the beginning but I went with the flow and found that it came very naturally to me. I’m also buying a video camera to help me log my journeys. I’m getting a travel website done and will soon be sharing my travel videos on it,” said Nalinder.
* Want to see what else Nalinder got up to in New York, and which celebrities she spotted? Click here then.